Performance appraisal systems are the core of effective communications between an organization and its employees, says career services firm Lee Hecht Harrison. Yet, if poorly done, they can undermine the entire structure of a company. "All members of the organization must believe that the system works for everyone in the same way, with goals cascading from executives to middle management to plant level, a foundation of cooperation and the shared understanding of prospective benefit for all," explains Jennifer Schaefer, regional senior vice president of Lee Hecht Harrison's Central Region. The career services firm offers these five tips on crucial elements of an effective performance appraisal program.
- Communicate the kind of results an employee must produce to support your corporate goals and customer needs.
- Provide managers with the information they need to reward for performance.
- See the big picture. In other words, look at the overall contributions of an individual, not merely the most recent performance. Standardizing the appraisal system and frequently reviewing data will help maintain perspective.
- Focus on the future in referring to positive performance.
- No surprises. Don't bring up negative results or behaviors for the first time in a performance appraisal. Ongoing development conversations should always be under way between management and team members.