The UC Davis Health System carries out its mission through the individual and collective contributions of its employees. To do their best, staff members need to know that those contributions will be recognized and acknowledged. Overseeing performance and providing feedback is not an isolated event, but rather an ongoing process that takes place throughout the year. The performance appraisal is part of that process, and provides an excellent opportunity for you to communicate with the employee about past performance, evaluate the employee's job satisfaction and make plans for the employee's future performance.
Remember that the performance appraisal summarizes the employee's contributions over the entire appraisal period (usually one year). It is not a step in the disciplinary process. It may occur as often as you believe is necessary to acknowledge the employee for accomplishments and to plan together for improved performance.
The goal of the performance appraisal process is to help the employee feel:
- Positive about the job
- Motivated to do well and to develop
- Benefited by specific, constructive feedback
- Appreciated for specific contributions
- Informed about current and future performance objectives
- Involved as a participant in the process
Preparing for the appraisal
Both you and the employee play an important role in creating a productive performance appraisal process. Here are some suggestions to get the employee involved:
- Schedule a mutually convenient time and place for the performance appraisal discussion. Allow enough time and ensure privacy.
- Explain that you would like the discussion to be a dialog, with input from both of you included in the final written document.
- Give the employee some options about how to prepare for the discussion. For example, ask the employee to prepare a self-evaluation using the same form you will use for your draft. The employee can address accomplishments and things that could be done better. Explain that you will be doing the same and that you may exchange these documents a few hours before your meeting
- Give the employee a list of questions to consider to evaluate his own performance. Sample questions might be: What have been your major accomplishments? What could you have done better? What could I do as your supervisor to help you do your job better? Would you like to see your responsibilities change? If so, how?
- Prepare a draft appraisal, making sure you have as much information as possible, including: job description, performance standards, previous appraisals, letters of commendation and/or criticism, samples of work, and records of disciplinary action.
- Consider the question, What can I do to help the employee do the job better and achieve developmental goals?
Conducting the appraisal discussion
Continue the momentum you have established throughout the year with your ongoing dialog about performance. You want to set the tone for an open and productive discussion. Here are some steps you can take to make it as successful as possible:
- Create a supportive environment by stating clearly the purpose of the discussion. Be as non-threatening and open as possible since the employee may be tense or uncomfortable.
- Discuss key areas of responsibility and give examples of specific results. Have the employee go first, based on the self-appraisal or the questions you provided in advance. Ask lots of questions and get clarification to make sure you understand the employee's point of view.
- Discuss what could have been done better. Identify your concerns and listen to the employee's explanations.
- Ask your employee for help in resolving problems. Focus on future performance and be sure the employee takes responsibility for improvement.
- Make sure you and the employee have the same understanding of future expectations regarding performance.
- Give positive recognition for performance that reinforces the goals of the work unit.
- Discuss the employee's interests and potential new responsibilities. Discuss both of your roles in achieving new objectives while maintaining ongoing responsibilities.
- Conclude on a positive note, emphasizing the benefits of your dialog.
The final appraisal document
Record the results of your discussion on the performance appraisal form. Ask the employee to sign the form, and explain that this signature acknowledges discussion of the contents, not necessarily agreement with them. Route to your manager for final signatures and placement in the employee's departmental personnel file. Give a copy of the signed appraisal to the employee.