The Appraisor's Role in using Appraisal Smart
when Conducting Performance Appraisals/Reviews (cont...)
Let's now consider each step in more detail:
STEP 1: Start with an icebreaker
Start the discussion
with a little small talk to ease the initial tension of the interview.
STEP 2: Explain
the purpose of the interview
you wish to conduct the Appraisal Interview will let Appraisees
know what to expect, and will eliminate any unrealistic fears they
like: "Sandy, I would just like to
summarise the purpose of today's meeting again: It is to look at
how you have been doing with the Performance Measures we have agreed
on last time, and to see if there is anything I can help you with
in the form of resources and training, or removing any obstacles
that might hinder you in your work. Having done that, we will look
at new or adapted Performance Measures for the next performance
period of 'x' months. I will be making notes (on the Appraisal Smart
System) in respect of everything we discuss and decide. You can
view everything I have entered onto the system on your own PC afterwards,
and just let me know if I have added anything incorrectly so we
can discuss and rectify it.. Do you have any questions or concerns
before we start?"
STEP 3: Work
through the Performance Measures, and agree on a rating for each
Take the Performance
Measures - one at a time - and ask the Appraisee how s/he thinks
s/he has done with them. Ask for and give facts and evidence pertaining
to each (also consult the Appraisee's Evidence Record on Appraisal
Your job is
to act as FACILITATOR of the process. Always ask for the Appraisee's
comments first. The key is to get them to self-appraise. Ask probing
questions to get examples and supporting evidence of good performance.
If you disagree, don't say so directly - ask questions so that Appraisees
can come to more realistic conclusions themselves. Facilitation
of this nature is particularly important with Performance Measures
where subjectivity may come into play - therefore necessitating
the opinion of the Appraisee even more.
where deserved (be genuine and sincere!), mentioning specific examples
of achievement and behaviour, e.g.:
"I am particularly pleased with the
"Your contribution here means that we ..."
Performance Measures that were not sufficiently met, it becomes
even more important for Appraisees to self-appraise. It is so much
more effective if they mention areas for improvement themselves.
People can also sometimes be much harder on themselves than you
would like to be.
factors that have affected their performance. Probe: "Why?",
"What Happened?", "What would have helped",
"How can we correct the situation / avoid it from happening
Using 'we' as
opposed to 'you' in trying to find solutions to problems indicates
to Appraisees that they are not alone in this, and that your support
is always available.
Be careful not
to apportion blame. Discuss performance, not personality (what they
do, not what they are). Focus on performance improvement and actions
to prevent the recurrence of problems. There is nothing you or anyone
else can do any more about the past. Rather use the lessons from
the past to improve on the future. Concentrate on behaviour which
can be changed, and give praise where possible - even when discussing
words such as "mistakes", "sloppy", "careless"
and "shortcomings". The key is to keep your feedback constructive
and non-judgemental, maintaining the Appraisee's self-esteem throughout.
if you have a shared responsibility for the Appraisee's under-performance,
and undertake to set this right. Also admit if you are wrong in
your interpretation of the facts.
If they blame
you for something that went wrong, stay calm and avoid defending
yourself - respond in a non-reactive way and don't get personal.
Avoid arguments, by focusing on facts and supporting evidence. Always
avoid comparisons with other people.
You may never drop a bombshell (surprise) on the Appraisee by mentioning
areas of under-performance for the first time during the Performance
Appraisal. These, plus positive feedback, MUST be given to employees
as soon as realistically possible after the event itself.
This, in effect,
means that the Performance Appraisal only becomes a SUMMARY of what
the Appraisee already knows, thus reducing most of the frequently
reported stress that line managers have when conducting Appraisals.
Appraisees to avoid areas of under-performance. Attempt to draw
it from them with probing questions. If they persist in avoiding
certain issues, give it to them straight, but sensitively, e.g.:
"Jane, let's now talk about the three customer letters of complaint
we have received over this performance period. How do you feel about
After each Performance
Measure had been discussed, and the agreed Actual Performance recorded,
the Appraisor and Appraisee need to give it a realistic performance
rating. For this purpose, use the Rating Keys and consider the Performance
Standards and/or Behavioural Indicators listed on the Performance
Never ask for
the Appraisee's rating until the extent to which the Performance
Standards have been met, have been discussed, agreed and recorded.
It is wise never
to give your own preliminary ratings as thought of prior to the
Appraisal as part of your preparation. Rather wait for all the evidence
to be discuss first (and recorded), then ask what the Appraisee
think would be a fair rating based on that. If s/he is unrealistically
high, facilitate a more realistic rating by asking questions such
"Considering the three customer complaints
you have received John, how do you justify a 4-rating that reads:
"Considering the number of customer complaints you have received
John, how do you justify a 3-rating that reads: 'On Target/Standard,
including small deviations plus or minus'?. I cannot agree that
three such rather serious complaints be regarded as small negative
deviations. Would you agree?
to adjust your thinking on a rating if the facts and arguments offered,
Care must be
taken that the rating of performance does not deteriorate into a
battle of wills. The secret is to stick to actual performance as
proven by performance data/statistics, and recorded incidents/evidence
(that were discussed with the employee at the time).
Of course, as
line manager, you retain the prerogative to insist on a rating that
you are happy with, as long as you can offer your reasons for it,
whether the Appraisee accepts it or not.
in the second level line manager (Appraisor's boss) as arbitrator
if an Appraisor and Appraisee cannot get agreement on Actual Performance
or Ratings. This senior line manager's decision will be final, although,
in many organisations, an unhappy Appraisee may still resort to
taking it further in some way, i.e. lodging a grievance (consult
your organisation's HR policy in this regard).
following the Appraisal Smart process and recommendations carefully,
major differences in opinion between Appraisor and Appraisee can
be largely avoided. Both parties should also approach the appraisal
process in a positive, constructive spirit so that Performance Management
and Appraisals will effectively deliver on their intended purpose.
The primary aim of the Performance Appraisal is to identify stumbling
blocks that prevent the Appraisee from performing optimally, and
should therefore be an open discussion to achieve just that. The
rating of performance is secondary and should not detract from the
problem-solving purpose of the discussion.