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Performance Appraisal Interviewing, Employee Review Interviewing, Conducting Staff Appraisals / Reviews
Performance Appraisal Interviewing, Employee Review Interviewing, Conducting Staff Appraisals / Reviews  
Client Login to Appraisal Smart Performance Appraisal Interviewing (page 2 of 4)
Performance Appraisal Interviewing, Employee Review Interviewing, Conducting Staff Appraisals / Reviews
Performance Appraisal Interviewing, Employee Review Interviewing, Conducting Staff Appraisals / Reviews
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Let's now consider each step in more detail:

STEP 1: Start with an icebreaker
Start the discussion with a little small talk to ease the initial tension of the interview.

STEP 2: Explain the purpose of the interview
Explaining how you wish to conduct the Appraisal Interview will let Appraisees know what to expect, and will eliminate any unrealistic fears they may have.

Say something like: "Jane, I would just like to summarize the purpose of today's meeting again: It is to look at how you have been doing with the Performance Measures we have agreed on last time, and to see if there is anything I can help you with in the form of additional resources and training, or removing any obstacles that might hinder you in your work. Having done that, we will look at new or adapted Performance Measures for the next performance period of 'x' months. I will be making notes in respect of everything we discuss and decide. You can view everything I have entered into the online system on your own computer afterwards. You must just let me know then if I have added anything incorrectly, so that we can discuss and rectify it. Do you have any questions or concerns before we start?"

STEP 3: Work through the Performance Measures (agree Actual Performance, Ratings and POPs)


Take the Performance Measures - one at a time - and ask the Appraisee how s/he thinks s/he has done with them. Ask for and give facts and "evidence" pertaining to each (also consult the Appraisee's Performance Record Notes).

Your job is to act as FACILITATOR of the process. Always ask for the Appraisee's comments first. The key is to get them to self-appraise. Ask probing questions to get examples and supporting evidence of good performance. If you disagree, don't say so directly - rather ask questions so that Appraisees can come to more realistic conclusions themselves. Facilitation of this nature is particularly important with Performance Measures where subjectivity may come into play - therefore necessitating the opinion of the Appraisee even more.

Praise them where deserved (be genuine and sincere!), mentioning specific examples of achievement and behavior, e.g.:
"I am particularly pleased with the way you..."
"Your contribution here means that we ...

When discussing Performance Measures that were not sufficiently met, it becomes even more important for Appraisees to self-appraise. It is so much more effective if they mention areas for improvement themselves. People can also sometimes be much harder on themselves than you would like to be.

Explore the factors that have affected their performance. Probe: "Why?", "What Happened?", "What would have helped", "How can we correct the situation / avoid it from happening again?

Using 'we' as opposed to 'you' in trying to find solutions to problems indicates to Appraisees that they are not alone in this, and that your support is always available.

Be careful not to apportion blame. Discuss performance, not personality (what they do, not what they are). Focus on performance improvement and actions to prevent the recurrence of problems. There is nothing you or anyone else can do any more about the past. Rather use the lessons from the past to improve on the future. Concentrate on behavior that CAN be changed, and give praise where possible - even when discussing poor performance.

Avoid negative words such as "mistakes", "sloppy", "careless" and "shortcomings". The key is to keep your feedback constructive and nonjudgmental, maintaining the Appraisee's self-esteem throughout.

Admit openly if you have a shared responsibility for the Appraisee's under-performance, and undertake to set this right. Also admit if you are wrong in your interpretation of the facts.

If they blame you for something that went wrong, stay calm and avoid defending yourself - respond in a non-reactive way and don't get personal. Avoid arguments, by focusing on facts and supporting evidence. Always avoid comparisons with other people.

VERY IMPORTANT: You may never drop a bombshell (surprise) on the Appraisee by mentioning areas of under-performance for the first time during the Appraisal Interview. These, plus positive feedback, MUST be given to employees as soon as realistically possible after the event itself.

This, in effect, means that the Performance Appraisal only becomes a SUMMARY of what the Appraisee already knows, thus reducing most of the frequently reported stress that line managers have when conducting Appraisals.

Don't allow Appraisees avoiding areas of under-performance. Attempt to draw it from them with probing questions. If they persist in avoiding certain issues, give it to them straight, but sensitively, e.g. "Jane, let's now talk about the three customer letters of complaint we have received over this performance period. How do you feel about that?"

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