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Performance Appraisals

A performance appraisal provides a systematic process for employers to assess their employees' performance and productivity based upon certain pre-determined criteria and objectives. Performance appraisals are normally completed on an annual basis and when used consistently, will increase employee morale, create open and honest communication between managers and employee and provide ways to prepare employees for their future with the company.

It can be argued that in order to have a better performance appraisal review, employees should be aware of the level at which they are performing on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. By providing more frequent positive and/or negative interactions with your employee, managers will have the ability to conduct a performance review that will not only be based on the most recent performance, but will encompass the employee's performance over the course of an entire year. Employees who receive more frequent communications prove to be a positive and more productive asset to an organization.

It is important to remember that evaluations of an employee's performance are usually associated with a pay raise and therefore, may skew a self-evaluation or an employee's honesty with their employer. It is common for an employee to justify their actions to protect their individual opportunity for an increase in compensation. Employees may quickly find an excuse for the unsatisfactory outcomes of their performance. Therefore, compensation rewards must be based on measurable performance results that are fair and reasonable. Employee satisfaction surveys may assist in the creation of a performance appraisal template that encompasses the measurable components of a particular job position. On average, employee satisfaction surveys are more accurate when an employee has experienced an annual performance appraisal.

There are many different versions of a performance appraisal review and the process may vary from one organization to another. Regardless of the overall structure of the review process, all performance appraisals should promote the organization's goals of continuous improvement at an employee's individual level. Job descriptions may aid an employer in conducting an annual performance review. For example, the performance appraisal review should include all of the main duties and responsibilities of the position and whether the employee falls below the standard performance expectations, meets the standard expectation or exceeds the standard expectations overall.

Managers who are not provided with proper training occasionally turn a performance appraisal into a lecture about ways in which the employee may improve and also provide feedback on the employee's success throughout the past year. Typically employees become defiant and possibly defensive if their performance appraisals are not conducted in a cooperative discussion focusing on the employee assessing their personal performance and setting their own goals for improvement in the next year.

Face-to-face interaction with employees is proven to be the most effective tool in counseling employees to maintain or improve their individual job performance. This method provides

employees with his/her manager's expectations of the employee's performance, orients the employee to company policies and procedures and establishes future goals related to performance and meeting expectations of the company. Managers should be specific in regards to what is expected in an employee's performance. By providing specific direction to employees, the employee is more likely to improve his/her behavior(s) in order to become more aligned with the vision of both the manager and company values.

A company has the ability to impact the overall performance of their employees by properly training the managers/supervisors, providing feedback regarding job performance, conducting employee satisfaction surveys for purposes of gaining knowledge from an employee's perspective and finally, implementing a performance appraisal process that will assist an employee with increasing his/her individual performance in order to meet the company's overall goals and objectives.

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