Performance Appraisals Without The Pain

black man talking with womanAside from meeting stated goals and objectives, what is a manager’s number one priority? If you said the performance development of their direct reports – the people who do the work to meet the goals and objectives – you are absolutely correct.

Next question – what is the one job that is often delayed to the last possible moment? If you said preparing and writing performance appraisals/reviews, you are now two for two.

Part of the problem is that most of us have an informal process for approaching this essential task, especially in assembling the necessary data. Often we rely on memory and the most recent observations.

It is important to remember that when it comes to technical writing, performance reviews are one of the most critical documents that managers have to tackle. The writing must be error-free because the scrutiny is intense. Many interested parties – direct reports, senior level managers and human resources to name a few – screen these documents closely.

Yet, managers increase the likelihood of errors when preparing these reviews at the last minute, frequently without having the benefit of vetting from a dispassionate third party.

Several tips for better performance appraisal report writing:

  1. Place the performance appraisal due date on your calendar
  2. Have a formal system for collecting and filing key performance information throughout the entire year
  3. Begin preparing initial drafts two months prior to the submission deadline.
  4. Find a resource either within or outside of your organization to review your document for content, accuracy, and ease of understanding
  5. Submit your final version of your appraisal to your direct report for their confirmation, rebuttal or revisions one to two weeks prior to the submission deadline.
  6. Rinse and repeat the cycle again.

Keep in mind that performance appraisals are not merely items on your to-do list, but also opportunities for developing talents and building team loyalty.

Communication Management offers in-depth coaching for those charged with the responsibility of preparing performance reviews.