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What Is an Appraisal Report?
An appraisal report is a document that immediate supervisors, managers, and human resources personnel use to evaluate the performance of employees. In the appraisal report, the managers and supervisors keep track and record the accomplishments, contributions, and achievements of employees during a specific period. It also includes an employee’s area of expertise, activities they excel at, and weaknesses. An articulate appraisal report accompanied by a proper process allows hiring managers and immediate supervisors to benchmark employees among teams and groups to identify opportunities for career growth and areas of improvement. An appraisal report allows mutual communication between managers and employees to set goals and address possible deficiencies for performance and output.
According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review entitled ‘Your Employees Want the Negative Feedback You Hate to Give’ dated January 2014, 92 percent of respondents agree that negative feedback delivered appropriately effectively improves performance. Workers need to hear that managers and human resources are meticulous in rating and assessing their performance.
Components of an Appraisal Report
Different companies and institutions have various templates for their appraisal reports. Some of them look physically similar, but the content is slightly different. Immediate supervisors, managers, human resources, and employees handle them to facilitate a complete and meticulous review process. Found below are the common elements of a performance appraisal report.
How to Create an Appraisal Report
A well-structured and rounded appraisal report helps the employer and employee understand the correct and positive impact of an employee’s work behavior and necessary improvements to be addressed. Here are the things to remember in creating an effective appraisal report.
Step 1: Create a Rubric System
Specify fundamental objectives relating to an employee’s job description and classify them into various categories. Based on the objectives, rate the performance of the worker on how well they meet the goals. The most common rating system uses a five-point scale, and each number signifies a specific description. For example, a rating of five (5) equates to excellent performance, four (4) is very good, three (3) means good performance, two (2) indicates fair, and one (1) represents poor performance.
Step 2: Highlight the Employee’s Achievements
It is essential to highlight an employee’s strong points and achievements. Employers fill out new appraisal reports for each period. The evaluator also refers to previous goal setting as a reference if the set goals are achieved or not. Emphasizing and discussing the employee’s achievements help them to maintain their energy into improving their performance and work ethic. It is advisable to elaborate on how an employee achieved the goals set at the beginning of the review period.
Step 3: Identify the Areas for Improvement
It is helpful to mention and include the difficulties faced by the employee. List down the areas or categories the employee must improve on to reach their full potential. Ask the employee to discuss the problems in detail to ensure the next step of the review process goes smoothly.
Step 4: Actions Taken to Improve Performance
If there is a prior employee appraisal review, the evaluator must note the changes, whether it is an improvement or not since the last review. Detail the steps taken by the employee to improve and act on their previous goals. Through the reflection of the process, the employee now has a clear understanding and approach for the following goals they set for themselves.
Step 5: Set Employee’s Goals
During the current review, the evaluator and employee jointly discuss and create new developmental goals for the next review period. In choosing the goals and objectives of the employee, remember that they must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. SMART goals are essential in any setting, and it is advisable to always keep them in mind in creating and implementing objectives.
Step 6: Comments and Remarks from Both Parties
At the end of the appraisal process, both individuals discuss and include comments based on the content. The evaluator covers all relevant information from the conversation with the employee. The employee comment section is an essential part of the evaluation because it allows them to explain in writing. It gives the employee time to reflect and indicate why their performance is not reaching company expectations, express their joy for all the achievements and accomplishments, and the satisfaction their work brings to them.
What is the importance of performance appraisal?
Appraisal reports detail employee performance, goals and include valuable remarks concerning the job performance. A performance appraisal provides adequate feedback for each employee based on their performance. It also serves as a basis for monitoring, modification, and variation of behavior to a more effective working habit. It provides data to immediate supervisors, managers, and the human resources department in selecting and categorizing particular job assignments and appropriate compensation. The appraisals are practical and helpful in enforcing employee performance. However, present systems cannot maximize their function well. It is essential to remember that employee appraisal focuses on the outcomes of behavior.
What are the objectives of a performance appraisal?
The main objective of performance appraisals is to measure and improve employee performance, thus increasing the productivity and value of the organization. Here are others that contribute significantly to the improvement of the employee and company.
