How to Schedule a Performance Appraisal with Back-Timing

When you need to schedule an employee performance appraisal, use the back-timing technique to pinpoint a date. With back-timing, you establish the specific date that you want to conduct the sit-down session with each individual employee and then work backward to set up the benchmark dates for all the activities that need to occur prior to the meeting.

Start the process by contacting each employee at least six weeks ahead of the proposed date. For example, if you want to have your review sessions with your employees in mid-December, contact each of your employees by November 1 to set up a mutually acceptable day and time for your one-on-one session.

When you and one of your employees have agreed on a date and time to meet, set up advance benchmark dates for that meeting to occur:

  • Six weeks before the meeting (as soon as you’ve set up a date and time for the meeting): Meet with the employee, discuss the evaluation process, and give the employee the self-evaluation form. Advise the employee of the due date for this form. Reserve a conference room if you don’t have a private office. If you’re using 360-degree feedback, advise these individuals that you’ll need their input on this employee within two weeks.

  • Five weeks before the meeting: Assemble all your performance data, notes, and documentation for the employee.

  • Four weeks before the meeting: The employee returns her self-evaluation form to you. If you use 360-degree feedback, those forms are returned to you at this point as well.

  • Two weeks before the meeting: Complete the review of your documentation, self-evaluation form, and 360-degree feedback.

  • One week before the meeting: Complete the first draft of the employee’s evaluation. Review the recommended raise, if any.

  • Three days before the meeting: Finalize the raise, if any.

  • Two days before the meeting: Finish the final draft of the employee’s evaluation. Plan the agenda for the meeting.

Be sure to put each of these benchmark dates on your calendar. By setting specific dates for every step of the process, you’re able to give your employees the time and attention that they deserve for their performance appraisals.

Without planning ahead, you can easily let the time slide by. Then, all of a sudden, there are three days left and you haven’t even gathered all the information and documentation, let alone reviewed it and completed the evaluation materials. You can save yourself a lot of stress, and ensure that your performance appraisals are a success, by getting ready ahead of time.

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