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Performance appraisal process

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I. Contents of getting performance appraisal process

Performance appraisals are one of the least liked and most dreaded responsibilitiesthat any
manager has to endure.
They're worse than terminations. After you fire someone,they're gone; but after a performance
review, they're still around. Staringat you. Resenting you. Challenging you and sometimes even
subverting your abilityto manage the group. Some managers will go to great lengths to avoid
doing reviews.
I'm of a different opinion. I believe that performance management can be anenjoyable and
rewarding process. Yes, I said enjoyable. I'll go so far as tosay that I think performance
management can be as enjoyable as the ThanksgivingDay Parade. Keep that thought in mind as I
describe a six-step approach (usethe acronym PARADE to remember it) that can alleviate much
of the worry anddread associated with performance management.
Step one: Preparation.
The key to success in any endeavor is preparation. In this case, preparationmeans sitting down
and creating objectives for the performance period. We'vegot to ensure that people know what's
expected of them if we ever expect themto achieve it.
Think of setting objectives as a road map with a set of directions. The roadmap is your
organization, or your industry, and the directions lead employeesto their goal. If people don't
know where they're going, how can we ever expectthem to get there? How will they know when

they've arrived? It's also criticalto get employees' input on their own objectives if we want to
increase theircommitment to achieving those goals. If people feel that they have a voice intheir
assignments, they will frequently work harder toward the success of thoseassignments.
Step two: Assessment.
A critical manager responsibility is assessing and giving timely feedbackto your staff on their
performance. There are many benefits to doing this. Feedbackon performance that is given as
soon as possible has proven to be the most effective.It's not fair or effective to tell someone how
she messed up, or (more rarely)how well she did, weeks after the job is done. Let people know
quickly so theycan either address the error or replicate the success.
This also addresses two of the most common fears that managers have about
performanceappraisals: confrontations and surprises. Many managers avoid delivering
performancereviews because they fear confrontation. They see it as an "us versus them"event.
This is usually a result of a lack of communication between the managerand staff.
If the performance review is the only time that managers talk with staff abouthow they're doing,
and especially if employees feel that this one meeting hastremendous impact on their salary
increases, the meeting takes on enormous proportions.With all the tension in the room, how can
it be a successful interchange? Mostemployees, when questioned as to what the once-a-year
review reminded them of,responded, "A trip to the principal's office." Ongoing
communicationthroughout the year is the key to reducing the fear and anxiety associated withthis
meeting for both participants.
When asked what they want out of the performance review meeting, both managersand staff
most often respond, "No surprises." This is what I heareven more often than a hope for the
highest rating. Not everyone expects tobe a superstar, but people want to know how they are
doing. They don't wantto have it sprung on them at the last minute, when they no longer have the
opportunityto do anything about it. They want to be treated with respect and as
partnersthroughout the performance cycle. Continuous assessment and feedback is thekey to
ensuring that there are no surprises, which of course also lessens thelikelihood of a confrontation.
Surprises beget confrontations. Communicationprevents them.
Step three: Reviewing documents.
Before you actually do sit down with the employee, review all your documentationfrom the year.
Take a look again at the objectives that you and the employeeagreed to and documented at the
beginning of the year. Look for any commendationsor letters you may have received about the
employee during the year.
Review your notes from the meetings that you've had with the employee. Thensit down and write
the first draft of the performance review. Some organizationsoffer the employee the opportunity

to create a first draft as well. Then themanager and the employee sit down to review the
employee's progress before theactual review. This keeps the employee involved in the process
and makes himfeel that he's getting a fair evaluation. It's another great technique for reducingor
eliminating surprises.
Step four: Appropriate setting.
Make sure that you have an appropriate setting in which to deliver the appraisal.The most
commonly used location, a manager's office, is often the worst place.It's not neutral territory
(remember that principal's office analogy), and nomatter how much rapport-building you do or
how long you've worked with the employee,it's still "your turf."
A conference room is often best, but if that's not available, find some otherplace. Be creative.
The cafeteria may not seem like a very private place, butin between mealtimes, it's often possible
to find a secluded table in a corner.You want the setting to relax employees, not add to their
anxiety. This is onereason to avoid restaurants. Some managers choose to do appraisals over
lunch.It's a way to reward the employee, but restaurants at lunch are far from private.Even
employees who expect positive reviews seldom feel particularly hungry whenthey go into this
Consider meeting in the employee's office if it has a door, or borrowing acolleague's office.
Meeting somewhere other than your office also makes it easierto end the meeting. Getting
someone out of your office when the review is completed,particularly if the person thinks there is
more to discuss, can be particularlyonerous. It tends to reek of dismissal. This can undercut even
the most positiveof appraisals.
Step five: Deliver it clearly.
Deliver the appraisal in simple language. Don't use code or jargon, and don'tmince words. Don't
dance around the issue at hand even if the appraisal is notas positive as the employee might have
hoped. She'll pick up on your discomfortlike a shark sensing blood in the water. If she feels that
you're not confidentin your appraisal, she may think that there is a last-minute chance to
improveit. This isn't a meeting to renegotiate the objectives or the standards forperformance that
were set at the beginning of the year.
This advice on clarity goes for both good news and bad! When it comes to goodnews, some
managers avoid it because they're afraid to tell an employee shehas done a good job. "What if I
have to fire her someday?" they ask.I tell them that if the employee has done a good job, tell her
so. If you haveto fire that employee someday, you will have a good reason why. You'll be ableto
explain it to the employee because you will have developed the necessarycommunication skills.
More often, managers feel a need to hide the bad news. They're afraid to hurtthe employee's
feelings, they fear an argument, or they just don't like to talkabout someone's shortcomings.

