How to Write Performance Appraisal Comments

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When done well, employee performance evaluations are a useful tool for improving performance. Unfortunately, poor evaluation techniques can lead to unfair evaluations, employee resentment and even lawsuits, according to Frank & Breslow P.C. In order to be useful, evaluations must be factual, unbiased and based on criteria known by both the evaluator and the employee. Evaluations don't work to improve performance when employees feel that they are done arbitrarily. It is also important to perform evaluations on a regular basis if you want employees to take them seriously.

Use only the established criteria when evaluating an employee’s performance. Businesses should have clear expectations and standardized criteria for determining whether or not an employee has met these standards.

Restrict comments to one evaluation criterion at a time and consider each criterion individually. Frank & Breslow P.C. point out that when an employee is weak in one area, it is easy to assume she is weak in others and vice versa.

Stick to facts and neutral language when drafting employee appraisal comments. It is more accurate and less inflammatory to note that an employee has been late ten days out of 30, than it is to say that the employee is “always late.”

Consider the employee’s performance over the entire review period. Don’ let one memorable incident, god or bad, taint your appraisal of the employee’s performance over the course of an entire year.

Ignore an employee's past reviews, like-ability and length of employment when writing your review comments. Focus only on how well the employee performed during the current review period.

Provide an opportunity for the employee to review your final written review. The employee should be asked to sign the review and given an opportunity to make his own written comments prior to doing so.

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