Performance appraisals, performance reviews, appraisal forms, whatever you want to call them, let's call them gone. As a stand-alone, annual assault, a performance appraisal is universally disliked and avoided. After all, how many people in your organization want to hear that they were less than perfect last year? How many managers want to face the arguments and diminished morale that can result from the performance appraisal process?
How many supervisors feel that their time is well-spent professionally to document and provide proof to support their feedback - all year long? Plus, the most important outputs for the performance appraisal, from each person's job, may not be defined or measurable in your current work system. Make the appraisal system one step harder to manage and tie the employee's salary increase to their numeric rating.
If the true goal of the performance appraisal is employee development and organizational improvement, consider moving to a performance management system. Place the focus on what you really want to create in your organization - performance management and development. As part of that system, you will want to use this checklist to guide your participation in the performance management and development process. You can also use this checklist to help you in a more traditional performance appraisal process.
In a recent Human Resources Forum poll, 16% of the people responding have no performance appraisal system at all. Supervisory opinions, provided once a year, are the only appraisal process for 56% of the respondents. Another 16% described their appraisals as based solely on supervisor opinions, but administered more than once a year.
If you follow this checklist, I am convinced you will offer a performance management and development system that will significantly improve the appraisal process you currently manage. Staff will feel better about participating and the performance management system may even positively affect - performance.
Preparation and Planning for Performance Management
Much work is invested, on the front end, to improve a traditional employee appraisal process. In fact, managers can feel as if the new process is too time consuming. Once the foundation of developmental goals is in place, however, time to administer the system decreases. Each of these steps is taken with the participation and cooperation of the employee, for best results.
Performance Management and Development in the General Work System
- Define the purpose of the job, job duties, and responsibilities.
- Define performance goals with measurable outcomes.
- Define the priority of each job responsibility and goal.
- Define performance standards for key components of the job.
- Hold interim discussions and provide feedback about employee performance, preferably daily, summarized and discussed, at least, quarterly. (Provide positive and constructive feedback.)
- Maintain a record of performance through critical incident reports. (Jot notes about contributions or problems throughout the quarter, in an employee file.)
- Provide the opportunity for broader feedback. Use a 360 degree performance feedback system that incorporates feedback from the employee's peers, customers, and people who may report to him.
- Develop and administer a coaching and improvement plan if the employee is not meeting expectations.
Immediate Preparation for the Performance Development Planning Meeting
- Schedule the Performance Development Planning (PDP) meeting and define pre-work with the staff member to develop the performance development plan (PDP).
- The staff member reviews personal performance, documents self-assessment comments and gathers needed documentation, including 360 degree feedback results, when available.
- The supervisor prepares for the PDP meeting by collecting data including work records, reports, and input from others familiar with the staff person’s work.
- Both examine how the employee is performing against all criteria, and think about areas for potential development.
- Develop a plan for the PDP meeting which includes answers to all questions on the performance development tool with examples, documentation and so on.
The Performance Development Process (PDP) Meeting
- Establish a comfortable, private setting and rapport with the staff person.
- Discuss and agree upon the objective of the meeting, to create a performance development plan.
- The staff member discusses the achievements and progress he has accomplished during the quarter.
- The staff member identifies ways in which he would like to further develop his professional performance, including training, assignments, new challenges and so on.
- The supervisor discusses performance for the quarter and suggests ways in which the staff member might further develop his performance.
- Add the supervisor's thoughts to the employee's selected areas of development and improvement.
- Discuss areas of agreement and disagreement, and reach consensus.
- Examine job responsibilities for the coming quarter and in general.
- Agree upon standards for performance for the key job responsibilities.
- Set goals for the quarter.
- Discuss how the goals support the accomplishment of the organization's business plan, the department's objectives and so on.
- Agree upon a measurement for each goal.
- Assuming performance is satisfactory, establish a development plan with the staff person, that helps him grow professionally in ways important to him.
- If performance is less than satisfactory, develop a written performance improvement plan, and schedule more frequent feedback meetings. Remind the employee of the consequences connected with continued poor performance.
- The supervisor and employee discuss employee feedback and constructive suggestions for the supervisor and the department.
- Discuss anything else the supervisor or employee would like to discuss, hopefully, maintaining the positive and constructive environment established thus far, during the meeting.
- Mutually sign the performance development tool to indicate the discussion has taken place.
- End the meeting in a positive and supportive manner. The supervisor expresses confidence that the employee can accomplish the plan and that the supervisor is available for support and assistance.
- Set a time-frame for formal follow up, generally quarterly.
Following the Performance Development Process Meeting
- If a performance improvement plan was necessary, follow up at the designated times.
- Follow up with performance feedback and discussions regularly throughout the quarter. (An employee should never be surprised about the content of feedback at the performance development meeting.)
- The supervisor needs to keep commitments relative to the agreed upon development plan, including time needed away from the job, payment for courses, agreed upon work assignments and so on.
- The supervisor needs to act upon the feedback from departmental members and let staff members know what has changed, based upon their feedback.
- Forward appropriate documentation to the Human Resources office and retain a copy of the plan for easy access and referral.
What do you think? Share what you do in your organization for performance management and appraisal. Talk to the HR community in the HR Community Connection Forum.