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Holding successful mid–year and end–of–year performance appraisal discussions requires preparation. For example, developing a comprehensive written appraisal narrative can be extremely helpful when preparing for the face–to–face appraisal review. Appraising officials can use the following checklist as a tool to help them prepare for employee appraisal reviews.
Gather the Material. Have all the necessary tools close at hand before starting to write the appraisal narrative, including:
- a copy of the employee’s performance plan;
- notes of previous meetings with the employee (remember what was discussed with the employee during previous meetings);
- employee self-evaluation documents, which could include a list of completed projects and accomplishments prepared by the employee;
- written or recorded feedback on employee performance from other sources (these can include letters of appreciation, customer feedback, etc.); and
- appraisal program instructions that describe the performance appraisal process and procedures.
Review and Write. Become familiar with the appraisal form and review how to derive the summary rating (e.g., numerical formula, percentages, and numerical weights). Take the time to review the employee’s elements and standards, knowing which elements are critical, non-critical, and additional, and how to measure employee performance. Finally, review all the documentation. When writing the narrative, consider these points:
Responsibilities and Duties. Review employee responsibilities:
- Have the employee’s work responsibilities changed? If so, how?
- Has the employee been assigned additional responsibilities which were not included in the performance plan? If so, consider acknowledging these additional responsibilities in the narrative and the performance interview. Also, consider whether to include the new responsibilities in next year’s performance plan.
Performance. Include performance data for the entire appraisal period, not just the most recent information. The appraisal narrative should address:
- how well the employee performed the assigned responsibilities and the quality and/or timeliness of the employee’s accomplishments;
- whether and how well the employee met performance goals;
- areas of performance that improved over the appraisal period; and
- areas of performance that might need improvement.
Review Developmental Needs. In addition to the information in the narrative, prepare to talk to the employee about developmental needs. Identify skills and competencies that may enhance or improve the employee’s performance. Look into a variety of ways of improving skills, such as classroom or on-line training, professional conferences and workshops, details to other work units or to positions with higher responsibilities, or on-the-job training. Enter the appraisal review with this information on hand, but during the review, be sure to ask the employee for input on development needs. If employees participate in creating their own development plans, those plans likely will be more successful.
Schedule the Interview. The final preparation step is to set aside a time and a place to meet with the employee. When scheduling the appraisal interview, make sure to:
- schedule a time that is convenient for you and the employee. This should be uninterrupted time so that you and the employee can concentrate on the appraisal.
- give the employee a copy of the performance appraisal with its narrative before the meeting so that he or she can have time to prepare for the appraisal interview.
When the supervisor takes time to prepare, conducting the appraisal interview can be less complicated, less stressful, and more successful at providing the employee valuable feedback on performance.