Want 5 Tips to Help Managers Improve Performance Appraisals?

Performance appraisals are more effective when the meetings occur regularly and they are a conversation not a lecture.
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How Can Managers Improve Performance Appraisals?

Managers at large organizations are often required to adhere to a particular process of employee performance appraisals. Readers ask frequently about how those managers can improve performance appraisals when they can't overhaul their employee evaluation system altogether?

The fact is that not every manager has the opportunity to have an impact on or improve the overall performance appraisal system within which they must work. But, every manager can take the system they’ve been dealt and turn the performance appraisal process into a positive, rewarding, beneficial process for both themselves and the employees who report to them.

Managers Can Improve Their Performance Appraisals

Managers can improve their performance appraisals and make them into an effective communication, goal setting, and development tool for employees while operating within the requirements of their system of performance evaluations.

Managers can start by implementing the suggestions in this performance development planning process and this performance development process checklist. As a result of using these tools, managers can end up with the required performance appraisal document but make the performance appraisal process useful.

Managers can make sure that the employee is clear about their goals by the approach they used to accomplish the task. They can make certain that any component of their employer's process that causes the manager to rate, rank, or limit the employee's performance is minimized.

Looking for Immediate Improvement in Your Performance Appraisals?

Here are five ways managers can immediately improve their performance appraisals.

Use the Appraisal Document As a Discussion Starter

Use the performance appraisal document periodically, at least quarterly, throughout the year to assess employee progress. The performance appraisal document is a useful discussion starter. It consolidates employee performance information in one spot. The performance appraisal report provides a running record of employee performance discussions all year. It offers a picture of the employee's accomplishments and progress throughout the year.

Provide Regular Employee Feedback

Provide feedback to employees regularly—not just in the annual performance appraisal. Employees like regular feedback (particularly millennial employees) and effective managers take time every day for employee feedback. Managers get more comfortable with feedback, better at giving feedback, and they nip problems before they become big.

Make the Discussion Two-Way

Engage the employees in a two-way discussion whenever their performance is the topic. You can improve performance appraisals by involving the employee in the discussion all year long. Then the official performance appraisal day is just an extension of the normal performance discussion.

Effective performance appraisals are never a talk by a manager. If the manager is talking even half the time, the performance appraisal is not a two-way conversation. It’s a lecture. Make the majority of the conversation positive, reinforcing, and developmental for the employee. After all, it's his or her stage—done correctly.

Use Employee Self-Appraisals to Set the Stage

Improve performance appraisals by using an employee self-appraisal prior to the performance appraisal. Far too many managers give employees a copy of the actual form before the performance appraisal meeting. Use these sample questions to develop an effective self-evaluation form.

In the worst cases, both the manager and the employee fill out the form prior to the meeting, give the employee a grade or score, and then, arrive at the performance appraisal meeting dug into their positions and points of view.

Even worse, some managers tell the employees to fill out their performance appraisal, and if they do a good job, the manager will sign it. In this recommendation, the manager arrives at the meeting with ideas jotted down on the form; the employee comes with their self-appraisal filled out and then the discussion begins.

Effective Performance Appraisal Trusts Employees

An effective performance appraisal trusts employees to do the right thing if they know what the right thing is. Consequently, setting performance goals is critically important, but how you set the goals with the employee is the most important factor of all.

Set goals in a way that reinforces the employee's ability to plan and implement the steps necessary to reach the goal. The performance appraisal must support and strengthen the employee's empowerment, his or her ability to chart the course to successful accomplishments.

You can use these five ideas immediately to improve your performance appraisals.

Performance Appraisal Tips