Resources How-to's Help managers write great performance appraisals


Help managers write great performance appraisals

Are you struggling to get managers to write meaningful performance appraisals that accurately reflect their employees' performance and help drive high performance? You're not alone. Here are tips to address the common challenges HR pros face with the tasks.

Challenge #1: Performance ratings given are too uniform or are inconsistent.

  • Use a consistent rating scale for competencies and goals.
  • Provide detailed, behavioral descriptions of the various levels of performance to help managers choose the right ratings.
  • Have someone other than the manager review their ratings to identify and address inconsistencies or patterns in ratings.

Challenge #2: Managers complete their performance appraisals late, if at all.

  • Assign each manager a performance goal related to the timely and quality completion of all their performance appraisals.
  • Run a friendly competition between departments or divisions to see who can finish first.
  • Review your process and forms to make sure they're efficient, and quick and easy to complete.
  • Offer managers training that covers why performance appraisals are so important, and how to write great performance appraisals.
  • Send frequent email reminders.

Challenge #3: Appraisals don't include any valuable feedback

  • Give managers training on how to give effective feedback.
  • Give managers "building block" text they can use to describe performance and give employees coaching and feedback.

Challenge #4: Goals are poorly written

  • Give managers and employees annual training on how to write effective goals.
  • Provide a sample of an effective goal on your appraisal form.
  • Setup your appraisal form to include fields for a description, milestones, due dates, etc. so none of these elements are forgotten.

Challenge #5: Ratings and feedback only address the last few months of performance

  • Give managers tools so they can keep performance journals all year round.
  • Consider running quarterly "mini-reviews" to capture performance details when they're fresh in everyone's mind.

Read how others have improved their managers' skill at writing performance appraisals

At the Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company, performance appraisal completion rates have jumped from 50 to 95 percent. Employees are being coached, and performance is being discussed on an ongoing basis, improving the culture and business.

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