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Best Practice: Performance Appraisal

Best Practice: Performance Appraisal

Definition And Example:
The system by which a formal written review of an employee’s work performance is provided. 

Performance appraisals are important documents in an employee folder.  They will serve as useful tools in making appropriate business decisions (ie: promotions, salary adjustments, terminations, etc.).  Therefore, it is important that appraisals be on target and accurately written.


  • Ensures formal communication throughout year.
  • Opens up communication lines between supervisor and employee.
  • Provides the employee with a better sense of direction regarding work priorities, needs.
  • Provides for employers to “touch base”, see where employee is at a point in time, re-direct employee energies if need be or provide assistance to employee to reach goals.
  • Serve as a useful tool regarding employee actions (ie: determining salary adjustments, promotions, employee dismissals, etc.)
  • Provides employee with a sense of recognition, feeling that his/her work and contributions are seen and valued.
  • Provides employee with a fresh set of targets, goals to shoot for in the coming weeks/months.

Our Performance Appraisal process has 3 steps.  These are:
1) Goals and Objectives
2) Mid-year review
3) Year-End Evaluation

The first step, Goals and Objectives, should take place at the start of the appraisal period.  For those of us who work on a calendar year for salary adjustments, that would mean in January.  This step requires that an employee meet with his/her supervisor and draft several goals to be met in the coming year.  These goals are to be mutually agreed upon.  Further, the goals are to have several traits in order to ensure that they are clear.  These goals are to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant to the employee’s area of responsibility and time-based (ie: to be achieved by June 30th or year-end for example).

The second step is the Mid-Year review.  Again, assuming we are working with a calendar year, this mid-year review will take place in the June/July time frame.  It is a formal meeting at which the employee and supervisor meet to discuss the current status of the employee’s agreed upon goals and objectives set earlier in the year.  Are they on schedule to be completed?  Does the employee need additional guidance or assistance to help achieve desired goals?  Are goals still realistic 6 months into the appraisal period or do these need to be tweaked or even changed entirely? The mid-year is a time to meet and ensure that all is on course or to mutually agree to change course if need be….

Finally, the third and final step is the Year-End review.  This is also a formal meeting at which the supervisor is asked to document if the employee’s goals have in fact been met for the year…..the year-end review is an extremely important document in the employee file and will serve as back-up for job actions taken such as salary increases, promotions, perhaps terminations, etc.

People Involved:
Employee and supervisor.  Also, it is recommended with new managers especially, that a copy of their performance appraisal drafts be shared with their Division Director or the HR Director prior to being given to the employee.  One must be extremely careful to write reviews appropriately, not mislabel, misrepresent or write something that is in fact discriminatory.  


  • Again, our recommendation is that formal reviews occur 3 times per year and that informal reviews and feedback occur throughout the year.
  • Goals and Objectives should be set at the start of the year (January).
  • Mid-year reviews may be conducted in the June/July period depending on work priorities.
  • Year-end reviews should take place in December of each year.
  • Again, this assumes that the performance appraisal period coincides with the calendar year.  If not, the timing of these 3 steps may be adjusted accordingly.

No cost involved.

Other Considerations:
The only thing worse that no written performance appraisal in an employee file is an inaccurate appraisal in an employee file.  All employees have strengths and areas to improve upon/areas of challenge.  It is key to accurately list both.  Being the “good guy” and writing appraisals which are not accurate reflections of job performance may be hazardous to your company’s health.  Be accurate, be professional---no surprises.

Dario Otero, HR Director, USTA - 914-696-7207

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