How To Use Performance Appraisals To Build Staff Success And Company Results


The annual performance appraisal is an opportunity to enhance employee performance and create greater success for the company and the individual. My intent is to explore how coaching skills can be used in creating a good performance appraisal experience for both the employee and the supervisor and how to keep good performance going throughout the year.

Performance appraisals are often dreaded by both the employee and the supervisor. Often the manager talks about issues that the employee didn't expect. With the manager as a coach and partner committed to the employee's success the environment can shift. The goal is to reframe the experience, creating a positive, goal oriented environment that thrives on success.

In using coaching type questions you have the opportunity to create powerful positive energy, find out what the gaps are and what the resources needed are.

When meeting with a staff member:

  • Be totally present
  • Tune into them and tune out everything else
  • See their greatness

Use Coaching Questions:

  • What's going right?
  • What makes it right?
  • How can we build on this success?
  • What is it that would be ideal
  • What are the challenges you are dealing with?
  • What resources do you need?
You, the supervisor become the coach--coaching for success. In creating a plan focused on success for the employee, the manager begins to shift the paradigm to one of employee and coach/partner. As supervisors, our role is build successful teams and we have to have successful team members in order to do that. If we focus on creating success we are more likely to create it. Focus on the positive, the solutions. What's going right, how do we create more of it? In working with teams I have found that when I focus on what they are doing well and how we do more of it we build on our success.

When we create goals that are measurable, we can measure them, and track their progress. If goals are soft, not measurable it becomes difficult to progress the plan or give any feedback. So, how do we make them measurable? Measurable is countable, how many, when, who?

Goals tie into the company vision and the employee's vision.

Goals Point to an exciting future. SMART Goals are positive, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bounded.

Annual goals are typically big. It's important to break them down into smaller steps. Make them doable and not overwhelming.

Building in accountability in your annual success plans is vital. How many performance appraisals have you had or have you done, that didn't get looked at until the next year?

Meet with staff regularly, reviewing the goals and creating new plans for the upcoming month. It's unfair to come at a staff person at the end of the year and say you didn't accomplish what we outlined in your plan. If it is never mentioned it gives staff the impression that it wasn't that important and they don't need to work on the goals outlined. Remember the goals outlined are focused on creating better results for the company. You want that. Focus on the plan.

At the monthly meeting spend time to:

  • Review the vision
  • Review the accomplishments (What's going right?)
  • Review the goals and score them: 60%; 85%
  • When a goal is falling short use coaching skills to help figure out what the problem is and how to change it.
Yes, you can accomplish some things just by writing down the goal, but the level of accomplishment is usually lower than what we want in our companies.

The monthly review of the PLAN gives you the opportunity to really check-in with staff and support them in developing success. It prevents the annual performance review dread. Staffs know you are invested in their success as well as that of the company. This is powerful. It develops you as a leader and partner of the staff member and lets you know where the focus needs to be. You have created a regular stream of communication-both ways that can only improve results.

Coach them to succeed!