Writing performance appraisal involves creating a document which has the summary of the every employee’s performance over a period of time and a snapshot of their observed strengths and weaknesses, and the rater’s feedback that can be used for other purposes.

Writing Performance appraisal depend significantly on the writer’s various abilities and a combination of other factors. A rater or a manager needs

An objective rating method to assess an employee’s performance, behavior, and skills and knowledge.
All the relevant data related to the employee’s performance, the standards, his job description.
To observe and accurately recall the employee’s behavior throughout the time period of the appraisal.

Using meaningful, unambiguous and clear language for the description in the document.

Steps of Writing Performance Appraisals:

Performance elements A performance element is a general description of an employee’s overall responsibility in a particular area of work.

Performance elements are basically the job description of the employee clearly describing the roles and responsibilities expected from him.

Performance standards Performance standards are the expected or the desired level of the tasks to be accomplished by the employee.

Actual performance This section records the data of the actual performance of the employee, his accomplishments, successes and failures, his on-the-job performance, his strengths and weaknesses.
Plans for employee development The developmental requirements (the training needs) felt or found by the appraiser for the employee.

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An overall rating
An overall rating for the employee’s overall performance like satisfactory performance, unsatisfactory performance, requires improvement etc.

Common Errors in Writing Performance Appraisals:

Halo effect: Halo effect is the tendency of the rater to allow one aspect of a man’s character to influence his overall rating of the employee.

Central tendency Central tendency is the tendency of the rater to give average ratings to the employee without actually appraising or condemning them.

Recent behaviour (the pitchfork effect) As per the human nature, it is a common tendency to rate the people on the basis of their moat recent behaviour and forgetting the events and their performance in the starting of the period.

Stereotyping an employee on the basis of the performance of his/her team is another common error.

Therefore, with proper preparation, training and effort, writing appraisals can be converted from a time consuming activity into a meaningful activity for the employee and the organization.