After the core competencies and expectations of an employee are defined and trained, the need for an effective measurement of the staff member's ability to both deliver and improve in that role is important to the future success and growth of everyone involved.
One the biggest sources of frustration for people in the workplace is a lack of communication, particularly with regard to a lack of clarity about what the job entails and what criteria their boss will evaluate their performance with. If the appraisal process is properly adhered to, these basic questions will be answered for the employees and their organization will move forward and grow.
Whenever someone is new, be it as an employee or as a new evaluating manager of existing employees, a sit down within the first few days of work is required to discuss the role, how it is being evaluated and to set a calendar for the work appraisal process.
Typically that first appraisal occurs three months from the start date. For both new employees (and new managers of veteran employees), those three months should be enough time for the manager to see his employee's work habits, train and develop her requisite skills if the employee is new, and build some trust and rapport.
After the three-month appraisal, the appraisal date usually turns into an annual one, either nine months later, making it a year from the true hire date, or 12 months later making it a full year between appraisals.
Two weeks prior to the appraisal meeting, the employee must write a self-appraisal using the same form that the manager will use. The self-appraisal is invaluable for giving the manager an opportunity to adjust and prepare for any surprises or differences of opinion on the employee's performance over the appraisal period.
For the evaluation to be credible, the manager must use as many specific examples of the employee's work as possible to support the outcome of the appraisal. Taking the time to document those specific examples and observed behaviors throughout the appraisal period is a habit worth cultivating for managers.
Managers should strike a balance in documenting both the demonstrated positive and negative behaviors of the employee; not everything is done poorly or perfectly. A blend of both strengths and opportunities with a focus on future development will keep the employee engaged during the process.
Managers need to provide quality one-on-one time and attention with their employee during the appraisal. A private or semi-private room is important to limit distractions, and managers need to schedule enough time in the day for the meeting to allow it to stretch out if necessary. Properly conducted, the appraisal should reward and recognize the efforts of the employee and give him the guidance and opportunity to correct any issues with his performance.
Pending the outcome of an appraisal, a development plan or performance improvement plan will stem from it. For some companies, the practice is to review development at the end of the appraisal meeting itself, while others book a follow-up meeting. The follow-up meeting gives some time for the employee to consider her appraisal and have some input regarding areas of training and development.