Checklists

Why Your Business Needs Performance Appraisal Checklists

Performance appraisals have been a staple of business management for decades. In the past few years, some companies have done away with the formal appraisal process. However, even if a traditional performance appraisal template has proven ineffective, employees still need to know where they err and where they excel. With this goal in mind, a good performance appraisal form or checklist can help proactive managers give ongoing and regular feedback.

Employee Performance Appraisal Trends

The Society for Human Resource Management reports that companies are increasingly doing away with appraisals. At a first glance, it may seem like the time to get rid of your company’s employee appraisal form. However, this trend is a niche movement that does not reflect the general practice.

On further investigation, SHRM shares that 91% of employers conducted performance appraisals in 2018. Compare this to 96% in the previous year. There is also a segment of performance appraisals that are growing. In 2016, 42% of companies had quarterly informal performance check-ins. In 2017, this number grew to 50%.

The Benefits of Performance Appraisals

When improperly conducted, no performance appraisal is as good as a bad one. Some human resources professionals argue a bad performance appraisal may even be worse. It can cause workers to feel micro-managed and underappreciated. Workers also experience high levels of stress and anxiety related to annual performance appraisals. When properly executed, however, employers and employees both reap the rewards.

  • Objectivity
    Most people do not consider themselves prejudiced, even when they are. However, everyone has inherent biases and people feel more drawn to others with whom they share basic similarities. Performance appraisals may also suffer from these biases, but they can force managers to think more carefully about how they review people and why they arrive at certain values or conclusions.
  • Fairness
    To some people, equal rewards spread across the company sounds like a great idea. However, this can become tiresome to high performers who do the brunt of the work. For instance, if John has a sales record of 500 per quarter and Jake has a sales record of 380 per quarter, it would not be fair to reward them the same. This holds true even if they are both surpassing a company standard of 350 sales per quarter.
  • Improvement
    Most high performers remain committed to continuous improvement. Confirming what they do right and rewarding them for it is important, but so is pointing out areas for improvement. With the right pointers and resources, Jake could easily begin to produce 400 and then 500 sales on average over the next few months. Performance appraisals make it easier to streamline employee development and succession plans.

The Importance of Using a Performance Appraisal Form

The new trend of informal quarterly reviews may make it appear that you have no need for a checklist or form. However, what appears like an informal check-in for an employee should not begin as informal feedback from the manager. Otherwise, you miss the opportunity to note important achievements and key development opportunities.

  • Improvement
    An NPR article explains that 83% of human resources professionals want to overhaul their review system. If you don’t know precisely what the old system comprises, though, you may have a difficult time creating a replacement system. This is one of the reasons documenting your current review process via a checklist or the use of forms is so important. You can then fine-tune the document as you go along.
  • Speed
    NPR points out that one of the main criticisms of traditional review systems is that they tend to occur at the end of the year. For many people, this can feel like too little, too late. Previous accomplishments may also be overshadowed by prior difficulties. Quarterly appraisals happen more often but should not, collectively, take up more time. Performance appraisal checklists make it possible to breeze through the process every three months.
  • Recommendations
    Criticism is often pointless without recommendations to improve. This is especially the case when the criticism comes as a surprise. On your performance appraisal checklist, you may match specific recommendations to certain criticisms. For instance, if an employee struggles to make the quota every month, recommend the completion of a particular training course on the company’s e-learning platform.
  • HR Documentation
    Performance appraisals also help create a paper trail that you may need to call on in the future. For instance, if employees claim they were wrongfully terminated, you may be able to pull performance reviews to justify your reasons for firing them. Inc. Magazine confirms that performance appraisals play an important role in discrimination cases, due to their application in justifying raises, promotions and terminations.

How To Improve Performance Appraisals

Using a well-thought-out employee appraisal form is a great starting point, but it is not enough to ensure an effective and efficient performance review process. Here are additional practices to consider.

  • Two-Way Street
    Having their performance put under the microscope is why so many employees hate performance appraisals. It may feel as if the company is unfairly judging them. When employees have the opportunity to also review their managers, this feeling may change.
  • Development Focus
    Traditional appraisals focused on accountability for past actions. This often impacted the ability of employees to develop in the future. Instead, companies should focus on development. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to not just point out weaknesses but offer recommendations for improvement.
  • Feedback
    When creating your performance review forms or checklists, get employee input. Ask employees what aspect of their work or projects they want feedback on. Then, use the information to create a performance appraisal template that covers the bases. Fluix makes it easy to fill out forms, store the information and share it. Test out our services for free. If you love it, keep using it for as low as $20 per month.
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