Performance Appraisals and Phrases For Dummies
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For managers, there's no single path to conducting highly successful employee-evaluation sessions. At the same time, when you’re leading these appraisal discussions, 10 steps will help make the meetings more interactive and productive:

  1. Let your employee talk.

    Giving your employees the chance to discuss their actions, achievements, and competencies is rewarding to them because it further emphasizes your respect and trust, while also reinforcing your partnership with them.

  2. Give an overview of the session.

    After you’ve heard your employee’s thoughts regarding her performance, your next step is to give her a brief overview of overall topics that you’ll be covering in the session.

  3. Focus on objectives.

    This part of the discussion focuses on the agreed-upon objectives and the extent to which your employee met them.

  4. Focus on performance results.

    The emphasis in this section is on the various additional performance-related outcomes that were the result of your employee’s actions and efforts, even if such outcomes were not directly attached to the overall objectives.

  5. Focus on critical incidents.

    Your comments in this area are focused on the way in which your employee handled particularly noteworthy situations, whether positively or negatively.

  6. Focus on competencies.

    This is where you discuss instances in which your employee applied his skills effectively to the job, shared his knowledge with others, or took specific steps to further build his competencies.

  7. Focus on points of agreement.

    Whether based on your employee’s self-evaluations or on her opening comments regarding her performance, your focus at this point in the session is on the areas in which your employee agrees with your ratings.

  8. Focus on points of disagreement.

    This is the time to discuss the areas in which you rated your employee lower than he rated himself, whether based on his self-evaluation or his opening comments. Your objective is to learn more about your employee’s rationale for giving himself ratings that are higher than yours and for him to understand the rationale behind the ratings that you gave.

  9. Focus on the overall rating.

    At this point in the process, you and your employee have discussed all the key performance-related issues and concerns, and it’s now time to discuss the overall rating. Your comments should focus on the steps you took to determine this rating.

  10. Focus on raises.

    There's a good deal of debate among managers and management theorists as to where to place raises in the performance appraisal session. Some managers don’t even think that raises belong in the session at all.

    Here are your options:

    * Bringing up raises in the beginning: Letting them know at the outset is supposed to put an end to their wondering and allow them to pay attention to the feedback you’re providing.

    * Bringing up raises toward the end: After giving glowing reviews, you’re ideally able to provide a direct reward for the employees’ stellar behavior, demonstrating the clear link between better performance and better rewards.

    * Eliminating raises from the discussion: The idea behind this approach is that raises don’t belong in the performance appraisal session at all. Instead, these sessions should focus exclusively and extensively on the employees’ past performance, while issues such as raises and objectives should be discussed in separate sessions.

If your company includes goal setting as part of the performance appraisal session, this would be the point in the evaluation when you and your employees discuss specific objectives and action plans for the coming year. Shifting gears can be difficult for you and your employees, so try to set up a separate time with your employees to carry out this very important function.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Ken Lloyd, PhD, is a nationally recognized consultant, author, and columnist who specializes in organizational behavior, communication, and management coaching and development.

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