How to Outline a Performance Appraisal Program

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Outlining a performance appraisal program is the easy part of performance management. Putting it into practice takes much more time and effort; however, with a well-constructed outline that describes your program’s components, implementing your company’s performance appraisal program can be a cinch.

Step 1
Assess your work force, including the number of employees and their varied occupations. For example, whether your company is a small operation with a few dozen employees or a large corporation with several departments, your performance management program must be tailored to meet the needs of your workforce. A small business generally can survive with a less formal performance management program; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any less effective than one with several more components.
Step 2
Draft a disciplinary policy or corrective action methods. Again, a small business would be more likely to use corrective action that encourages coaching, positive reinforcement and guidance for matters that need employees’ attention or improvement. Determine how your supervisors and managers will handle performance issues that arise and what documents the company uses to track performance that falls below the company’s expectations.
Step 3
Review job descriptions and create performance standards for the duties listed within each description. A performance standard indicates what an employee must do to meet performance expectations. It also indicates what level of performance falls short of the company’s expectations. Performance standards are measuring tools to evaluate employees’ performance — they lend objectivity to the evaluation process.
Step 4
Determine what type of performance appraisal form is best suited for your workforce. A production-oriented work environment generally is fast-paced; supervisors would find lengthy narrative-essay appraisals too time-consuming. Difficult and complex performance appraisals simply encourage supervisors to procrastinate, which can cause frustration among employees who want to know how they’re doing. Graphic rating scales are simple to complete; however, employees in leadership positions may benefit from using management by objectives (MBOs). MBOs identify goals, the steps they need to achieve those goals and periodic measurements for rating performance and goal attainment.

Step 5
Draft training modules for supervisors and managers. Leadership training for performance appraisal programs includes discussion about why performance management is essential in the workplace; how to evaluate employees objectively and absent supervisor bias or error; and how to conduct face-to-face meetings with employees to deliver their performance appraisals.
Step 6
Develop employee training for the performance appraisal program. Train employees how to provide self-assessments about their performance, as well as how to interact with supervisors during a performance appraisal meeting. Employee training in performance management includes elements on how to learn from constructive feedback and how to dispute an unfair appraisal in a professional manner that gets results. University of California at Berkeley professor Gregorio Billikopf advocates the “negotiated approach” to performance appraisal systems because they integrate valuable input and feedback from employees. All too often, employers leave employees out of the training for performance appraisals simply because employees are thought to be on the receiving end and not true participants. Involving employees in your performance appraisal program creates an effective and workable solution to managing performance.