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Performance Appraisal Interviewing, Employee Review Interviewing, Conducting Staff Appraisals / Reviews
Performance Appraisal Interviewing, Employee Review Interviewing, Conducting Staff Appraisals / Reviews  
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Performance Appraisal Interviewing, Employee Review Interviewing, Conducting Staff Appraisals / Reviews
Performance Appraisal Interviewing, Employee Review Interviewing, Conducting Staff Appraisals / Reviews
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After each Performance Measure had been discussed, and the agreed Actual Performance Notes recorded, the Appraisor and Appraisee need to give it a realistic performance rating. For this purpose, use the Rating Key/Scale descriptions and consider the Performance Standards and/or Behavioral Indicators listed on the Performance Appraisal Form for each Measure.

It is wise never to give your own preliminary ("prepped") ratings (even if the Appraisee asks for it). Rather ask the Appraisee what s/he thinks would be a fair rating based on actual performance as agreed and recorded. If s/he is unrealistically high, facilitate a more realistic rating by asking questions such as:
"Considering the three customer complaints you have received Jane, how do you justify a 4-rating that reads: 'Above Target/Standard?'"
"Considering the number of customer complaints you have received Jane, how do you justify a 3-rating that reads: 'On Target/Standard, including small deviations plus or minus'?. I cannot agree that three such rather serious complaints be regarded as small negative deviations. What do you think?"

Be prepared to adjust your thinking on a rating if the facts and arguments offered, justify this.

Care must be taken that the rating of performance does not deteriorate into a battle of wills. The secret is to stick to actual performance as proven by performance data/statistics, and recorded incidents/evidence (that were discussed with the employee at the time).

Of course, as line manager, you retain the prerogative to insist on a rating that you are happy with, as long as you can offer your reasons for it, whether the Appraisee accepts it or not.

Consider bringing in your line manager as arbitrator if you and the Appraisee cannot reach agreement on Actual Performance or Ratings. His/her decision will be final, although, in many organizations, an unhappy Appraisee may still resort to taking it further in some way, e.g. by lodging a grievance (consult your organization's Human Resources policy in this regard).

However, by following the abovementioned steps and principles carefully, major differences in opinion between Appraisor and Appraisee could be largely avoided. Both parties should also approach the appraisal process in a positive, constructive spirit so that Performance Management and Appraisals will effectively deliver on their intended purpose.

Remember, the primary aim of the Performance Appraisal is to identify stumbling blocks that prevent the Appraisee from performing optimally, and should therefore be an open discussion to achieve just that. The rating of performance is secondary and should not detract from the problem-solving purpose of the discussion.

Performance Measures and Standards that have not been met need to be put back on track. Engage in joint problem solving to do so, as each Performance Measure is discussed. The result of this discussion is recorded in the Performance Optimization Plan (POP) field of each Performance Measure on the Performance Appraisal Form.

Staff Training and Coaching (as per the traditional Personal Development Plan) are seldom the only solutions for addressing unacceptable performance or behavior. Poor performance or behavior can more often than not be ascribed to a combination of a lack of resources and work tools, poor systems/policies/procedures, poor reward/recognition practices, insufficient performance feedback, other poor management practices, and a generally counterproductive working environment and organization culture.

Be open-minded to consider and address all of these. Frequently, these are for the Appraisor/Organization to address, and not the Appraisee. Along with employee training and development, the result will be continuous performance improvement, organization development, and proactive change management - leading to a "Learning Organization" in the true sense of the word.

Again, Appraisors should get suggestions from the Appraisee first before adding their own.

STEP 4: Agree Performance Measures and Standards for the next Performance Period
This is the "forward-looking" section of the interview as mentioned above. This part of the discussion can be handled right now as the "second half" of the interview, or as a separate session within the next week or two.

It is crucial that new or adapted Performance Measures and Standards be discussed and documented as close as possible to the start at the new performance period, so that the employee has the bulk of the time to deliver on them.

Also discuss any support you need to give Appraisees. Support is all about minimizing environmental barriers to performance, providing them with the necessary resources, training and coaching opportunities, and improving their motivation.

STEP 5: Close on a positive note
Make a positive closing statement, reiterating your appreciation of the Appraisee's efforts, ensuring them of your trust in their abilities and future performance, e.g.: "Jane, that concludes our discussion then. Thank you for the frank and constructive way in which you have approached it. I would just like to end off by thanking you once again for the effort you have put in over the last 'x' months, and also to ensure you of my full trust in your abilities to tackle your new objectives and targets competently. Please rest assured of my commitment to support you where I can, and do not hesitate to push on my button at any time."

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