What are some tips for writing balanced Performance Appraisal comments?

As you review your Performance Appraisal comments, ensure that:

  1. Performance from the entire review period has been given equal weight. To prove that you have done so, from your documentation, select examples that typify the employee’s results and desired behaviors. In your comments, mention timeframes, such as ‘Since first quarter, Mark has steadily improved ABC accuracy each month, moving from 88% in March, to 90% in April, to 92% in May.’  Or, ‘During June, July, and August, Sherrie was Team Leader for ABC Accuracy.’
  2. A performance deficiency in one area has not obscured good performance in another area and vice versa. Employees are more apt to be receptive to constructive feedback when appreciative feedback is also provided. That is, effective Performance Appraisals ‘give credit where credit is due.’
  3. Any comparison of the employee to others in the group has been eliminated.  Never put another employee’s name in an employee’s Performance Appraisal. It is fine, however, to compare the employee’s results to the team’s or region’s average or to mention that the individual is the leader in a particular area.
  4. There are No Surprises. Keep the employee, the next level manager, and Human Resources informed about the employee’s performance and development. Communicate both appreciative and constructive feedback ongoing to the employee. Only that which has already been communicated (and documented) should be included in the Performance Appraisal.


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