The time has come for your employee’s annual performance appraisal. You’ve got the required forms, your notes, and you’ve even assembled your employee’s 360 feedback. The date is approaching, and, in your opinion, you’ve set yourself up for a successful evaluation. But, is your employee set up for success? When it comes to sharing feedback – negative or positive – the delivery can determine whether your employee leaves the meeting motivated or disengaged.
You certainly don’t want to overdo the praise and leave out critical growth opportunities. You also don’t want to make the employee feel terrible about the things that need to change. Sure, you might know what you’re going to say – but do you know how you should say it?
What is a performance appraisal?
A performance appraisal is another term for a performance review. By definition, it is the act of assessing an employee’s performance. Your organization might use an appraisal form that accompanies an annual meeting. Or, you may use software to assist. Although methods have evolved for some, it has three basic functions, according to the Harvard Business Review:
- To provide adequate feedback to each person on his or her performance;
- To serve as a basis for modifying or changing behavior toward more effective working habits; and
- To provide data to managers with which they may judge future job assignments and compensation.
There’s a lot riding on the performance appraisal for both parties – from compensation to future assignments. So, when it comes to talking through feedback, it should be honest, unbiased, and direct. Feedback shouldn’t discourage the employee, but instead move the employee forward. Chances are you already have a form that dissects performance into critical categories relevant to your workplace. Just in case you don’t, here are a few topics to focus on in a performance appraisal:
Delivering Performance Appraisal Feedback
Good feedback should affirm positive performance and make employees consider what can be done next to improve. When delivering feedback, you should:
- Acknowledge an employee’s psychological needs, including a feeling of autonomy, and a sense of belonging. Also, assure the employee their work has value.
- Be specific and stick to the facts. Be objective and ensure you separate emotions from feedback.
- Focus on how performance relates to the employee’s job description and goals. Discuss the ways in which the employee can move forward.
Performance Appraisal Examples
Here are some examples of how to deliver performance appraisal feedback:
- John, we appreciate all the work you did to assemble data for the annual report. This was the first year we’ve been able to share in a digital format! As you know, one of the board members discovered some inaccurate information which could have been damaging if published. What measures have you put in place to avoid these kinds of mistakes in the future?
- We received great feedback from your clients about you. We are very grateful you are part of the team. According to our reports, you’ve exceeded your goals for the year already. What knowledge are you sharing with the team about how to replicate this and what do you intend to accomplish in the next quarter?
- In this position, you were able to create a process where there was not one before. Our productivity is much higher thanks to your contributions. Please continue to speak up when you see opportunities for us to improve.
- Donald, you are extremely enthusiastic about your work, and your energy is infectious. Some of our clients ask for you. It’s rare in the pest control industry. Have you ever considered taking on a training role?
- Velma, your project feedback for residential jobs is great but there are some opportunity areas when it comes to commercial jobs. Would you like to discuss your preferences so that we can give you more assignments where you’ll thrive?
- Winnie, you are known for your kindness by everyone who meets you. However, this sales position requires more determination and a competitive spirit. What are your goals for this role? Would you like to explore other options?
Performance Appraisals vs. Performance Management
Performance appraisals typically only happen once a year, while performance management is an ongoing, year-round process. Annual reviews force us to rely on our memory and are subject to recency bias, which means we only evaluate what we can remember.
If you believe the annual performance appraisal process in your organization could be improved with more frequent feedback, performance management software can help. Paycor’s Talent Development makes this possible with:
- Automated workflows so your people can focus on coaching, not unnecessary admin
- Customized templates to help managers make the most out of 1:1s with direct reports
- Feedback tools facilitating conversation between peers, teams and supervisors
- Integrated goal-setting features designed to supercharge productivity
- Easy access to historical feedback, boosting accountability and reducing bias