4 Performance Appraisal Mistakes You Might Be Making

The big game might be over, but most football teams are already planning for next season. Coaches (who kept their jobs) will be evaluating performance throughout the recruiting process and training camp, looking to put their best cleated foot forward come September.

The business world is no different, as organizations are constantly trying to up their game to get a competitive edge. One of the best ways to do so is by conducting performance reviews. However, managers and supervisors often incite yellow flags by making the same mistakes.

Dodging these unnecessary penalties can lead to enhanced performance, a well-deserved Gatorade bath and being carried off the field atop the shoulders of your grateful staff. Hey, it never hurts to dream.

1. Failing to communicate with employees

For a performance review process to be effective, job-related goals and standards must be objective, measurable and clearly stated. Employees must always be aware of these criteria and know where they stand within the appraisal process.

A great way to achieve this is to use the SMART goal methodology, writing objectives that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

This leaves little to the imagination and provides clear communication between the employee and supervisor.

Remember: Effective communication goes both ways, so encourage employee feedback throughout the course of the performance review. This helps you reinforce the stated goals and standards. Additionally, it shows employees you have a vested interest in conducting a fair and constructive performance assessment.

2. Being inconsistent

Performance reviews are a chance not only to point out inadequacies, but to praise productivity. By recording both the positives and negatives regarding an employee’s job performance, you ensure a balanced and consistent appraisal.

When you apply this standard to all employees, you bolster consistency, prevent bias and decrease your potential for liability. Get both sides of the coin and you’ll get the whole story. Think of it as winning the toss AND getting to pick which end zone to defend.

3. Taking it personally

It’s natural for performance reviews to be viewed as highly personal processes. They are. You’re essentially judging the way your employees conduct themselves while completing their work. Because of this, you might be tempted to avoid emotionally charged issues so as not to damage personal relationships or evoke pushback.

If an employee is coming up short, it’s your job to let them know how to fix the problem. It’s also your job to make sure employees are aware of the disciplinary actions that will be taken if they fail to “get with the program.”

Employees can’t improve their performance if they don’t know it’s unsatisfactory, so avoid just sending them back to the huddle and hoping for miraculous improvement.

4. Waiting too long between performance reviews

When performance appraisals are spread too far apart, you’re less likely to correct problems or stimulate improvement. The review process is ongoing and should not be viewed as just an annual event.

Grossly infrequent performance reviews open the door for sloppy and inconsistent documentation, as well as mistakes brought on by rushed or late evaluations.

Try to keep a log of events, both positive and negative, throughout the year and have regular performance discussions with your employees. This will make writing the formal performance evaluation an easy step in the process.

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