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Are There Any Other Elements That Could Be Included On A Performance Appraisal Form?

Yes. There are several other elements or sections that might be included in the performance appraisal form:

  • Demographic data
  • Instructions for completion
  • Attendance record
  • Development plans and goals
  • Approvals
  • Appraiser summary
  • Employee comments
  • Promotability and potential analysis
  • Signatures

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Demographic Data. Obviously the form must contain the name of the individual, the name of the appraiser, and the date of the appraisal. Besides these three components, there are several other pieces of demographic data that might appear on the front cover of the form, including:

  • Job title
  • Division/department/work unit identifier
  • Social Security number
  • Pay grade or salary classification
  • Evaluation period
  • Length of time the appraiser has supervised the individual
  • The individual’s start date with the organization
  • Reason for appraisal (e.g., regular annual, employee request, vol-
  • untary transfer, involuntary transfer, probationary)
  • Current salary and position in range
  • Date of midcycle performance review
  • Date of next scheduled appraisal

Instructions for Completion. Ideally, all appraisers would have the opportunity to attend a performance appraisal training program before using the system. Yet even if this is true, there is still a benefit to publishing a brief set of instructions as part of the form that guides the appraiser through the most important requirements of developing and delivering a performance appraisal.

Attendance Record. Attendance is primarily an issue with employees in the administrative, operations, and clinical job families. If attendance is a significant issue, the appraisal form might include a statement of the organization’s attendance expectation. For example:

Comes to work every day. Is fully prepared and ready to work at beginning of work schedule and continues until the work day is done. Makes appropriate arrangements when adverse weather or other problems might delay on-time arrival. Conforms to work hours and schedule. Notifies others immediately when unexpected problems cause absence, lateness, or the need to leave early.

If the expectation is clearly laid out in the performance appraisal, the supervisor may also be asked to indicate how frequently the employee demonstrates master-level performance: always/frequently/ sometimes/occasionally.

More important than the supervisor’s judgment about how good or bad the individual’s attendance record is are the actual attendance data themselves. The section on attendance should include sections for the following information to be entered:

  • Number of days absent in the past twelve months
  • Number of incidents of absence in the past twelve months
  • Number of days late in the past twelve months
  • Personal attendance percentage
  • Organizational (or departmental) attendance percentage

One of the great failings of most appraisal instruments is that they fail to ask for the exact data about the individual’s attendance record and instead merely ask for the supervisor’s judgment about the extent of the individual’s dependability.

If encouraging regular attendance is a significant issue for the organization, the use of a section similar to the above on the performance appraisal can dramatically highlight the urgency of the issue.

Hot Tip

Far more important than the number of days absent or late is the employee’s attendance percentage compared with the organizational (company or department or team) percentage. Assessing attendance in terms of the individual’s average absence rate greatly eases the burden of improving performance through coaching. The supervisor does not have to be concerned with the causes of absence or whether or not they were ‘‘excused.’’ He simply has to request that the individual so improve his or her record as to be just slightly above average—a most reasonable request.

Development Plans and Goals. Most forms have a section for recording the individual’s development plans; few of these are ever used well. If employee development is a serious concern of the organization, it should be addressed through a separate process and not just as an add-on to an already overly burdened form. If it is not a serious concern, eliminate any reference to development on the performance appraisal form. Development isn’t performance.

Approvals. Accepted best practice calls for the individual’s immediate supervisor to complete the assessment form including the final performance appraisal rating, then have it approved by the supervisor’s immediate superior. It may then be forwarded to human resources for review and approval, particularly if notice of compensation change accompanies the discussion of the appraisal and almost certainly if the raise requested is outside any guidelines that have been established. Once all approvals have been collected, the form is returned to the immediate supervisor, who then schedules the meeting with the individual to review the appraisal form itself.

By using this approach, upper managers are able to provide a check-and-balance function to make sure that their perceptions of the performance of individuals two or three levels down in the organization are shared by those who directly supervise those individuals. If there is a discrepancy, they can discuss and resolve it with the individual’s supervisor before the appraisal is discussed with the individual himself.

Advance approvals also give upper managers an insight into how their juniors go about the appraisal process. They are able to see how seriously they take it, how skilled they are in observing and recording performance, and how defensible their judgments about subordinates are. Finally, for inexperienced or semiskilled supervisors, the upper manager can provide coaching and guidance on how to conduct the appraisal discussion.

Appraiser Summary. In addition to asking the appraiser to identify the individual’s most important contributions at the end of the appraisal form, many organizations ask the supervisor to close the assessment by writing a narrative summary that distills all of the information into a pithy paragraph or two.

Employee Comments. A section for employee comments is an almost universal part of almost every performance appraisal form—and a very good idea. Whatever the person may write, from a legal defensibility standpoint the organization is better off since it demonstrates that the form was given to the employee and he or she was provided the opportunity to respond. Handwritten comments from a terminated appraisee preclude the individual from arguing that the form was placed in the file without the employee’s having seen it. Promotability and

Potential Analysis. Few organizations include an assessment of an individual’s potential or promotability on the form. Indicating promotability on the form is likely to create immediate expectations of advancement if the verdict is positive and discouragement if the employee discovers that the organization does not see him swiftly ascending the steps of the hierarchy. Indicating an assessment of an individual’s promotability may also lessen defensibility if a highly promotable individual ever turns sour, is discharged, and then challenges the termination.

Signatures. Every person who was involved in the preparation, approval, or review of the form should sign it.