How Can Managers Improve Performance Appraisals?

15 Jan

How Can Managers Improve Performance Appraisals?

Managers at large organizations are often required to adhere to a certain process of employee performance appraisals. How can those managers improve performance appraisals when they can’t overhaul their employee evaluation system altogether?


Not every manager has the opportunity to impact or improve the overall performance appraisal system within which they must work. But, every manager has the opportunity to take the system they’ve been dealt and turn the performance appraisal process into a positive, rewarding, beneficial process for both themselves and the employees who report to them.

Managers can improve performance appraisals and make them into an effective communication, goal setting, and development tool for employees while operating within the requirements of their system of performance appraisals.

Managers can start by implementing the suggestions in these performance appraisal FAQs (frequently asked questions). They can end up with the required performance appraisal document but make the performance appraisal process useful by their approach.

Here are five ways managers can immediately improve performance appraisals.

  • Use the performance appraisal document periodically, at least quarterly, throughout the year to assess employee progress. The performance appraisal document is a useful discussion starter. It consolidates employee performance information in one spot. The performance appraisal document provides a running record of employee performance discussions all year. It provides a picture of the employee’s accomplishments and progress throughout the year.


  • Provide feedback to employees regularly – not just in the annual performance appraisal. Employees like regular feedback (particularly millennial employees) and an effective manager takes time every day for employee feedback. Managers get more comfortable with feedback, better at giving feedback, and they nip problems before they become big.


  • Engage the employees in a two-way discussion whenever their performance is the topic. You can improve performance appraisals by involving the employee in the discussion all year long. Then the official performance appraisal day is just an extension of the normal performance discussion. Effective performance appraisals are never a talk by a manager. If the manager is talking even half the time, the performance appraisal is not a two-way conversation. It’s a lecture. Make the majority of the conversation positive, reinforcing, and developmental for the employee. After all, it’s his or her stage – done correctly.


  • Improve performance appraisals by using an employee self-appraisal prior to the performance appraisal. Far too many managers give employees a copy of the actual form prior to the performance appraisal meeting. In the worst cases, both the manager and the employee fill out the form, give the employee a grade or score, and then, arrive at the performance appraisal meeting dug into their positions and points of view. Even worse, some managers tell the employees to fill out their own performance appraisal, and if they do a good job, the manager will sign it. In this recommendation, the manager arrives at the meeting with ideas jotted down on the form; the employee arrives with their self-appraisal filled out and then – the discussion begins.


  • An effective performance appraisal trusts employees to do the right thing, if they know what the right thing is. Consequently, setting performance goals is critically important, but how you set the goals is the most important factor of all. Set goals in a way that reinforces the employee’s ability to plan and implement the steps necessary to reach the goal. The performance appraisal must support and reinforce the employee’s empowerment, his or her ability to chart the course to successful accomplishments. See more about how to make goals effective.

You can use these five ideas immediately to improve performance appraisals.




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Posted by on January 15, 2013 in PMS


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