Performance Planning and Review: Making Employee Appraisals Work

By Richard Rudman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
DISCUSSING PERFORMANCE

The end-of-year interview is often an unpleasant experience for managers and employees, yet it remains the main focus of the performance planning and review process in many organisations. There is no doubt that people who are comfortable with one-to-one communication find the interview less stressful than those who are less confident communicators, but the basic reasons for the unpleasantness of the interview experience lie elsewhere. They are discussed in earlier chapters: the focus here is the communication process itself.

A few organisations persist with the practice of preparing written performance reviews which are then placed on the employee's file. Some tell the employee what the review contains, others don't. Some give the employee an opportunity to comment, others don't. Reviews that are restricted to one-way communication, or no communication at all, are not the subject here. Organisations that don't communicate their performance reviews to employees might be making future legal difficulties for themselves. More important, they should probably ask how a review can be expected to influence the performance or motivation of the employee if its contents are not communicated.

We'll assume that the organisation uses a one-to-one meeting between a manager and an employee as the vehicle for discussing the performance review, and that the employee is given some opportunity, and encouragement, to participate in the review. If we want employees to participate, it might be better to drop the term interview, with its connotations of one person asking and the other person answering questions, and call this meeting a performance discussion.

As with other aspects of its performance planning and review system, the organisation must first decide on the purpose of the performance discussion. Is it the occasion for managers to tell employees what judgments or appraisals have been made of their performance and contribution, and how they can improve? Or is it an opportunity for managers to share their views with employees and seek their responses? Or does the organisation want to involve employees in the assessment

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