Formal performance appraisal of employees is a useful tool for evaluating how well employees are performing their duties and ensuring that productivity and efficiency goals are realized by the organization. It is more likely to be used by larger organizations.
Performance appraisals are put in place so that goals are established by both the employer and the employee, within the scope of the employee’s responsibilities as set out in a statement of duties. These goals should be reasonable and consistent with the objectives of the organization.
A formal performance appraisal, which covers all aspects of an employer’s work, has important influences on decision about:
- Salary reviews
- Promotional opportunities
- Transfer requests
- Appeal and demotion
Therefore, it is essential that any performance appraisal be made accurately and fairly, and in accordance with equal employment opportunity legislation.
Appraisal should focus on performance rather than personality issues. Due to consideration should be given to anti-discrimination and related legislation. Appraisal of performance takes place over a set period of time, such as there, six, or 12-monthly intervals. It may take the form of:
- A written report
- A disciplinary interview
- A verbal report
Performance appraisal forms
An employer’s immediate supervisor or manager takes responsibility for assessing an employee’s performance. Most organizations have designated and prepared formal evaluation forms. These set out clearly the objectives of the performance appraisal. Documents are usually distributed by and returned to the Personnel or Human Resources section after the process is completed. They are then filed for future reference. The performance appraisal forms are standardized and can be include checklists, rating scales and space for comments.
The appraisal interview
The appraisal interview takes place after the formal performance appraisal has been completed.
The purpose of an appraisal interview is to:
- Mutually consider and resolve any problems that may exist
- Strengthen workplace relationships by considering job responsibilities
- Seek to improve performance
- Acknowledge high-level performance
- Plan remedial action, if appropriate
Employees are usually supplied with a blank copy of the evaluation forms before the appraisal interview. This gives them an opportunity to evaluate themselves.
At the end of set period the employee’s performance is measured against the predetermined goals. The goals are re-examined to ensure that they are still appropriate and relevant. Sometimes a comparison is made between the employee’s immediate supervisor’s evaluation forms and his or her own, and the differences are discussed.
If the set goals have not been met within a specified time, discussions take place and the reasons for the deficiencies are explored.
The next step is to establish training needs and set a further period for review. Further follow-up may occur after the set period to see if the new goals and strategies have been attained.
Informal performance appraisals
Informal performance appraisals can take place at any time throughout the year. Smaller businesses tend to conduct performance appraisals on an informal basis.
Employees are given feedback about good performances at work and poor performances that need improvement.
An informal performance appraisal allows for:
- A less structured appraisal
- Greater flexibility
- Immediate feedback
- A face-to-face interview