Performance appraisals typically are done by a neutral third-party expert in order to determine an individual employee’s capability to fulfill his or her stated objectives and responsibilities. In some instances, performance appraisals also are used to guide training, hiring, and promotions decisions throughout the organization. But first, what is a performance appraisal? How does an employee’s performance rating reflect the company’s success or failure?
An employee performance appraisal process is a means for you to communicate your expectations with your staff about what is required of them to achieve those goals. Your goal is to help all employees understand the direction you want for the business, as well as the requirements they must meet in order to accomplish that success. To do this, you will need to tell them in no uncertain terms what their role is going to be, the results they need to achieve, and the measures you expect of them. A good manager uses self-appraisal techniques and other tools to get this message across.
Self-appraisal techniques include setting goals, designing plans, providing feedback, implementing solutions, evaluating performance, and identifying opportunities for improvement. While these may seem fairly broad topics, they represent the fundamental elements of any performance appraisal process. The more specific the topics, the more likely your employees will misunderstand what is expected of them and how their performance affects the overall mission and goals of the company. In fact, some studies have shown that managers can unintentionally create problems by having too general a discussion about goals and objectives.
One way to get across the message to employees about the importance of the objectives you have for the company is to include them in the annual performance appraisal process. Once every year, your company needs to set forth, in a formal setting, its long-term goals and objectives. These should be well defined and detailed, taking into account both the short-term and long-term goals you have as well as the processes and people necessary to reach these goals. Your manager should then develop a plan to achieve these objectives, taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of the organization as well as the unique circumstances of each particular project.
One way to provide this kind of information is through the use of performance appraisal processes that give employees periodic feedback on how their performance meets the standards of the business. In most cases, this type of feedback takes the form of charts that show the progress they are making toward achieving the goals set forth in the annual planning. The employee gets a visual picture of their progress and is often motivated to work harder so that they can meet these goals. This type of feedback is especially important for small businesses, which tend to develop short-term goals that go unnoticed during the lulls in the productivity cycle. Even if the business is still operating at a relatively high level, the chart can help keep employees focused on reaching higher levels of success.
A key advantage of performance appraisals is that they provide 360-degree feedback. The information provided is not limited to a single view. It can take an individual and create a map or chart that will show the path they need to travel to get to where they want to go. For instance, if an employee is struggling with a certain aspect of a task, the manager can show her where she needs to improve so that the issue can be corrected before it gets out of hand. There are many possible forms of feedback available, including graphs, charts, and tables, and the manager can customize the performance appraisal process to provide the best feedback depending on what is being reviewed.
A critical incident management review is another type of performance appraisal process used by many organizations. These reviews provide feedback based on documented critical incidents that occurred in a specific period of time. The goal is to determine what went wrong and how the organization could have prevented certain events from happening. The assessment centre may use one or more of the following forms of critical incident assessments: preventive Critical Incidents; events or occurrences that require corrective or preventive action; or major event or incident reports. This type of review is used to identify problems before they happen rather than after the fact. This allows for long term changes to take place in the workplace.
The performance appraisal process enables managers and employees to determine whether there are expectations of what should be done and what is actually being done. A key way to help employees understand their goals is to develop goals and expectations. When managers develop these goals and expectations, they are also helping employees to clearly understand what is expected of them. The feedback a manager provides helps employees reach their goals.