Whether they are anniversary review dates or focal review dates, many managers dread sitting down to write their subordinates’ Performance Appraisals. They aren’t sure what to say, how to say it and don’t want to disappoint or to give undeserved praise. Below are some tips for writing effective appraisals.
Think- Spend some time thinking about what message you want to deliver. What were some of their major accomplishments during the last year? How do they compare to others on your team or to others in the organization? What would you like to see them improve on?
Use specifics– where you can, give specific examples to support your ratings. All ratings that are above or below a 3 on 1-5 rating scale should have comments. State specifically what the positive impact of a project was or the negative consequences of continuously missed deadlines. Employees need examples that they can relate to before you know that understanding has taken place.
Don’t use generic verbiage– Many software programs today will allow you to pick your comments from a drop down menu. Resist the urge to do this. It sends the wrong message to your subordinates, that you didn’t take the time to think of something unique to say about them. It doesn’t have to be eloquent. It does have to be honest and professional.
Keep it Professional– This is a document that will live in the employee’s file. It says as much about you, the manager, as it does about the employee. Do not use inappropriate language and do not use words like “lazy” or “doesn’t care”. Those are judgements and do little to help the employee know what to improve upon.
Give honest ratings– not everyone is a 5 on a 1-5 scale, nor is everyone a 5 in all categories. As a rule of thumb, about 10% of your team could be rated 5’s. If you have performance issues, now is the right time to address these. Do not give someone a 4 on a performance appraisal and expect to terminate them for performance the next month.
Be confident– When writing your assessment, be confidant in the thoughts you want to express and the words you use to express them. You are the manager and your team is looking to you for guidance.
Offer growth- no one wants to be in a stagnant position. Everyone deserves the right to have the opportunity to grow either within their position or within the Company. Let them know what areas you see that they could improve in, or that you could offer to get them involved in, in order to broaden their skill set.
Spend the time to write an honest and thoughtful performance appraisal and you will be rewarded with a staff that is continually improving!