If you manage people, then one of your tasks might include conducting performance appraisals. It´s likely, too, that you haven´t received any formal training for completing these types of personnel reviews. So how to you prepare? How do you give someone your best shot if you haven´t got a real clue? Some people liken a performance review-giving and getting-to a root canal or at the very least getting a really bad cavity taken care of. Yet it is part of our work lives, something unavoidable and hence an activity that shouldn´t get such short shrift.
For some people, doing performance appraisals are all they do. If that is the case, then they´re probably pretty good at it. On the other hand, if, for you, it´s an annual event, then you might need a little refresher in the basic tenets of employee reviews. It´s interesting to me that something that has such an impact on people´s lives (performance reviews often equal-if you´re lucky-a raise) is often left for people to figure out on their own. No training, no workshops, no nothing. Still, I´m sure that colleagues exchange ideas on how best to navigate this tricky task and I imagine that those strategies, the ones that get tossed about over lunch, coffee, or even quickly at the copying machine, are put to use over the course of one´s time as a manager.
But wouldn´t it be a good idea to include some kind of tutorial for those periodic reviews so that you´re actually confident that your people aren´t wasting their time? If you want to develop and retain real talent, then you need to view performance appraisal season with seriousness. It´s true that performance should really be appraised on a daily basis, mostly in an informal or even silent way, but those moments when you sit down with someone and focus on what he´s doing well and improvements that might be needed can be mighty valuable for everyone concerned.
Developing your employees means helping them build skills that they may not need right this very moment but will want to have later such as knowing how to conduct a performance appraisal. As you think about how you can help your staff become good managers consider ways for them to appreciate and understand that a performance appraisal isn´t something to rush through. I don´t know a lot of people who enjoy conducting these annual (and sometimes semiannual) meetings between supervisors and employees. Knowing how to ask questions is another important skill that´s needed. Being patient and being a good listener are essential as well.
If you´re going to go to the trouble of doing these reviews then it´s probably a good idea to do what you can to elicit useful information. Otherwise, what´s the point?