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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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If you dread administering performance reviews, you may sugarcoat your appraisals by telling employees they’re doing “great” when they need to improve. Dishing out undeserved praise can backfire. By giving honest, thorough appraisals, you can avoid these traps.
If a former employee sues after being fired for poor performance, his attorney will almost certainly ask to look at past performance appraisals. Any that indicate the employee had previously been doing a good or excellent job may be used against you as proof the employee was fired for illegal reasons.

Some managers tend to evaluate team members based on their most recent positive or negative encounter. This hap­pens most often when a manager has no record of an employee’s performance over the past months or year. It’s not a good way to conduct a review, and it’s not fair to the employee. An increasingly popular and easily imple­mented solution is to create an employee performance log.

When it comes time to writing performance evaluations, it’s best to stay away from broad generalizations about the employee’s work. Instead, provide concrete examples that support your stated performance rankings. Follow these guidelines for writing evaluations.

Q. The mother of a minor employee (age 16) has asked to attend her child’s performance evaluation meeting. Do I have to legally allow the parent to sit in on this session?

If you give somebody a bad grade without explanation, that’s not acceptable, says Laura Yecies, CEO of online storage service SugarSync. Yecies fights the impulse by reading every performance review—not so much to see if she agrees with the assessment but to check whether the manager is being thoughtful.

Most HR professionals assume that a warning letter isn’t an adverse employment action and there­­fore can’t be the basis for a lawsuit. And that’s largely true. But if the warning letter also mentions restrictions on how well the employee will be rated at evaluation time, there may be trouble.

Employees who lose their jobs have an incentive to sue—and they’ll often look for evidence of discrimination to form the basis of their lawsuits. But to win in court, employees have to show they were meeting their employer’s legitimate expectations. That’s hard to do if the employer can show the employee admitted her shortcomings.

Not every new hire works out. Chances are, you’ll realize early on that you made a hiring mistake. You’ll want to give the employee a chance to improve, but you’ll also want to protect the company in the event of a lawsuit. To do that, provide a detailed and thorough performance review that includes specific examples and suggestions.

For each employee’s performance expectations, set A, B and C goals, suggests the SmartBlog on Leadershop. “C” goals are Comfortable; “B” goals are Believable; “A” goals are Awesome.
HR professionals are often among the first to know that big organizational changes are on the way. If you learn about an upcoming merger, don’t spill the beans, but do diplomatically prod managers to complete all pending performance evaluations.
Once in a while, promotions just don’t work out. Someone who was great at one job might bomb at another. That’s especially true if the new job involves different skills and talents. Don’t let past performance make you hesitate to discipline.
Follow these guidelines to deliver effective and efficient performance reviews.
A records retention schedule ensures that an organization keeps the records it needs for operational, legal, fiscal or historical reasons, and then destroys them when they're no longer useful. You have to know what you have and how long to keep it—legally and for your own business purposes—before you can establish an efficient records management system.

With employment litigation rising steadily, the employee handbook has become an essential tool in the employer’s arsenal to defend against liability for employment decisions. A good handbook tells employees what the rules are and how they will be enforced ...

Six Los Angeles-area soda company employees will share a whopping $17.7 million in damages awarded after they successfully sued the Dr Pepper Snapple Group and related companies for age discrimination.
Some employees don’t take direction well. One approach turns such employees around: Insist that the employee sign on to a performance improvement plan. If he refuses to cooperate, document that refusal. You can then safely terminate the employee for insubordination.
Do you evaluate employees’ overall performance and then conduct a special appraisal to determine extra rewards such as bonuses? If so, make sure both processes paint a true performance picture and don’t contradict each other.
When drafting performance reviews, every manager aims to be fair and consistent. But research shows that, too often, a concept known as “rater bias” can subtly—and inadvertently—influence a manager’s ratings. Here are the six most common types of bias to be aware of when drafting reviews or other types of feedback:
If a fired employee sues your organization, alleging discrimination, you’ll probably want to argue that the real reason was the employee’s poor work perform­ance. Maybe you’ll want to claim that it was a mistake to hire the employee in the first place. Well, don’t expect the court to let you go on a fishing expedition into the employee’s past jobs.
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