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Best Performance Appraisals Practices

Performance Appraisal is the process of assessing and reviewing an employee’s work and performance over a period of time. The review is documented and shared with the employee in a meeting.

This on-going process involves planning, goals and feedback. It should be used to build trust and relationships between leaders, directors, managers and employees. It is focused on the employee’s future: improving performance gaps and pursuing career development.

Performance appraisals should be part of the company’s objectives and culture and it should be adapted to each company’s unique needs.

Managers and directors of world-wide companies are applying best performance appraisals practices. The following is a compilation of best practices that managers can apply when meeting for performance appraisals:

  • Model the behavior for their employees (C-Level management, directors, managers).
  • Invest in employee training and education programs.
  • Be honest with employees. They should mention and address any performance issue.
  • Schedule periodic reviews as guidelines for maximum time that will pass between appraisals.
  • Have informal communication between scheduled appraisals. Constant communication between employee and manager is worthwhile and necessary.
  • Use job descriptions and responsibilities as standards to measure performance.
  • Measure employees that have the same or similar jobs with the same system. Be consistent among employees.
  • During the performance appraisal, develop an action plan with objectives and next steps for both employee and manager to achieve, set next review/follow-up meeting. This action plan is focused on the future.
  • Give feedback. Performance appraisals should be an interactive feedback process where employees have a chance to talk about their performance, ask questions, suggest future steps.
  • Focus on performance and behavior, not personality or trivialities.
  • Use SMART objectives/goals (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time Bound)
  • Use clear terminology when setting objectives and goals.
  • Use clear rating scales: "Did not meet goal", "Met goal," "Exceeded goal”.
  • Use appraisal for educational and motivational purposes.
  • Create a positive climate at the right time and place.
  • Let employees talk about their performance and views.
  • Clarify and resolve any disagreements.
  • Keep communication open and on-going activities: provide feedback and coaching, collect performance information throughout the year, encourage desired behaviors, coach to improve under-performance, adjust objectives as needed.
  • Plan and prepare your performance appraisal review session: set private meeting with each employee, ask employee for summary of their performance/accomplishments, collect feedback from different peers.
  • Use feedback to help guide employee’s future performance.

Overall, performance appraisal meetings are more productive when there is open communication and where both employee and manager engage and work collaboratively in the process.