<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Create a 'Refresher' Course On Performance Evaluations?

September 27, 2009
Dear Pop Quiz Time:
Reviewing performance with subordinates is one of the most important roles a manager has. It's a great idea to be proactive in offering additional training to managers.
The tricky thing about what you want to try is this: Most managers feel they already know the basics of how to conduct performance reviews. Therefore, it's pretty important your update/refresher class offer information that will deepen the manager's understanding rather than being perceived as just rehashing old news.
There is an easy way to figure out what information to cover:
• Get the word out to managers that you plan to create a way to answer their "unanswered questions" about the performance review program. Tell them you plan to collect these questions from them.
• Either hold a few open meetings with managers to collect this information, speak individually with interested managers, or ask people to submit their questions by e-mail.
• Take the information you collect and use it to design your training. This way you know what you cover will be meaningful.
On a related note, it might increase manager interest in this topic if you use delivery methods other than classroom training to impart the information.
Or, consider using one or all of the following ways to interact with the managers:
• Offer sessions in which an HR person holds "office hours" in a conference room and is available to any manager who shows up with questions or to review the refresher materials.
• Hold a "study hall" in which managers can write their performance reviews in the presence of an HR person who can help them on the spot with difficult wording or unique situations.
• Deliver the training to all the managers in a given work group as a team. This will allow them to get calibrated on issues that have occurred during the review period that are unique to that group.
• Make checklists, templates, samples of well-written and poorly written reviews, and lists of FAQs available by e-mail or on the HR Web site.
You're on to a good idea. Good luck with the training.
SOURCE: Ellen Raim, Cascade Microtech, Beaverton, Oregon
LEARN MORE: Make sure your employees don't perceive evaluations as a threat.
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.
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