The economic outlook is dismal, business is suffering, your company may be bought out — so why bother with the tedious task of conducting performance appraisals? It can be really tempting to toss the process out in favor of more pressing items, like worrying about the economy. But it’s actually a great time to complete performance appraisals.
Performance appraisal documents and discussions serve a number of purposes. They provide documentation of results, expectations and goals. Effective appraisal conversations give employees a picture of performance. The entire process creates a snapshot of organizational performance that can be reviewed by executive and senior managers who are not familiar with each individual.
When tough times result in the need to layoff staff, consistent documentation will help the decision making process and support the outcome. Layoffs can be guided by performance and results. A performance based decision is more likely to be questioned if the most recent evaluation of the affected employee rated them as Outstanding, or even Above Average, 19 months ago.
If the future holds the potential for new ownership or a change in leadership at the top, up to date performance appraisals can also be useful. A review of well written documents can provide a good picture that is more effective than snapshot judgments. Accurate and timely information will help everyone if a change results in job cuts.
Employees are worried. They are spending time at work talking about their concerns. The performance appraisal conversation provides a forum for discussion. It may not be all, or any, good news, but it comes from the boss not the rumor mill. The opportunity for conversation will be just as important as any ranking or rating.
Take out those forms, communicate your procedures, train managers and start writing and taking about performance. What questions do you have about performance appraisals?