Anything less than a completely honest performance appraisal will only cheat the employee out of personal development, plus it could set the stage for a discrimination lawsuit. Here are eight important do’s and don’ts:
1. DON’T fall prey to ‘halo effect’
Managers sometimes allow a single characteristic to influence their ratings of other unrelated factors.
Say an employee is willing and capable of taking on any project. That outstanding trait can cause you to ignore a worker’s shortcomings. It just feels wrong to give Joyce a 10 on initiative and a meager 5 on everything else. But it may be accurate.
Advice: Eliminate the halo effect by considering each performance element independently.
2. DON’T be overly lenient
Less experienced managers often feel uneasy about criticizing employees’ efforts. And seasoned managers may allow emotion to cloud the judgment of their long-term employees.
Leniency hurts company performance because it fails to flag weaknesses. Plus, in court, employees fired for will point to positive reviews as proof of discrimination.
3. DON’T be overly strict
The opposite problem—overly harsh assessments—is just as demoralizing for workers who make consistent contributions. When you believe that anything an employee does is part of his job description, you leave the employee with no incentive to excel at his job.
Advice: Managers need to define their expectations and identify behavior that falls short of or exceeds those requirements. This should be done through consistent feedback—not just on review day—so that the review process becomes a simple task of matching behavior to established standards.
4. DO go high and low
“Central tendency assessment” occurs when a supervisor gives all workers average ratings. This attitude can depress employee morale and indicate that the supervisor isn’t doing his or her job.
Advice: Keep detailed employee logs and record instances of superior and inferior performance.
5. DO focus on pros and cons
Many managers give short shrift to work areas in which the employee excels. They focus almost exclusively on weaknesses and “needs improvement” areas. Give equal time to each aspect of the , regardless of the assessment. Don’t nitpick or try to find something wrong where no problems exist.
6. DON’T compare workers
There’s no need to discuss how other workers achieve their goals. This allows the discussion to shift away from the core issue: his or her work. Drawing comparisons among workers only builds resentment. Assume that all your employees are capable of superior performance and talk only about ways to enhance their efforts.
7. DO stay on track
Because reviews are stressful, it’s human nature to want to talk about anything except the subject at hand. But it’s important not to let the discussion get sidetracked.
Have a written agenda prepared and refer to it frequently. You’re there for only one reason. Stick to it.
8. DON’T contradict yourself
The most damaging mistake you can make during a review is to send the employee mixed messages. Know what you want to say, put it on paper and talk it through in advance so that you can catch any errors in your logic. Contradictory messages erode your credibility and do nothing to improve the employee’s performance.
______________________________________________ Use this 'Memo to Managers' article to educate your supervisors. Paste the content into an e-mail, company newsletter or other communication. Edit as desired.
Use this 'Memo to Managers' article to educate your supervisors. Paste the content into an e-mail, company newsletter or other communication. Edit as desired.
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