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Performance Reviews

For most managers, conducting effective performance reviews is the most daunting part of their job. Don’t look on it with dread! Make your performance appraisals work for you, not against you with these tools: performance review examples, tips on writing employee reviews, sample performance reviews and employee evaluation forms.
So, your tasked with assessing employee performance and writing performance reviews. Where do you get started?

See more scripts and strategies for writing performance reviews and conducting valuable employee appraisals. Get a sample performance review and employee evaluation forms when you sign up for our Free email newsletter for Leaders & Managers like you…

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An employee who thinks her supervisor is out to get her may be on the lookout for perceived discrimination. She can turn a negative performance appraisal into a bias lawsuit. The only way to prepare for surprise lawsuits is to consistently treat all employees alike and document that fair treatment. For example, performance evaluations should include as many objective measures as possible, making it easier to compare employees.
Having complete records of why you disciplined an employee often gives a court the information it needs to decide whether you’ve discriminated—or even retaliated against someone who has leveled serious charges against you.

Here’s a tip if you are revising your employee handbook: When it comes to discipline, make sure you give yourself some flexibility to deal with unusual circumstances. For example, if you want to use progressive discipline, be sure to account for the rare situations that may warrant immediate suspension or discharge.

If your organization is unionized and operates under a collective bargaining agreement that calls for progressive discipline, think twice before automatically firing an employee you believe has sexually harassed other employees. Unless your contract specifies discharge for a first harassment offense, you may have to follow your progressive discipline program.

Your progressive discipline probably gives you some flexibility to hand out different punishment, depending on the seriousness of the employee misconduct. As a practical matter, that means you must decide whether what one employee does is more serious than another’s similar transgression. Make sure you’re able to explain why one offense was worse than another and deserved harsher punishment.

Good employers strive to create a workplace that’s as respectful and civil as possible. But even in organizations that try their best, supervisors and managers sometimes mess up. A poor choice of words or an ill-timed joke can create tension and inflame passions. Mistakes like those don’t necessarily mean the employer is destined to lose if an employee sues.
Unless an employee has a poor performance history, don’t fire him a few days after he reports harassment.

The New Jersey Supreme Court has handed disgruntled employees a big weapon to use against their employers. The court ruled that Joyce Quinlan was within her rights to photocopy company documents—some of which were confidential—to use in a lawsuit against Curtiss-Wright, the aerospace company where she once served as executive director of human resources.

If your managers and supervisors respond to reference calls by offering negative information, a lawsuit is probably coming. That’s why the best practice is to refer all calls for reference checks to HR. Then, only provide the most basic information.
Here’s how to recognize if you’re not giving direct reports the feedback they need to step up their game, adapted from The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave:
A co-worker makes Donna feel uncomfortable by spewing judgmental comments about her life choices. Donna wonders what to do about it. Is the HR department obligated to fix the problem? Or does this situation call for a frank co-worker-to-co-worker conversation?
Remember the good ol’ days when you could fire someone based on performance? All you needed was proper documentation. Well, those days are over. The U.S. Supreme Court has created a whole new class of plaintiffs—and added an extra step to your termination checklist…
When faced with a poor-performing or disruptive employee, it’s easy for supervisors to play the wait-and-see game and simply hope the situation will improve. But problems rarely solve themselves. And that’s especially true with problem employees. The best method? Meet with employees right when you spot problem behavior or performance—don’t wait.
The Supreme Court on Jan. 24 ruled that the fiancé of a woman who filed an EEOC discrimination complaint was protected from retaliation by their mutual employer and can now sue for retaliation. The case has important implications for all employers: It's more important than ever to make sure your discipline policies pass the no-retaliation test.

With everything on your radar during the workday, it’s easy to forget about employee morale. But keeping the team engaged isn’t something that can be ignored or postponed. To keep morale on your radar, be aware of some of the common management mistakes that undermine it. Here are nine main deflators of employee morale, plus tips on avoiding them:

Linda recently wrote on our Admin Pro Forum, “I recently took a job where I supervise three administrative assistants. I work directly on a daily basis with one admin ... but I don’t have daily contact with the other two admins, because they are in different parts of the building. How do I supervise the other two and complete their performance evaluations?”

Sometimes it's obvious from the get-go that a new hire just isn't working out. You must dismiss him, the sooner the better. When the employee is a member of a protected class, who does the firing can make all the difference between a clean break and a messy discrimination lawsuit.

News to note if you work in a unionized workplace: Health benefits are still a legitimate bargaining chip. Members of the University Professional & Technical Employees Union recently agreed to shoulder more of the health insurance burden in exchange for better performance-based pay.
Remind supervisors: They can’t be careless about documenting poor performance, tardiness and other indications that an employee isn’t performing as well as expected. Good records provide the basis for valid discipline.
Here’s a practice you should make standard operating procedure: Have the same manager who makes hiring decisions also make the firing decisions. Doing so will cut the chances of a successful discrimination lawsuit.
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