- Discuss how to present an appraisal
One of the best ways to ensure an effective—and legally defensible—appraisal is to prepare in advance. For a traditional annual appraisal, well in advance. In her Muse article “A First-Time Manager’s Guide to Performance Reviews,” Pepperdine University Career Center Director Amy Adams lays out a one year preparation plan. As Adams notes “Planning will help you deliver more comprehensive [read: effective] feedback.” An employee should never be blindsided by a review. If you’ve been providing feedback on a regular basis, the appraisal will be constructive or, on the downside, end in closure. Ongoing dialog also builds trust and a willingness to hear feedback as developmental coaching rather than a personal attack.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to presenting an appraisal:
- Schedule an appraisal meeting in advance. An appraisal should be presented—ideally, in person or at least via videoconference—and discussed, not handed off for signature.
- Optional, but recommended: Ask the employee to complete and submit a self-evaluation prior to the appraisal meeting. This will allow your employee time to reflect and will give you a heads up on any significant differences in opinion.
- Decide on the desired outcome and plan accordingly. Assuming you’ve been provided feedback on an ongoing basis, the substance of the meeting won’t be a surprise. Have the information or resources you need on hand or on call.
- Develop your talking points.
- Focus on the most significant success factors and, based on the data you’ve collected, identify specifics that warrant recognition as well as development opportunities.
- Relate your findings to organizational or departmental goals.
- Based on the above, identify next steps, including future SMART goals and associated action items. The objective is for the employee to come out of the meeting with a clear sense of where they stand, a renewed sense of purpose and a clear sense of direction.
- Conduct the appraisal meeting
- Provide your employee with a written copy of his or her appraisal. Discuss your observations and expectations. Invite comments. Keep feedback focused on performance, rather than the person and emphasize opportunities for improvement.
- At a minimum, the meeting should include the employee’s acknowledgement of the appraisal. Ideally, the meeting will be a springboard to the next review or appraisal period.
- Adams, Amy. "A First-Time Manager's Guide to Performance Reviews." The Muse. Accessed August 20, 2019. ↵
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