Tips for Performance Appraisals and Performance Management

The dreaded annual performance appraisals are behind us, but it's not too early to get started on this year's performance management cycle. Here are some suggestions for those who never know what to write at the end of the year:

  • Make up file folders and/or electronic subdirectories for all your direct reports.
  • Each week, jot down a note on something done well or poorly that you have discussed with the associate. Try to choose something that represents the week's work. Don't forget to date the note. This takes less than 5 minutes. (If you haven't provided feedback on that topic yet, now's your chance to catch up before it's ancient history.) File in his or her folder.
  • Use your electronic subdirectory to file any compliments or complaints, including e-mail. Make sure you've discussed them, too.
  • Periodically (at least quarterly) speak with the associate about overall performance and jot down a summary with the date. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes to review the notes in your folder and summarize them, provided you haven't put it off for 6 months! Add another 5-10 minutes for the discussion.
  • At year end, you'll have information at your fingertips and there won't be any surprises.
  • Positive feedback can be delivered privately or in groups. Negative feedback should be given privately.