thought of a performance appraisal can cause sweaty palms on both sides of the
desk. The rater needs to figure out how to deliver a message that will inspire
improvements and continued growth. Too many people rely on the standby, “Keep
up the good work.” Employees are anxious about the potential affect on salary
and promotion, hearing bad news or just getting through a tough conversation.
participant enters the discussion with the simple goal of getting it done as
quickly as possible it’s hard to envision a productive outcome. Planning that
includes training and pre-work can transition a bureaucratic exercise into a
Understand the Process
complaints about how useless the process is until you gain a thorough
understanding of all the steps. This includes forms, format, deadlines and role
in compensation decisions. You need this information for yourself and to
explain to subordinates.
No one will
be happy if you promise a 6% increase only to learn later that the company
budget is less than 3% and the highest raise a superstar will see is 5%. When
you have knowledge of the actual numbers you can make an intelligent argument
for any recommendations you make to support salaries.
What’s the definition of
company rated employees on a scale from 1 to 5, with no overall rating. Now you
are staring at a form that asks you whether performance is outstanding, above
average, satisfactory, below average and unacceptable. It sounds like the same
1 to 5 but the interpretation could be entirely different.
what rating scales mean. Look for definitions in documents and training and ask
plenty of questions. When you learn that your employees have been rated as “exceeding
expectations” for the past five years and you think they’re pretty good and
identify this as “above average” you had better be able to explain the reason
for the change.
Is it time for training?
policies can be disseminated through memos and announcements. Real knowledge is
gained when managers have an opportunity to participate in training that gives
them confidence and solid tools and techniques. I have conducted successful
training as full day in person sessions, half day, as part of a broader
management program or in web sessions. In any format I measure impact when
attendees produce clear written evaluation content both during and after the
session and also report greater success in subsequent performance management
Join me for
a web conference tomorrow, How to Conduct Motivating and Legally Sound
Performance Appraisals. If you can’t attend set some time aside to review the
process and plan for training before the next evaluation cycle is announced.