The time it takes to prepare for an annual performance appraisal – two to three weeks to review work records and pertinent files, a week to construct a written appraisal, proof it and reread it for appropriateness – is something many supervisors dread. Make the job easier by giving yourself plenty of time to focus on the performance appraisal and adopting a methodical approach to evaluating performance and writing the appraisal. Address each aspect of performance that requires functional expertise, core competencies and professional traits. Wrap up the appraisal with a forward-looking summary of your employee’s performance over the past year.
- Obtain the employee’s personnel file. Some organizations have an HR department file and a supervisor file for every employee — if that’s the case, review both files for a complete picture of the employee’s work history. For example, look for items in the supervisor file that may not have been filed in the HR departmental file. Look specifically at the employee’s work records for the past 12 months since the previous performance appraisal. Review the employee’s complete file — attendance, productivity, goals from last year, disciplinary records, commendations and the employee’s input on any of these matters.
- Draft an assessment of the employee’s functional expertise, or how well she performs her job duties based on her qualifications and skill level. For example, if she is a junior accountant and the quality of her work as well as her knowledge base is equal to that of a senior accountant, write a narrative that explains the specific functions where she demonstrates the ability to function at a higher level. On the other hand, if the employee’s performance is below the expectation for someone with her skill level, write the narrative as constructive feedback and make a note to include this in the goal-setting section of the performance appraisal.
- Rate the employee’s core competencies and how well he blends them with functional expertise. For example, core competencies include communication and analytical and critical thinking skills. Evaluate the employee’s ability to use communication and conflict resolution skills to defuse workplace conflict or to address the needs of irate customers. Use specific examples to support your rating, such as times when the employee has received a complimentary letter from a client or customer remarking on his ability to handle a complex issue that required analysis, critical thinking, communication and product knowledge.
- Write a short paragraph about the employee’s professional traits. This is the most difficult area to rate because it’s subjective enough to require at least some personal opinion in providing the employee with a rating. Professional traits include integrity, respect, compassion and attributes that you can’t measure. Keep this narrative to a minimum unless you have specific instances you can use to illustrate an employee’s professional traits. For example, if you have a story to relate about the employee’s contact with a client during which she demonstrated compassion, use it in your narrative.
- Draft a paragraph about the employee’s goals. Review goals from the previous year and determine whether the employee has achieved them. Suggest additional goals from the most recent performance year; use this goal-setting section to encourage feedback from your employee during the performance appraisal meeting.