Performance Appraisals – The Biggest Mistakes Managers Make

Do you notice that a mere mention of the term “performance appraisal” makes employees roll their eyes or grimace a little? Why do you think performance reviews are perceived as a negative experience?

Performance appraisals, by definition, is a meeting between a manager and a member of his or her staff. Together, they appraise the staff member’s work performance during a certain time period and agree on goals until the next appraisal. However, many managers handle performance reviews quite poorly. In the end, the manager and the staff member never understand each other, never quite appreciate the other’s point of view, and never quite settle on appropriate goals.

What are these big mistakes managers often make in conducting performance appraisals? Remember that there can be easily avoided once you make a conscious effort to avoid them.

Waiting for the appraisal to give feedback – This is a common mistake among managers, where they fail to give someone adequate feedback on their performance during the year, and then dumps it on them in the performance appraisal meeting. The employees end up shocked, wondering why the manager did not say something sooner, and would even feel unjustly victimized. Remember that there should be no surprises on a job appraisal. To correct this, make it a habit to tell your employees if they have done their job greatly or poorly. If it’s a poor job, explain how they can do things better in the future.

Overemphasizing recent performances – It’s human to remember—and give greater weight—to recent events rather than earlier events. However, this can lead to an inaccurate and unfair assessment when it comes to reviewing an employee’s performance. The manager should take note of the employee’s work throughout the year.

Being overly positive or negative – Some managers can be too honest to the point that they overly put out negative feedback, or while others feel uncomfortable giving poor appraisals that they forget constructive criticisms. The manager appraising someone’s performance should give an honest opinion, and also should make your employee understand and appreciate what you are saying.

Being critical without being constructive – Some managers can be overly critical and neglect to provide any constructive advice on how a staff member can improve. Even if your criticisms all have merit, the employee is more likely to miss the validity of what is being said and may even think he or she is victimized if you do not explain how the employee can improve.

Talking without listening – Managers talk too much during performance reviews and not listen enough. These meetings are supposed to be interactive. The manager does not simply relay his or her own appraisal of the employee’s performance during the year, but also listens to the employee’s input. For instance, a criticism over an individual performance should also have employee’s response as to why he or she may have underperformed. Remember that a key objective of such meetings is to agree on goals for the following season, that is why communication between two parties is necessary.

You can avoid these five mistakes through little effort, resulting to employee satisfaction, productivity, and no more rolling of eyes!

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