The overall performance of an organization largely depends on the output of its employees, either individually or collectively. In regards to this fact, performance reviews are widely gaining recognition and relevance as vitally important documents for staff management. Performance appraisals have been adapted for use in various situations- for instance monitoring employee performance, to serve as a basis to acknowledge success and achievement, to evaluate credulity of candidates lined up for promotion, and as an input for determining training, placement or recruitment needs. In addition performance reviews provide an opportunity for employees to give employers constructive feedback and to identify organizational deficiencies that can be corrected.
When carried out properly, the review process can enhance performance and boost staff morale. On the other hand, if implemented poorly, the evaluation process can result in a profoundly negative effect on staff morale and can even lead to employee unrest. Also, it can result in contradictions in information recorded in other important employee documents; this can be costly in case of a legal tussle with the employee.
Why Performance Reviews are Prone to Contradictions?
As indicated earlier in the uses of performance reviews, it is evident that a performance review for a certain function might work against other functions. Take for example if the purpose of the evaluation is to detect poor performance, then the criteria and documentation may not be similar to that adopted for other purposes, like performance review for promotion. These contradictions stem from the nature and purpose of the performance review. However, due diligence should be taken to ensure that contradictions are avoided at all costs since performance reviews are also a legal document.
In order to avoid creating unnecessary contradictions, performance reviews should be conducted under some stipulated guidelines to facilitate standardization. Some of these guidelines include:
1. Adopt a Standardized Evaluation Template
In order to avoid deviations and contradictions employers should enact a company performance review policy. This policy will act as the guidance from which evaluators will conduct reviews. The policy should also indicate the frequency and manner in which the evaluations will be conducted to give employees an overview of what to expect.
2. Assign the Task to a Trained Reviewer
Given the importance of the performance appraisal to company growth, and by extension survival, the reviewer should be an individual with firsthand knowledge of the employee’s performance. In addition, the reviewer should be trained to offer clear, objective, timely and accurate reviews. Other salient features of a great reviewer include a person who is beyond reproach and nonpartisan in judgment. The reviewer should also be made aware of the legal implications surrounding the review process. For instance the reviewer can be charged for slander, libel or invasion of privacy if he/she publishes or leaks information of an employee obtained during the review.
3. Employee Background Research
Before carrying out any new evaluation, the reviewer should spend some time revisiting all documents and records pertaining to the employee’s productivity, performance, and behavior. The reviews should also include, but not be limited to, the employee’s self-evaluation reports, sales records, time cards, productivity reports, budget reports and compliance reports. Upon reviewing these documents the reviewer should draft an evaluation report that should accompany the performance appraisal.
In summary, performance reviews should be objective and concise in order to benefit both the employer and employee, and most importantly to avoid contradictions. Contradictions that arise out of performance reviews can be mitigated if company policy guidelines that spell out the procedure and protocol of how the performance reviews should be carried out are formulated and implemented. All in all, contradictions should be avoided at all costs since it may result in a costly legal settlement.