Managing Performance Appraisal Issues

Managing Performance Appraisal Issues
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Performance Review Issues

Managing the employee appraisal process involves planning and coordination. Establishing a fair and consistent process requires companies to train all managers to conduct performance appraisals. By ensuring all managers rate employees according to corporate standards, employees can expect equal treatment. Using some basic tips, managers can avoid problems that cause difficulties later on.

Handling with Objectivity

Evaluating employees in an objective, fair way usually involves assessing employees on a numerical scale–for example, from 1 for no skills to 5 for advanced skills. Job categories typically cover job knowledge, such as the adherence to policies, procedures, and regulations as well as the quality of completed work. Performance appraisal issues include difficulty assessing an employee’s ability to plan or organize, use resources wisely, or creatively solve problems. This is because responses can be quite subjective based on the manager’s limited exposure to the employee’s work in the field. Managers, particularly if pay, promotion, or termination decisions are based on these ratings, must verify their ratings by personal observation, feedback from peers, and input from clients. Even this method can produce conflicting recommendations.

Contributing to Employee Development

Employees perform a range of services. For example, those in public service help others, such as supplying food, energy, and clean water, redeveloping urban areas, helping people function in productive and nonviolent lives, or providing quality health care to children and elderly citizens living in poverty. Ideally, performance appraisals help employees develop their skills so they can work more effectively with these clients and issues. Employees need to know what they need to change in their behavior, and a typical performance rating system seldom provides this level of detail. Coaching and mentoring geared towards the achievement of specific development objectives provide far better results, but lack of funding for this kind of employee support generally limits the availability.

Clarifying Criteria

Confusion and misunderstanding result if the criteria associated with ratings for skills and experience aren’t clearly defined. If each manager in the company interprets the criteria in a different way, employees with low ratings or rankings may claim personal biases. Keeping good records ensures that managers can validate their own position. For example, before rating an employee as undependable because of repeated absences from work, the manager should generate a report citing the number of absences incurred by the employee during a specific time period, such as the last month. Additionally, the manager needs to communicate to the employee the details about the number of unacceptable days out of the office. For example, employees working in public service typically need skills in leading or managing effectively across multiple sectors, which may be difficult to assess.


Avoiding performance appraisal issues involves establishing clear criteria for good performance and evaluating employees consistently. This requires training managers to assess employees in a fair manner. By clearly documenting behavior or performances issues, managers have the details needed to explain to an employee what went wrong and how to fix the problems to steer him back in the right direction.

References and Image Credit

  • Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Everaldo Coelho
  • Newcomer, Kathryn E.. Using performance measurement to improve public and nonprofit programs . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997.
  • State of Montana. “Professional Development Center - catalog.mcpx.” Professional Development Center - default.mcpx. (accessed December 21, 2010).