It’s annual performance appraisal time for the management team at my agency. Time to think about rating scales and SMART goals. And time to try to remember what everybody did all year. Many managers dread this time of year. In the past I have felt that way, too. Over time I have found a few strategies that help make the task less daunting and more effective.
The thing I used to find most challenging was creating goals for the next performance period. Then a new supervisor asked me to create my own goals for the next year. Mind blown. After I submitted them she helped me tailor them to align to agency work. Not only was I able to work on things that interested me more, but I was also able to have greater impact in my work. I have implemented this strategy with my own team at performance appraisal time. It takes some of the pressure off when writing performance appraisals and I know my team will be doing work that engages them throughout the year.
Keep up the spirit of partnership all year. Schedule a regular one on one meeting with everyone on your team. Even when schedules get crazy and projects overwhelming do your best to keep them or reschedule if necessary. Discuss more than just ongoing work tasks at these meetings.
My final strategy for easing the process of writing a performance appraisal took some time to develop. I’ve tried spreadsheets, notebooks, hard files, regular reports. (Find what works for you!) In the end what has worked best for me is a simple one-page front and back document. SMART goals are listed for the year and then there is a small space for each month. I jot down simple notes when someone completes an assigned project, when someone knocks a presentation out of the park, and when someone receives negative feedback on work product.
I try to do this in real-time, but of course life sometimes has other plans. The key to making this strategy work is to set aside time each month to look back to make sure to document anything that may have gotten lost in the moment. It may sound time-consuming. However, the return on your investment of time will amaze you when you sit down to write someone’s performance appraisal. You will no longer have to agonize about what has happened in the past year because you already have a road map for your evaluation.
All too often we look at performance appraisal as the end of a year, a summary. However, when we flip our mindset to view them as a tool to improve communication with our teams, they become a beginning. They begin a new year with clear goals and a roadmap for ongoing communication and success.
This post was originally posted on GovLoop.com by Gabrielle Wonnell. Wonnell is part of the GovLoop Featured Contributor program, where we feature articles by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Contributor posts, click here.