- Measure Progress and Ability
The appraisal must measure the progress your employee has made against predetermined goals. It’s also important to discuss how well the employee has applied his or her abilities to performing the job. The discussion should answer questions such as:
- Could more progress have been made with more effort?
- Was the employee working at full capacity in trying to meet his or her goals?
- Is the employee’s progress acceptable, in light of any unforeseen obstacles that may have affected results?
- Tie the Appraisal to the Employee’s Job
The appraisal needs to stay focused on the requirements spelled out in the job description. Don’t surprise the employee during the discussion by using non-job-related criteria to evaluate performance. For example, you might have an employee who occasionally devotes time to volunteer activities during the workday, but who always works extra hours to compensate for any missed work. Unless you or your organization specifically prohibits such an arrangement, the volunteer activities shouldn’t be a factor in the performance appraisal. As a position evolves from the original job description, create an updated current job description.
- Be Objective
Establish goals on a regular basis to help ensure that performance appraisals will be objective. The more objective the appraisal, the less likely there is to be disagreements about the employee’s level of performance. For example, if the employee had a goal to attain a 10% sales increase and only achieved 5%, you can talk objectively about performance. On the other hand, if the goal had simply stated “to increase sales”, then, technically, any increase would meet it. An objective appraisal enables both parties to come away from the face-to-face meeting feeling satisfied about what was discussed.
- Build on Your Employee’s Strengths
The appraisal discussion should provide feedback on the employee’s past results, and give him or her guidance for the future. Make it a point to focus on what the employee has done well. Build on strengths, and give positive feedback to encourage the employee to maintain or improve performance. Once again, letting the employee know that you recognize and appreciate his or her strengths demonstrates your interest.
- Meet Legal Requirements
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires that any measurement used to differentiate between employees must be valid and fairly administered. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) suggests that performance appraisals for people with disabilities not be conducted any differently than those for other employees. That’s why it’s important for the appraisal to focus on the requirements listed in the employee’s job description. Having specific goals also helps ensure that the appraisal does not focus on areas that could be considered discriminatory.
Taken from, “The Human Touch Performance Appraisal” by Charles M. Cadwell of American Media Publishing.