Employee Performance Appraisals

Part of a process

Employee performance appraisals can be a source of friction and abuse in the family business. They can cause stress, and lower morale. They can increase feelings of unfairness amongst employees and even managers.

They almost always involve an employee performance appraisal meeting. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of the meeting.

  • NO SURPRISES - ongoing communication will have already identified what is going well and what is not.
  • Manager should schedule the employee performance appraisal meeting with adequate advance notice for the employee. Stick to the schedule! Postponing the meeting, unless absolutely unavoidable, does more to convey disrepect to the employee and the process than almost anything else. So often, we see a negative environment established before the meeting has ever started.
  • Ensure privacy, and no interruptions.
  • Manager should start by reviewing the process and its objectives and where the employee fits into the work unit and company.
  • Then, we find best results usually come by shifting emphasis over to the employee - to convey what they think is going well, not going well and so on.

    Remember, manager is a partner with the employee, and this meeting is part of a process to confirm and recognize what is going well as well as to discuss and decide what to do about things that aren't going well.

  • Feedback must be clear and concise so that employee and manager know what they have agreed to and specifically what they are going to do.
  • Whatever performance appraisal form form is in use by the company should be completed promptly - but the form is not the most important part of the process - it can only record what the two "partners" have decided. It is the employee and manager who will make this work, not the completion of the form. [We emphasize this as a way of taking a critical shot at the companies and their HR Departments who have forgotten that the form is a tool to help the people process, not the other way around.]

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Employee performance appraisals are only a part of this whole process, but very often it comes down to filling out a form and "laying it on" the employee at an annual meeting or sticking it in the mail box!

Direction and commitment will almost always have to come from the owner, to senior managers and down to managers to make sure they know this process is important in the family business.

There is much controversy over the type of rating system to use for employee performance appraisals. We are not going to add to that argument here - for one simple reason. We think the form and type of system is so related to the company's philosophy about employee performance appraisas that it is better addressed as part of the planning and review of the whole process - not on its own.


Check out our Human Resource Forms section for a complete selection of all the HR forms you'll need.

And check out our Free Human Resources Forms section for a selection of free HR forms to get you started.





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Employee performance appraisals can be a positive and motivating tool, if they are correctly used and part of a complete process.

We can help you make employee performance appraisals an effective part of your performance evaluati



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Employee Handbook