Performance Assessment

What is "performance assessment"?

Performance assessment is the third phase of an effective performance appraisal system. Basically, performance assessment involves evaluating just how good a job the individual has done and filling out the appraisal form.

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Too often, people think that performance appraisal is an eventa once-a-year drill required by the personnel department in which the manager fills out the form and then uses it to give feedback and justify raises.

That's wrong. But that notion is so common, it causes a lot of people to be skeptical of performance appraisal.

Evaluating someone's performance is one of the last activities in an effective appraisal system, not one of the first. As previously discussed, the process should start with performance planning, the hour-long conversation between the manager and the individual in which they discuss the goals, competencies, objectives, and key job responsibilities. The next phase of an effective performance management system is performance execution. For the individual this involves getting the job done; for the manager it means creating the conditions that motivate and solving performance problems.

Managers often complain that evaluating someone's performance is difficult. The reason that they find it difficult is usually that they haven't done a good job of performance planning at the beginning of the year. If a manager hasn't held a planning discussion at that time, it's difficult to evaluate performance at the end of the year.

What are the manager's responsibilities for performance assessment?

The manager has eight primary responsibilities in the performance assessment phase:

1. Review the original list of competencies, goals, objectives, and key position responsibilities.

2. Prepare a preliminary assessment of the employee's performance over the entire year.

3. Review the individual's list of accomplishments and the self-appraisal.

4. Prepare your final assessment of the employee's performance.

5. Write the official performance appraisal using the appraisal form.

6. Review the appraisal with your manager and obtain concurrence.

7. Determine any revisions needed to the employee's key position responsibilities, goals, objectives, competencies, and development plans for the next appraisal period.

8. Prepare for the performance review meeting.

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Review the original list of competencies, goals, objectives, and key position responsibilities. At the beginning of the year, the manager and the individual discussed the competencies the individual would be expected to display in going about her job responsibilities and the goals and objectives to be achieved. Ideally, the subordinate would have recorded the notes from this discussion on a blank copy of the appraisal form and then made a copy for the manager afterward. This document serves, then, as the charter under which the subordinate operates during the course of the year, secure in the knowledge that she's doing the job as the organization expects it done and concentrating on the highest priorities.

At the end of the year, the manager's first step is to get out that performance appraisal form with the notes on it. Ideally, it has been updated and revised over the course of the year with notes on projects completed and with new objectives added. But even if it hasn't been revised, reviewing the form is still the best way to start the assessment processby looking at what the two parties agreed on at the beginning of the year.

Prepare a preliminary assessment of the employee's performance over the entire year. Before you write the official appraisal, it's a good idea to take a blank copy of the form and make some preliminary notes. Whether you're working with a paper and pencil process or drafting the appraisal on your computer, begin by jotting down some rough notes on areas where you recall the person's performance as particularly strong or weak. Identify those assessments required by the form that you don't have information immediately available for. Draft some very preliminary conclusions to start your thinking process about the entire evaluation.

Review the individual's list of accomplishments and the self-appraisal. It's a good idea to ask each individual whose performance you'll be evaluating to send you a list of their most important accomplishments and achievements over the course of the year. In addition to the list of accomplishments, you may also ask the individual to complete a full self-appraisal using a blank copy of the form.

Prepare your final assessment of the employee's performance, and write the official performance appraisal using the appraisal form. This is the most important activity in the performance assessment phase of performance appraisal. Following the recommendations and suggestions in this chapter will allow you to complete this responsibility at a level that anyone assessing your performance would describe as "far exceeds expectations."

Review the appraisal with your manager and obtain concurrence. Whether or not your company requires you to get your boss's sign-off on an appraisal before you discuss it with an individual, it's a good idea to review any appraisal with your immediate supervisor before you conduct the performance appraisal discussion.

Determine any revisions needed to employee's key position responsibilities, goals, objectives, competencies, and development plans for the next appraisal period. Part of the performance appraisal meeting will be historicallooking back on the individual's performance over the past twelve months. Another part will focus on the futurewhat needs to be done differently during the next twelve months. Although it's a good idea to conduct a separate performance-planning discussion a week or two after the performance appraisal conversation, during the meeting it's wise to be prepared to talk about changes that you will expect in the person's performance next year.

Prepare for the performance review meeting. Performance appraisal discussions are some of the most sensitive and demanding of all meetings that managers are involved in. The better job that you do to prepare, the more comfortable and effective the discussion will be.

 
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