Characteristics of an Effective Performance Appraisal

  1. The annual performance appraisal is something employees and managers alike often dread. Yet, the meeting can be a source of motivation and reward if both parties are knowledgeable about how a performance appraisal works. The performance appraisal is an opportunity for the manager to convey to an employee specific expectations and suggestions for future performance. The meeting is also an opportunity for an employee to share with her manager her professional goals and career aspirations.

Explain The Appraisal Process

  1. In the meeting between a manager and employee, the manager should first explain the purpose and the process of the performance appraisal. Generally, a performance appraisal is conducted to clarify job expectations, set goals for improvement of weaknesses and reward for accomplishments and overall performance. The manager’s job is to explain the steps involved during and after the performance appraisal.

Clarify Job Expectations

  1. A mutual understanding of the job expectations is essential to an effective performance appraisal. Absent this, the appraisal meeting could spiral downward because the manager and employee might be working from completely different vantage points. A review of the job description, and employee skills, qualifications and responsibilities should precede the actual performance appraisal.

Review and Update Job Skills

  1. Review the employee’s beginning job skills, meaning what qualifications the employee had at the start of the evaluation period one year ago. Discuss any improvements necessary and praise the employee for skills that have improved during this time. Determine what additional skills the employee can learn during the next evaluation period by setting reasonable goals for professional development.

    The employee should feel free to provide input throughout the performance appraisal. Employers who formally implement employee input often have an employee self-appraisal form. If this is the case, the employee will come to the performance appraisal meeting with the completed self-appraisal.

Review Accomplishments and Goals

  1. Accomplishments throughout the evaluation year will be enumerated. If there are quantifiable goals established for the review period, the manager and employee determine if the goals have been met. Often, a “management by objective” technique is used to track specific goals, progress and completion for each quarter. Using this technique simplifies the performance appraisal because there are intermediate assessments made during the evaluation period.

Final Steps and Rewards

  1. An overall appraisal score may be discussed during the meeting or it may be calculated after the manager has had an opportunity to consider the employee input. In addition, the manager should indicate whether or not the employee will be entitled to an increase in pay or bonus, if applicable. Many employers use a scale that determines a percentage increase for performance appraisal scores. Whenever possible, the manager should inform the employee of the type or amount of increase to expect for her performance during the year.