Performance appraisal mistakes

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Performance appraisal mistakes

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As a manager, you’re going to be faced with a number of tricky management issues – dealing with tardiness, sick leave, difficult customers, budgets, measures and keeping your staff motivated.

Performance reviews can be useful for motivating employees, but only if they are accurate. An inaccurate review, which fails to recognise the employee’s value to the organisation, can be worse than no review at all. If a performance review fails to take note of an employee’s shortcomings, it won’t be taken seriously.

If an employee consistently performs poorly, it’s vital to document this, as well as any corrective action that is taken. Your staff may be genuinely unaware that their performance in some areas is poor (or exceptional!), unless you tell them.

Most employers conduct performance reviews annually, in order to decide on salary increases and bonuses. Since performance reviews should build on previous reviews, it’s better to conduct them more regularly – every four months is a good frequency.

Employees thrive on feedback, and regular performance reviews provide a consistent framework for providing positive reinforcement. Under-performing employees can also benefit. Regular reviews can identify weak performance areas, and allow you to set clear goals and expectations, and to coach and mentor the employee to improve their performance.

Objectivity is vital. You need to concentrate on measuring performance, and not on quirks of personality. The performance review should relate directly to the employee’s job profile – your employees do have job profiles, or job descriptions, don’t they? The job profile should identify the Key Performance Areas for the job.

For instance, some Key Performance Areas for a receptionist might be:

  • answer incoming calls within 3 rings
  • take messages accurately and pass them on quickly
  • Type at a rate of 40 words per minute- The more measurable a Key Performance Area, the better.

Some other measurable Key Performance Areas include:

  • number of customer complaints
  • number of customer compliments
  • number of co-worker complaints Of course, you would have to keep accurate records of all of these.

You should prepare a performance review form for each employee, which lists the Key Performance Areas for the job, and provides a matrix for you to record the performance in each area.  For example, you might rate the employee’s performance in each Key Performance Area against a scale of ‘Poor, Satisfactory, Good, Very Good, and Excellent’

Performance reviews should be a collaborative process – as far as possible, the employee should agree with your assessment!

5 common mistakes of performance appraisal

1. Unclear standards:

Requirements of each level should be distinguished: What is excellent, good, pass and poor standard? What should be done and what are specific skills to be excellent? Different people may have different understandings and applications of excellent, good, pass and poor standard.

If there is not any specific direction of classification, under unclear standards, one employee may be evaluated in different levels. This will reduce the accuracy of job performance evaluation of employees.

2. Prejudice:

When generally evaluating job performance of employees, the administrator only bases on one certain standard or main point.

3. Pass tendency:

Evaluating employees in pass level, no one excellent as well as too poor.

4. Extreme tendency:

The administrator tends to evaluate employees too highly or too lowly. All employees are considered good or poor.

5. Preconception:

The tendency that allows different personal factors such as age, skin colour, gender affecting the evaluation of job performance.

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