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How to Write a Performance Appraisal

Puja Lalwani Aug 1, 2020
Writing a performance appraisal is usually perceived as mundane but a challenging task at the same time. This is because of the different factors that have to be taken into account to review each employee before you go ahead and compile all this information into one report.
Most managers usually wait until the last minute to write a performance appraisal, which is why they are then accused of being unfair. Keeping track of your employees from the start while taking care of your own job is what has got you to the position in the first place. As such, making sure you perform both jobs well is a duty that you must adhere to.
The time of a performance appraisal and review that occurs towards the end of a year or the beginning of a new year is usually tense, for both managers and employees, with the expectations soaring at high levels. Doing justice to an appraisal is therefore important, so that your employees aren't left feeling betrayed.

How to Write it?

A performance appraisal reviews an employee on two aspects: quantitative analysis (the amount of work and its quality done in the year) and qualitative analysis (based on soft skills such as communication, time management, teamwork, etc.)
Often, qualitative skills are known to overpower quantitative skills and employees feel that the appraisal has become unjust and unfair. As such, a blend of both the aspects is very important in carrying out an effective review.
To do this, try keeping a track of an employee's performance each month. Maintaining a monthly analysis will help you write it better at the end of the year. Here are some tips for writing it effectively.

Encourage Self-Appraisals

Having employees conduct it on their own can help you analyze what they perceive of themselves in the organization vis-a-vis the perception of the management.
Using key performance indicators, you can have employees grade themselves. However, do remember that they are likely to be biased in self-appraisals. Encourage them to be critical and not provide you with a lopsided self analysis. You have to take into account all the good and bad and not just focus on what an employee has communicated to you.

Review what Others Have to Say about Your Employees

People your employees interact with, such as clients or colleagues, should be taken into account in this process. This is primarily important for a qualitative appraisal that requires you to review teamwork, leaderships skills, and time management. Again, keep in mind that some of these reviews may be biased, in spite of it being a professional setup.

Don't Review only the Last Month's Performance

A lot of managers usually review an employee's performance only based on the thirty days before the appraisal. Moreover, employees are aware of this and they take advantage by stepping up their performance during this period. This is why, maintaining monthly or at least quarterly reports is encouraged.

Review Goal Achievement

In some organizations, goals and targets that should be achieved by employees are set for the year. Review them in order to carry out a quantitative analysis.

Use Neutral Language

Now, you may have a biased opinion about a particular employee. However, since you are a manager, you have to be fair and not be overly critical about something that an employee may have done wrong. Use neutral phrases that highlight the negatives, and provide appropriate positive feedback too.

Let Employees Review it Before You See Them

The whole purpose of writing it before having the meeting is to let the employees see it and mull over it. This will allow them to think through all the comments you have provided, both positive and negative, and come back to you with an appropriate response. They employees may feel cornered if you suddenly present the review.
Using these tips will help you write a fair and critical appraisal. This will also reflect well in your own capacity as a good manager.