So far, these issues all sound very positive, and they're subjects that employees should be looking forward to discussing. The employee may become visibly upset and even cry, and the boss may feel embarrassed or not know how to effectively deal with the situation.
The employee may protest or argue with the boss and challenge some of the evaluative statements or implications.
The employee may want more (grade change, salary, opportunity) than the boss wants to give.
Thus, there are both positive and negative thoughts that can sway a leader toward or away from the appraisal process.
Keep a record throughout the year of what works and what doesn't work with an employee.
Allow both you and the employee to complete that form prior to the interview so that both parties are fully prepared. Performance appraisals can be nerve-racking, and if you find yourself in the middle of a difficult one, it can become downright stressful. Performance PreviewsWhile a performance appraisal focuses on the past, a performance preview looks to the future.
Coaching SessionsCoaching provides employees with support, feedback, challenges and guidance. Base each employee's form on the knowledge, skills and behaviors needed to perform her specific job and interact successfully with others. Unlike performance appraisals, performance previews can take place whenever the manager or employer determine that improvement is needed -- on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. For example, employees can evaluate their personal ratings and create specific, realistic goals based on their successes or weaknesses.
Then there is this alarming news: As law firms continue to be operated more like businesses (as opposed to being run like private men's clubs), the performance appraisal becomes an important tool for weeding people out as well as identifying top performers.
Let's deal first with the emotions that surface any time you receive a performance appraisal. Talk to law firm partners, and they will tell you that many positive outcomes can be derived from performance appraisals, among them (1) meaningful feedback, (2) improved inter-firm communication, (3) maintenance of standards, and (4) facilitation of career planning. Peer EvaluationsPeer evaluations can sometimes take the place of or augment performance appraisals.


One downfall of a performance appraisal is that it doesn't always facilitate collaboration between employers and employees.
Instead of telling employees how to improve, it encourages them to figure out how to solve problems on their own and make necessary adjustments.
If someone other than you serves as the coach, ask the person to keep you updated on each employee's progress. Unless these emotions are well understood and contained by you at the start, a rational discussion of the performance appraisal as an institutional tool-and how you can successfully deal with it-cannot take place. First of all, the mere fact of delivering the appraisal solidifies that person's superior rank. Cope with and survive a negative performance review by maintaining a cool head and a professional attitude. Once your boss completes your appraisal, you should have an opportunity to provide your own input about the topics discussed. To conduct a performance preview, you sit down with your employees one-on-one and discuss in detail how you can improve your working relationship in the future to meet specific goals.
Also, with an alternative approach, both managers and employers can address issues that arise and take steps to fix them quickly. In this instance, the performance appraisal is meaningful as a tool for generating conformity and weeding out misfits. You asked an open-ended question that gave the other person wide latitude in how to respond. Ideally, the appraisal should occur once per quarter, but it happens annually in most companies. Management typically selects a task force of three to eight employees to develop a peer evaluation process and implement it. It's important to avoid linking the results of peer reviews to pay increases, promotions or disciplinary actions unless employees are in favor of doing so. Yet, if lawyers can be convinced that the system is unbiased and the appraisal process conducted dispassionately, the occasional bad feeling will not become part a rising chorus of smoldering discontent.
Ask employees to rate themselves in the areas included on the forms and suggest their own ideas to make needed improvements. All of this can make performance appraisals uncomfortable to contemplate, difficult to suffer, and almost impossible to trust.


As a small-business owner, you can serve as the coach, an experienced and respected employee can take on the job, or you can hire someone from outside of your organization.
Now that this has been said, let's examine the other side of the equation, the appraisal rationale. Rather than create improved communication, which smacks of corpspeak, the goal of the appraisal process should be to remain confidential-a private summing up between appraiser and appraised that hopefully clears the air, establishes baselines for future on-the-job conduct, and sets the agenda for a less fractious future. A performance appraisal, which usually covers a period of six months to a year, involves a face-to-face meeting in which a manager evaluates an employee's past job performance. Another problem with performance appraisals is that they address issues that have already occurred -- sometimes many months in the past.
We'll briefly discuss this and end with adaptive strategies you can employ to weather the stress and get on with the job. Thus, note that even the consensus judgment handed down to you on your appraisal may be a matter of dispute among the partners.
This differs from a performance appraisal in that it is based on a consensus of individuals at the same level of authority as the people they are evaluating.
Now that this has been said, let's examine the other side of the equation -the appraisal rationale.
Coaching helps employees develop a sense of awareness and responsibility in relation to their job.
Do that, and you're likely to hear about it on your next performance appraisal, if not before.
If you can do most, if not all, of this, you likely won't be "blindsided" at appraisal time.
Alternatives to performance appraisals allow employees and their managers to share information on an ongoing basis.
Peer evaluations facilitate teamwork and satisfactory interpersonal skills among employees rather than impelling individuals to appear to be the best employee when under a supervisor's observation.
Instead, you'll find your work easier and the dreaded performance appraisal easier to digest.



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