Planning the Appraisal Discussion

The guidelines below are provided to help supervisors develop their own approach and style.

Getting Prepared

  • Identify the main points of the review and discussion. What must be said and what conclusions must be reached?

  • Be aware of the staff member’s past experience, education, work history, and other related information. Review the staff member’s strengths and weaknesses, and any circumstances that may have contributed to the performance.

  • Review notes from the last appraisal discussion, particularly with respect to the Future Plans and Development section.

  • Review the job description and performance standards, noting any changes which should be made, and establish preliminary performance standards for the new rating period.

  • What is the difference between what was expected and what has occurred?

  • What facts, records, and events are available to support the evaluation?

Setting the Stage

  • Prepare notes to help guide the discussion.

  • Schedule an appointment with the staff member in advance.

  • Suggest the staff member prepare a list of accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses.

  • Arrange for a suitable meeting place where it is quiet, relaxed, and private.

  • Review all materials and information gathered.

  • Bring a “draft” not a final copy of the Performance Appraisal.

Conducting the Appraisal Session

Conducting the discussion is the critical step. It can have an important bearing on future relationships and will profoundly influence a supervisor’s ability to motivate future performance. The following are guidelines provided to help supervisors develop their own style and methods.

Setting the Tone of the Discussion

Clearly state the purpose of the meeting and explain the ground rules and the process. Tell staff member what can come out of meeting, including future assignments, clear communication, and increased duties. Minimize the negative connotations of “evaluation,” “rating,” and “records of evidence.”

  • Help the staff member feel at ease and receptive.

Communicating Information

  • Explain and discuss the Performance Appraisal form

  • Avoid making the rating form and specific ratings the principal issue of the discussion

  • Avoid criticism of personality or personal traits

  • Use hypothetical questions to help staff member search out underlying problems and solutions

  • Don’t cross-examine; allow staff member to speak (voicing opinions and feelings; making plans for self-improvement; discussing job-related problems)

  • List disagreements, don’t gloss over them; use listening skills to separate facts from opinions and to shift from details to major points or problems

  • Explain ratings proposed for each of the staff member’s key responsibilities; cite specific examples

  • Come prepared with clear, understandable (written) statements which express expectations concerning future changes in performance; agree on process to monitor areas requiring change with on-going and specific target-dated reviews (Areas for Improvement section)

  • Be prepared to make development commitments which are appropriate and feasible to support necessary changes in behavior; discuss plans for staff member’s self-development and how these relate to performance expectations (Future Plans and Development Activities section)

  • As appropriate, discuss advancement opportunities and how the staff member can achieve career goals; include in this discussion the specific knowledge, skills, and experience the staff member must acquire in order to advance; agree on specific methods for acquiring them (Future Plans and Development Activities section)

  • To establish a new position description for the next evaluation period, arrive at mutually agreeable modifications, additions or deletions in the staff member’s responsibilities and related objectives.

Closing the Appraisal Discussion

  • It is important to conclude the discussion on a positive note.

  • Discuss plans to build on strengths and correct weaknesses to enhance future performance

  • Conclude with a summary of the main points of the discussion

  • Inform the staff member of the option to respond to the appraisal in the “Employee Comments and Recommendations” section

  • Have staff member sign the form if he/she does not wish to add any comments; OR set a mutually agreeable date for signing the final form, incorporating any changes, and including any comments made by the staff member.

Supervisor’s Self Evaluation

After the interview process has been completed, consider the following:

  • Did things go well/poorly? Why?

  • What topics were handled successfully/unsuccessfully?

  • What subjects aroused the staff member’s interest and involvement?

  • Were all important points thoroughly discussed?

  • What remains as unfinished business?

  • What points should be raised at the next meeting?

  • What performance should be monitored in the future?

  • What…objectives should be set? …skills should be developed?

  • Is the staff member a possible candidate for promotion?