- Providing feedback: One of the many justifications for performance appraisals is to provide valuable feedback to employees. Through this process, an employee identifies how well they did over the past period of evaluation and uses this information to improve future performance. It ensures the achievement of the company’s set standards through a discussion provided by the employee and manager.
- Facilitating promotion decisions: Through performance appraisals, companies can make good decisions about ensuring and securing the most significant job positions for the most capable and reliable employees worthy of job promotions. It is necessary to do assessments to avoid conflicts for particular vacancies and promotions between workers.
- Rightsizing or downsizing decisions: Layoffs are inevitable in any industry, and performance appraisals help in the decision-making process of managers and human resources personnel. The documentation helps in identifying which individuals are poor performers costing the company’s performance and vision.
- Motivating superior performance: Performance appraisals encourage individuals to deliver outstanding performance in various ways. First, it helps employees distinguish which accomplishments the company prefers. Second, the documentation of the performance appraisal provides individuals with the opportunity to demonstrate superior performance. Lastly, it encourages individuals to perform better and denies the titles of underperforming employees or inferior performers.
- Setting and measuring goals: Goal setting is consistently seen and reflected in performance appraisals. Each process emphasizes goal setting by the employee and the evaluator, and these goals align with the company’s vision and mission. It is also necessary to make these goals follow the SMART goals process to get the best out of the employees. Both parties must make sure that they are on the same page when it comes to the goals.
- Determining compensation changes: Most organizations understand the importance of compensating employees. Through performance appraisals, the management determines proper compensation for employees that perform well and those that underperform. It establishes a system to reward employees that are doing well in the performance and encourage them to keep going. It also serves as motivation for underperforming employees to do their best to achieve higher pay.
- Supports proper planning: Organizations that perform well regularly assess their employees to make sure each individual possesses the talent in the daily operations. The business needs to ensure that they operate at their best at present and in the future. Companies determine their most competent employees and must identify departments where talented employees lie and employees who continue to struggle with their responsibilities.
- Provides legal defensibility: Any personnel decisions are subject to legal processes and scrutiny. The company decisions include termination of employment, denial of promotion, and the transfer from one position to another. If an employee chooses to question the decision made by management, the company can defend itself in the justification of the decision by having a solid record of performance appraisals. The documents serve great legal defensibility when a complaint arises from possible discrimination.
What are the drawbacks of performance appraisals given by management?
Despite performance appraisals bringing the best out of employees and the management, there are still instances where inadequacies surface. These drawbacks are related to various factors and apply to several organizations. These drawbacks include but are not limited to the following:
- The written evaluations based on the review of accomplishments are usually subjective and impressionistic.
- Appraisals do not hold adequate information about intricacies of the performance and are mostly to distinguish employees’ performance for defining salary increases made from discretionary judgments and decisions.
- Differences in rating between managers, especially in different teams or departments, are incomparable. Since these managers are looking for specific qualities for a line of work, it may be adequate for one and inadequate for another.
- Salary increases are allocated based on outputs rather than behavior. As a result, competent employees may be refused increases and become discouraged.
- The basis for promotion and dismissal from appraisal data leaves decisions to a bitter debate. Early retirement based on inadequate data reflected on an appraisal review is a common situation for this.
- Delay in feedback creates frustrations in employees when a positive performance is not immediately recognized and anger when judgment results from past performances not covered by the review period.
Managers and employees jointly discuss a certain review period to measure performance and behavior towards work. Most organizations deploy annual performance appraisals to ensure that company standards are par with the employee’s outputs and provided services. It is significant to ensure that employees are aware of the review period and process made by management. Remember, both the employee and the manager concurrently answer the appraisal report to evaluate performance and set goals for the next review period. In doing so, both the manager and employee gain direct feedback and a shared understanding of the appraisal. In the words of Harold Schultz, “Treating employees benevolently shouldn’t be viewed as an added cost that cuts into profits, but as a powerful energizer that can grow the enterprise into something far greater than one leader could envision.” Check out samples of appraisal reports above and have a joint performance review with the workforce.