Performance Appraisal

The concept of performance appraisal has lost much of its meaning in the past few years.  Increasingly, performance appraisals have been challenged in court because they are viewed as biased and extremely subjective. The documents that were intended to accurately benchmark performance, and become a basis for personnel action (favorable or unfavorable) has been turned upon the very system it was intended to serve like a lethal weapon.

The end product has become a document which simply serves an administrative bureaucracy.

Performance management systems can serve their intended purpose and more, if the concept is properly understood and applied. The application begins with understanding that performance management is not an annual event, it’s an ongoing process between the employee and the manager/supervisor. It is also not a punitive “I’ve got you” process but is an employee development tool.

The four critical elements of a functional performance appraisal system are:

  • The job description
  • Performance analysis
  • Goal setting
  • Learning plans

The job description is central to the evaluation process.  It must be current and accurately reflect the employee’s duties and responsibilities.  Essential Functions and Critical Tasks must be properly identified. When this document is done properly it becomes the focal point of the appraisal process.

Performance analysis enables the super- visor to identify and accurately access the employee’s performance in each component of the job description. They can identify where the employee is excelling and where they are failing to meet performance expectations. However, identifying performance shortfalls is not enough. Those items must be carried forward to the Learning Plan to enable the employee to improve their performance in areas where their performance is inadequate.

Goal setting is the third crucial component of the appraisal process. It identifies tasks or projects the employee will take on during the next rating period. Generally these projects are designed to move the department or the organization forward. The goals can come from several sources; some are dictated by senior management. Some are boss imposed, while others are projects the employee elects to undertake.

The Learning Plan is the cornerstone of the employees’ development process. Performance shortcomings identified in the performance analysis phase are incorporated into the Learning Plan. The shortcomings fall into two categories; recognized shortcomings, known by both the supervisor and the employee, and blind spots identified by the supervisor but unknown to the employee.

Giving performance appraisals is a process that most leaders dread however, does not have to be that way.  In using this process, it can evolve from the annual report card to becoming an essential part of an ongoing employee development program.

This module shows the leader how to use the Performance Appraisal process to design the future. Reviewing past performance is only one element of the Performance Appraisal System. Emphasis must shift from the past to the future.

The supervisor will learn:

  • How to use the Performance Appraisal Process as a tool for change.
  • Common Performance Appraisal mistakes and how to avoid them.
  • How to report observable behavior or performance related incidents.
  • How to evaluate your performance as a supervisor first – before you evaluate the employee.
  • The legal implications of Performance Appraisal.
  • How to define future performance expectations.
  • Seven steps the supervisor can take to ensure an effective appraisal interview.
  • How to “focus the appraisal” and reinforce positive, performance and behavior.
  • How to correct “reoccurring shortcomings” through the use of individual performance plans.
  • How to jointly establish performance goals to be accomplished during the next rating period.


For more information about bringing this training into your organization contact Exploring Leadership Soulutions at (701)527-7416.