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The Performance Appraisal

Author : Bernard Kirk   Top Author

Everyone wants to know how well they are doing.

Whatever we do in life, we really want to hear some kind of feedback from others on our achievements. In early childhood it may be a “Look, Mommy, look” situation, in later life it may be acclaim for something achieved, and even in a dysfunctional sense it may be that negative attention is better than no attention at all.

The fact of the matter is that as humans, we all crave some kind of feedback.

So why is it that so many managers are so reluctant to embrace the concept of holding a performance appraisal with a subordinate? Do they think it will be confrontational? Do they think they are deemed to be too judgmental?

Managers will say “I don’t have enough time”, or “he knows how he’s doing” or “I constantly tell him how he is performing”. None of these excuses to avoid a formal appraisal are valid.

I think the reason managers try to avoid performance appraisals is because they don’t understand WHY it’s necessary, nor do they understand HOW to do it.

Here are some key pointers:

· Never have a surprise or spur of the moment appraisal.

· The objective of a performance appraisal is to improve performance. That’s WHY the appraisal is being conducted. Understanding this one point greatly reduces the threat aspect often experienced in such a discussion. If the employee is performing well, the objective is to give recognition and mutually agree on future goals. If the employee is not doing well the objective is to highlight problem areas and come up with a joint plan that includes follow up to rectify problem areas.

· Part of the appraisal includes you asking your subordinates what else YOU can do to improve their performance.

· In this example we are assuming that a job description has already been drawn up for a particular job. (Ideally, a subordinate needs to have some input in the formulation of his particular job description.)

Make sure you advise the employee in advance (say two weeks) that it’s time for the appraisal (twice a year is good) and provide the employee with the questions you are going to ask in advance. These questions might be:

1) How do you feel you have performed on the key points of the job that you and I agreed you should be doing?

2) In which areas do you feel you have done particularly well?

3) What do you really enjoy doing, and

4) What is of less interest to you?

5) In which areas do you feel you need to improve?

6) Have any training needs emerged?

7) Does your job description need to be changed or altered in any way?

8) What else can I do to help you perform even better?

9) Is there anything I am doing that is inhibiting your performance?

10) What are suitable goals that need to be achieved by the next review?

Regarding the discussion itself, put the employee at ease and explain that the objective is to help the employee by way of this discussion and any development that flows, to be able to do an even better job.

Remember to:

Maintain and enhance self- esteem.

Be specific, don’t use generalities if you are pointing out something to a subordinate.

Don’t sit silent when the employee is enthusiastically describing his/her successes.

Let the subordinate arrive at most of the solutions.

Obtain commitment not compliance.

Ensure the subordinate receives a copy of the discussion and specific action plan with review dates.

Once the appraisal has been done, reflect on the process. Did you listen? Did the employee fully understand the goals going forward?

An open and frank discussion on these lines will facilitate better understanding, recognition, possibly a new approach and ultimately, increased company performance.

Author's Resource Box

The first thing Bernard Kirk tells his clients is that the absolute critical factor in any business is people.

With seventeen years of operational management, twenty two years of strategy implementation for multiple entrepreneurs, professionals and high level businesses across the globe, Bernard is an expert in how people affect outcomes.

Having the right people doing the right things in the right job, is usually the difference between mediocrity and greatness for both the individual and the organization. Bernard’s methods of determining what needs to be done by what type of person and how to select and retain those persons has attracted interest on an international basis. Bernard has consulted in the retail, hospitality, manufacturing, medical, recycling professional and academic fields. He lives in Arizona, USA.

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Tags:   Interviewing, interview questions, interview techniques, job descriptions, person specifications, performance appraisals, organizational structure, entrepreneur, business, organization, influencers, management style, strategy and planning, job satisfaction, management, organizing, effectiveness, performance, success, competence, listening skills, critical thinking skills, meetings, attention span, tasks, leadership, managerial, communication, employment skills

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Submitted : 2013-11-30    Word Count : 642    Times Viewed: 1163