Is There An Ideal Performance Appraisal Form?

Yes. While the specific design and construction of the form varies from one organization to another, five elements should appear in every performance appraisal form:

1. Organizational core competencies

2. Job family competencies

3. Key job responsibilities

4. Projects and goals

5. Major achievements

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1. Organizational Core Competencies. One of the hallmarks of an up-to-date, ‘‘best practice’’ performance management system is that it includes specific competencies that the organization expects all of its members to display. Competencies is the umbrella term that is used for all of the elements of performance that correlate with superior job execution and are predictive of success in organizational life. The term competencies includes behaviors, skills, traits, technical knowledge, proficiencies, attributes, and abilities. Organizational core competencies are the ones that the organization expects of everyone who picks up a paycheck, regardless of his job or her organizational level. Communication skills and results orientation might be core competencies that the organization has identified that it expects everyone in the company to demonstrate at a superior level.

2. Job Family Competencies. Although there may be hundreds of different jobs within one company, there are only a small number of job families. For example, managerial/supervisory, sales, professional/ technical, and operations all are job families. Financial analyst, lawyer, computer programmer, and translator are very different jobs, but all of them are part of the professional/technical job family. Similarly, a second shift foreman and the senior vice president of marketing are both members of the managerial/supervisory job family.

Conceptual thinking and technical expertise might be competencies assessed of everyone in the professional/technical job family, while the competencies of people development and motivating subordinates might only show up on the form used for employees in the managerial/supervisory job family. Some competencies may be included as assessment items in several job families. For example, interpersonal skills might be a competency that is important for success in every job family.

3. Key Job Responsibilities. The competencies part of the appraisal form focuses on how the person goes about doing the job—the skills and proficiencies and attributes she demonstrates. The key job responsibilities section of the appraisal form focuses more specifically on what the individual is expected to do. If the organization has well-constructed job descriptions, these key responsibilities appear on each person’s job description. More frequently, the language in the job description is less specific than is useful for performance appraisal purposes. In this case, the manager and the individual determine what the individual’s key job responsibilities are during the performance-planning discussion.

4. Goals and Projects. These are the individual’s activities that are beyond the specific tasks and duties outlined on a job description. For example, the key job responsibilities of a person holding the job of order-entry analyst will be the same no matter how many order-entry analysts there are, where they are located, or how long they have been in the position. But different order-entry analysts may have very different goals and may be assigned to work on significantly different projects.

5. Major Achievements. Every performance appraisal form should require the manager to identify the major accomplishments that the individual was responsible for over the course of the year. This section is frequently the place where the connection is made between the individual’s performance and the organization’s mission or vision and values.