Annual performance appraisals can create a lot of anxiety among even the highest performing employees. The same goes for the managers conducting staff performance appraisals. Instead of being a dreaded appointment to suffer through, performance appraisals can be very beneficial for both employees and employers. The employer gets a chance express their needs and expectations, as well as thank employees for their contributions. Highly performing employees should leave feeling encouraged, and underperforming employees should leave performance appraisals with motivation and a clearer idea of how they can improve.
For most managers conducting performance appraisals, employees are given a combination of both positive and negative feedback. But if the performance appraisal isn’t done in the right manner, the entire effort is a waste of time. Statistics from Southwestern Illinois College show that only 8% of companies think their performance management process provides value. And 1 in 5 employees think their managers don’t do any preparation before conducting staff appraisals. To get the most out of performance appraisals, here are some tips for employers:
1) Develop agenda beforehand and with employee
A performance appraisal will be most effective if you are prepared with an agenda of points you want to review. Also, ask the employee what issues they would like to address in the meeting. Give them at least a few weeks to come up with a list of agenda items, and be sure to look them over before the performance appraisal so you have time to decide how to address them.
2) Give the employee their performance appraisal form prior to the meeting
If your company uses forms for conducting performance appraisals, fill it out and give it to the employee to digest before you meet with them. This will curb the anxiety of your employee, as well as make the discussion you have more productive.
3) Give as much positive feedback as possible
When conducting staff appraisals, there should be more time spent on positive feedback than negative feedback. For the performance appraisal to be effective, the employee should leave feeling encouraged and motivated. Ask the employee to make a list of accomplishments (along with struggles) they have had in the period of time you are reviewing. Not only will this give them recognition, it will also help you learn new ways to solve problems for your company. If your employee leaves feeling positive, they will be more motivated to address the struggles you also discuss in the performance appraisal.
4) Avoid discussing compensation
To minimize distractions when conducting performance appraisals, save discussions of salary increases for another time. If you can’t do this at another time, take care of salary at the very beginning of the performance appraisal, so the employee won’t be thinking about it during the rest of the meeting.
5) Assign specific actions at the end
Avoid being too general when conducting staff appraisals. Simply telling the employee to “Keep up the good work” or “Improve on A, B and C” won’t produce very effective results. At the end of the, both you and the employee should have a detailed plan to act on. Set deadlines for each goal on the plan to be completed, and make sure they are realistic and achievable.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.