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How Many Different Forms Should There Be?

In most cases, there should be one form for each job family in the organization. The organizational core competencies will be the same on every form, since everyone in the company is held accountable for meeting them. The job family competencies will vary with each of the different job families: managerial/supervisory, clinical, operations, administrative, sales, etc. The sections on key job responsibilities and goals and projects will be the same on every form, since these are essentially blank where the actual information about the person’s responsibilities and goals is written in.

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It may be necessary, in unusual cases, to develop a unique form for a specific job that is both critical to the organization’s success and significantly different from all other jobs in the company. For example, a company whose business was developing and managing apartment complexes created a special performance appraisal form for its resident managers because resident managers were the single most important factor in tenant satisfaction. A national food processing company created two unique forms, one for route salespeople and one for district sales managers, the salesmen’s bosses. A third form was used by everyone else in the company.

Here’s the opposite situation: The implementation team at Harford Community College decided that they would have only one performance appraisal form that would be used to evaluate the performance of everyone in the college, from the president to the groundskeeper. Their rationale was that they wanted to reinforce the importance of developing a ‘‘we’re all on the same team’’ mentality. Having one form for everyone supported that purpose.

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In general, less is more. The more forms there are, the more administrative headaches will grow. Each additional form will increase geometrically the amount of administrative burden in managing the system.