Tips for Performance Appraisal
To minimize exposure to employee litigation, employers should develop a checklist of items that are necessary for the enforcement of fair, consistent and legally sound performance appraisal systems.
- Apprise employees of performance standards in advance. When a new employee is hired or when new standards are adopted, supervisors should amend job descriptions and performance evaluation forms and copies should be given to all affected employees.
- Document all performance problems regularly on appropriate appraisal or progressive discipline forms. Provide the employee with a copy immediately. A precise format for conducting an evaluation leads to more thorough, accurate recording of information. Informality, on the other hand, may lead to claims of discrimination.
- Provide employees with relevant feedback. Vague, generalized or subjective evaluations may lead to litigation.
- Promptly evaluate nonproductive employees. When managers tolerate an employee with a performance problem for months and then suddenly give him/her a negative evaluation and terminate him/her, the employee may claim that the action was arbitrary or discriminatory and may be able to show that no opportunity for improvement was given.
- Give the employee an opportunity to comment on or dispute the performance appraisal. This will support the fact that you provided the employee with notice.
- Train supervisors how to evaluate employee performance and how to administer the company's appraisal system.
- Establish a review audit system to prevent manager bias or personal feelings from impacting on the appraisal.
- Develop written policy statements approving only a specified procedure for conducting appraisals.
- Document through performance files as well as job-related testing, rating systems, appraisal forms and signed memoranda.