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Shouldn’t The Individual’s Achievements Be Described Throughout The Appraisal Form?

The last part of the recommended performance appraisal form covers the individual’s major accomplishments over the course of the appraisal period. Shouldn’t the individual’s achievements be described throughout the appraisal form?

Yes. For anyone other than a marginal performer, the appraisal should place the emphasis on identifying and reinforcing the strengths the person demonstrated over the course of the appraisal period.

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There are two reasons for having a separate section at the end in which the appraiser is asked to identify a specific and small number of critical achievements by the individual over the course of the year. First, it forces the manager to actually think about what the individual’s most important achievements were. Most people in an organization do a good job. But what were the unique and particular contributions that Betty made over the course of the year that were head and shoulders above the rest of what she accomplished? It’s appropriate for managers to have to think specifically about that question and develop a limited number of answers.

Second, a section like this at the end of the form is an ideal place for the company’s mission statement, or its vision and values statement, and also for the most important contributions that the individual made to support that mission or demonstrate those values. For example, in the performance appraisal form of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the last section instructs appraisers as follows: ‘‘In the following section list the individual’s three to four most important achievements during the appraisal period. Consider what he or she did to help Mn/DOT develop a coordinated transportation network by safeguarding what exists, making the network operate better, and making Mn/DOT as a whole more effective/user-friendly/safe.’’ These words are lifted directly from Mn/DOT’s mission statement. Having them as the final appraisal element reinforces the importance of the agency’s mission and makes a close connection between Mn/ DOT’s reason for existence and its performance expectations of all its employees.