What to Look for in an Employee Performance Appraisal System

Employee performance appraisals are a key element of the employee performance management process — particularly the performance review. Appraisals exist to provide feedback on individual performance, an opportunity to modify, change, or reward behavior, and to provide managers with the information they need to decide future job assignments and compensation increases.

But because appraisals are a key part of performance reviews, these appraisals must be accurate, consistent, relevant, and engaging. The old way of doing things may no longer be effective. So how can we make employee performance appraisals better?

What are Employee Performance Appraisals?

Employee performance appraisals use formal, written assessments, and a structured discussion to evaluate employee job performance and provide feedback from managers. Appraisals are documented and kept on file for reference in subsequent reviews to provide a formal space for recognition of a job well done or facilitate a conversation for improvement or adjustment.

Performance appraisals are a key part of any performance management strategy. Regular conversations about an employee’s job performance, engagement levels, contribution, and other key metrics that gauge job satisfaction and productivity help provide a space for two-way feedback, performance evaluation centered around job duties, and examination of compensation, bonus, or promotion opportunities.

These conversations also help strengthen the relationship between supervisors and employees, providing space for individuals to provide feedback on how well their own needs are being met. It’s an opportunity for managers to provide valuable constructive feedback that can drive performance and build A Players. Both managers and employees play a key function in these meetings so that both parties can leave the meeting with full buy-in on any improvements, changes, or increased responsibilities — and both have a firm understanding of where an individual stands based on a formal, documented assessment.

What are the Benefits of a Performance Appraisal System?

Regular employee performance appraisals are a good place to start, but using a performance appraisal system to organize, schedule, and manage the process can make performance management that much more meaningful and valuable. Here are a few ways the ClearCompany Performance Management solution facilitates better performance appraisals:

Documentation & Record: Self-assessments, general performance evaluations, and 360-degree peer reviews help prepare for feedback conversations and manage performance. Conversations, assessments, evaluations, and any commendations or plans for improvement are recorded for future reference.

Structure: Consistency is key. A performance appraisal system ensures that each employee receives a similar experience — person to person and appraisal to appraisal. Both managers and employees know exactly what awaits them, how it will go, and what to expect next time. Annual reviews, follow up conversations, and other regular meetings can be scheduled out, guaranteeing that time is carved out and prioritized.

Establish a Feedback Loop: It’s rare that an employee will address an issue in real-time, or that a manager will bring up a performance issue as it happens. ClearCompany allows for real-time feedback to facilitate better conversations and more open communication between individuals and their supervisors — strengthening relationships along the way.

Workforce Planning: Performance appraisals allow managers to see when an employee is up for promotion, has an increasing workload that needs help, or when someone is planning to change roles or move on. When paired with our Workforce Planning solution, managers can anticipate the needs that may come up in the future, allowing leadership to look forward and plan ahead.

We Want to Hear from You

If you had asked our HR experts what performance management would look like in 2020, they likely would have told you that peer feedback, shorter review cycles, and goal-setting would play a big part in effective performance reviews. What they wouldn’t have anticipated are the challenges that the shift to a remote workforce would bring to the review cycle.

So, we want to know, how has COVID-19 impacted your performance review season?

We’re feeling confident in our current process.

We took our process virtual for the first time.

We’re struggling to find solutions for this odd time.

How Do You Choose the Best Appraisal System?

What sets an employee performance appraisal system apart? Here are a few key features that ClearCompany provides to make performance appraisals the most effective and efficient method as possible:

Customization: Build exactly the performance appraisals you need for the best, most relevant review questions, process stages, and appraisal metrics. Select only what’s important to your employees and your business, eliminate the parts that don’t provide additional value so you can create the best, most streamlined appraisal system.

Goals & Alignment: Ensure your appraisals are productive by linking them to performance goals and aligning them with greater business goals and objectives. With goal tracking and alignment as part of your appraisal process, managers can steer the conversation to maximize effectiveness towards the common good.

Mobile Capabilities: Especially as we all continue to work remotely, it’s important that appraisals can be accessed as simply and conveniently as possible. Mobile-friendly reviews and communication throughout the appraisal process help make things go quickly and smoothly even when we’re away from our desks.

Analytics and Reporting: Track employee performance over time, across departments, and align to managers for a better, more holistic approach to reviewing employee performance. ClearCompany reporting helps managers and leadership distill performance appraisals into key insights that reveal greater performance drivers which can inform performance management and workforce planning strategies.

This article was originally published on the ClearCompany blog by Sara Pollock.




As a Digital Marketing and Events Manager for ClearCompany, Meredith coordinates best-practice content and brand-awareness events with HR practitioners.

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Meredith Wholley

Meredith Wholley

As a Digital Marketing and Events Manager for ClearCompany, Meredith coordinates best-practice content and brand-awareness events with HR practitioners.

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