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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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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.
Former Baytown municipal employee Richard Hensley is suing the city, arguing that a negative performance appraisal he received reflects a pattern of discrimination against older workers. The lawsuit argues that the city of Baytown routinely replaces older employees with younger, unqualified replacements.
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 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.

Some supervisors get angry when an employee complains about alleged discrimination. Then they may look for an excuse to discipline the employee. Watch for such sudden complaints of “poor performance.” If the worker was formerly a good employee and now suddenly is not, you may be staring down a sudden outbreak of retaliation.

A decision by a panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals may mean changes are coming for employers accused of tolerating racial bias. Two of three judges on the panel concluded that an employer wasn’t liable for a series of co-worker comments that were arguably racist.
The recent 7th Circuit decision in Lindsey v. Walgreen Co. addresses the cat’s paw theory of liability in the context of an age discrimination claim. The court held that a supervisor who decided to fire an employee was not the “cat’s paw” because she did not rely solely on the employee’s allegedly biased supervisor.
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