It's that time of the year again, and as a manager, you have found that you have to get down to writing that (dreaded) performance appraisal for every employee in your team. You don't have to make the task so dreadful if you follow some simple measures all year round. It can in fact be an interesting process to discover some of the stars in your team and those who perhaps haven't delivered as much as was expected from them. Delivering effective performance appraisals is usually difficult for managers who tend to wait until the last minute to write it. A lot is overlooked and forgotten, which makes the entire process unfair and unjust.
Every manager is aware how important a performance review is. Even so, it is usually put off until the last minute and then written or conducted in such a hurry that it turns out to be exactly the opposite of the kind of feedback the manager perhaps wanted to provide. Provided below are some steps and measures that will help you in this regard.
Regularly Record Performance
Waiting to write a performance review right at the end is the biggest mistake that managers make. There are perhaps a lot of employees you have to conduct the review for, so you are bound to focus on the most recent achievements and failures they have seen themselves through, without taking into account year-round performance. This is where the entire process goes wrong, right at the start of it all. As such, you must maintain quarterly or half-yearly performance records so that you can provide a good review at the end of the year.
Provide Feedback at the Right Time
It has been found that most managers wait for the end of the year to provide feedback (positive or negative) to an employee. Firstly, remembering to do so is a task in itself. Secondly, even if you do remember to give the employee feedback for a situation or conduct that occurred 6-8 months ago, it is not going to have the kind of impact it would have had, if you would have given the feedback immediately. Also, upon receiving feedback immediately, the employee has the time to show change (if any is expected) from her/him. This change can then be included in the review. A manager should not leave any surprises for the end of the year and shock the employee when she/he was under the impression that you were happy with her/his work.
Be Critical, but Constructive
The ability to provide constructive criticism is an art that is yet to be mastered by several managers. You simply cannot be rude while telling your employee that she/he did something wrong. You must indicate the need for improvement diplomatically. On the other hand, some managers think that they should provide extremely positive feedback in order to reinforce positive behavior. However, if you do that it is likely that your employee will become overconfident. Convey a positive or negative message in a manner that motivates the employee to do better. It should neither discourage her/him, nor make her or him fly on a high horse.
Collect Feedback from Peers
Your feedback should not be based only on what you think are the good or the problem areas as displayed by an employee. Instead, you should make an effort to find out what the employee's colleague think of her/him as a performer in the organization. This will help you develop the right kind of feedback necessary for a good review.
A performance review written or conducted by any manager should have right balance between positive and negative feedback so that it makes all the difference. Keep a record of performance right from the start so that you are not stressed toward the end, and are able to write an effective review that will help bring about the necessary positive change, or reinforce positive behavior.