Many managers feel that if the employee hasn'tdone as well as expected or hoped, this is a poor
reflection on the manager.If someone's performance has been subpar, managers owe it to the
employee, theorganization, and themselves to inform the employee.
By glossing over employees' performance deficits or inflating their ratingsto spare their feelings,
managers are actually exposing the company and themselvesto great liability. If managers have
been doing the assessment and feedbackthroughout the year, there is little likelihood that there
will be any confrontationor conflagration at the review meeting. Tell people straight out what
they'vedone well and where they need to improve. They'll respect you for it, and yourcredibility
and standing as a manager will rise because of it.
Step six: Encouragement.
At the conclusion of the performance appraisal meeting, which also marks theend of one
performance appraisal cycle and the beginning of the next, your jobis to encourage. You want to
motivate the employee to continue doing that whichhe does well and to improve in the areas
where there is room for growth. Thisis the best way to make these meetings productive and
positive. Even if theperson's appraisal has not been as high as he might have hoped, remind the
employeethat he is still valued and that you'll support him in his development.
Offer to set up a separate meeting at which you will discuss his developmentplan. This is a
terrific way to let the employee know that you support him andare willing to invest your time
and the organization's training dollars in hisgrowth in the company. The performance
management process is actually the organization'sbest retention tool. Too often, when employees
get a less-than-stellar appraisal,they take it as an indication that this is the beginning of the end.
This isthe first step on that dreaded "Documentation Trail" that can onlylead to the door. Let
them know that you believe in them and their ability toimprove. Your willingness to work with
and invest in them is a wonderful turnaroundtool to effect an attitude adjustment.

III. Performance appraisal methods

1. Essay Method

In this method the rater writes down the employee

description in detail within a number of broad categories
like, overall impression of performance, promoteability
of employee, existing capabilities and qualifications of
performing jobs, strengths and weaknesses and training
needs of the employee. Advantage It is extremely
useful in filing information gaps about the employees
that often occur in a better-structured checklist.
Disadvantages It its highly dependent upon the writing
skills of rater and most of them are not good writers.
They may get confused success depends on the memory
power of raters.

2. Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales

statements of effective and ineffective behaviors
determine the points. They are said to be
behaviorally anchored. The rater is supposed to
say, which behavior describes the employee
performance. Advantages helps overcome rating
errors. Disadvantages Suffers from distortions
inherent in most rating techniques.

3. Rating Scale
Rating scales consists of several numerical scales
representing job related performance criterions such as
dependability, initiative, output, attendance, attitude etc.
Each scales ranges from excellent to poor. The total
numerical scores are computed and final conclusions are
derived. Advantages Adaptability, easy to use, low cost,
every type of job can be evaluated, large number of
employees covered, no formal training required.
Disadvantages Raters biases

4. Checklist method

Under this method, checklist of statements of traits of

employee in the form of Yes or No based questions is
prepared. Here the rater only does the reporting or
checking and HR department does the actual evaluation.
Advantages economy, ease of administration, limited
training required, standardization. Disadvantages Raters
biases, use of improper weighs by HR, does not allow
rater to give relative ratings

5.Ranking Method
The ranking system requires the rater to rank his
subordinates on overall performance. This consists in
simply putting a man in a rank order. Under this method,
the ranking of an employee in a work group is done
against that of another employee. The relative position of
each employee is tested in terms of his numerical rank. It
may also be done by ranking a person on his job
performance against another member of the competitive
Advantages of Ranking Method
Employees are ranked according to their
performance levels.
It is easier to rank the best and the worst
Limitations of Ranking Method
The whole man is compared with another
whole man in this method. In practice, it is very difficult
to compare individuals possessing various individual
This method speaks only of the position where an

employee stands in his group. It does not test anything

about how much better or how much worse an employee
is when compared to another employee.
When a large number of employees are working,
ranking of individuals become a difficult issue.
There is no systematic procedure for ranking
individuals in the organization. The ranking system does
not eliminate the possibility of snap judgements.

6. Critical Incidents Method

The approach is focused on certain critical behaviors of
employee that makes all the difference in the
performance. Supervisors as and when they occur record
such incidents. Advantages Evaluations are based on
actual job behaviors, ratings are supported by
descriptions, feedback is easy, reduces recency biases,
chances of subordinate improvement are high.
Disadvantages Negative incidents can be prioritized,
forgetting incidents, overly close supervision; feedback
may be too much and may appear to be punishment.

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