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<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do I Launch a Formal Appraisal Process

April 20, 2006
Dear A Little Too Casual:

Your company can improve morale by strengthening performance appraisals. In turn, performance appraisals strengthen retention by giving employees meaningful, constructive feedback that helps them develop their career skills.
To design your "starter" performance evaluation process, determine the competencies required of employees at all levels (such as initiative or accountability for results or continual improvement). Be sure that those competencies are relevant to your company's mission. If your company is in the software development business and requires creativity, include creativity as a competency. For a call center, customer focus or customer service is critical. Use the competencies to form the basis of the performance evaluation questionnaire.
Start with a simple rating scale (e.g., meets expectations, exceeds expectations, does not meet expectations). When providing feedback, always offer specific examples of times when the employee exhibited the behavior being described.
If an employee shows a need to improve, specify the performance you want the employee to exhibit. Remember to seek ideas from the employee as to how this performance might be achieved. Employees often quit because supervisors fail to establish a "performance partnership" with them. Employees should feel like their manager is there to help them as a coach, and not feel like their manager is an old-school disciplinarian.
When providing feedback to employees, remind them how their actions serve to advance the organization's goals and mission. Feedback also involves coaching employees on job skills and tasks (the "what" of performance) as well as on behavior (the "how" of performance).
Also remember to provide feedback between annual and midyear evaluations. Frequent, informal feedback often has a greater impact than formal evaluations.
SOURCE: Patsy Svare, the Chatfield Group, May 31, 2005.
LEARN MORE: 87 other items onperformance appraisals, including several sample appraisals.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.