Finding Gold in Staff Comments during Performance Appraisals

Everybody's commenting! Filtering staff performance appraisals for useful feedback

by Rod Dunne on August 12, 2011

in Creative, Human Side

You must have heard the myth that decries that the customer is the most important part of your business. Smart business owners/managers, and even less smart ones, have finally learned that their staff are the critical part of a firm.

Without a competent and well-trained staff, your business will lose customers fast.  Good ethical standards in business also means being fair & consistent when treating your staff. Your staff performance appraisal comments are a vital part of employee training, and there is an art to making those comments.

So, understanding what is good communication in workplace environments  really meant to be like is critical to YOUR success as a supervisor/manager.

Let me set the scene for you..

Your employee evaluations begin fairly simply. The manager or owner calls the employee into the office, makes him or her feel comfortable with some small talk and then the manager takes out an evaluation sheet that he or she has already filled out.

Then, the manager goes over the employee’s performance, step by step, reading the comments about the employee’s performance aloud to the employee and explaining the comments, what they mean and what is henceforth expected of the employee.

If they used sample/template performance review comments they found online then they made the mistake of not being considerate enough to customize for your context, role & situation.

Sound familiar? We’ve all felt this type of management by ambush!

This can be a daunting experience for employees. If your firm also performs 360-degree appraisals then it can turn out being daunting for the manager too when the employee gets the chance to ambush the boss via their management assessment forms!

By contrast, a good example of some small talk to set the employee at ease when called in for his or her employee review would be, “Hi, come on in, there are a few things I want to go over with You, so just get comfortable, this will only take a moment. Say, I saw the Dodger game last night, boy, they sure are playing awful right now…”

A poor example would be, “Hi, come in, but do not get too comfortable, because you are probably going to want to update your résumé after we get finished here. Anyway, it will only take a moment, because I have box seats for tonight’s game…”

Staff appraisal comments often highlight feedback and actions which can improve performance

The power of performance appraisal comments

As you can see, the comments you make to the employee before his or her review can be just as important as the staff performance appraisal comments, themselves. Now, when a skilled employer conducts an employee review, his or her employee performance appraisal comments are going to lead to one thing.

That is, you gain employees with a renewed sense of purpose and understanding of his or her job, and a stronger work ethic. This naturally causes more job productivity, happier customers, and an eventual pay raise for your employee, which will repeat the cycle in a positive manner.

Always try suggesting motivational/positive comments in a performance evaluation or appraisal which highlight your employees faults as well as their good work.

When the employer who is unskilled in communication conducts staff performance appraisal comments, it is also going to lead to one thing: a battle of wits, or sometimes fists!

REMEMBER: It is wise to realize that Your employees are like the goose, and Your customers are like the golden egg. Wise employers know they need to stroke the goose with constructive, tactful staff performance appraisal comments in order to keep the gold flowing.

Author Rod Dunne...

Blog owner and sole writer Rod DunneI am the owner and sole writer on This is my personal blog detailing troubleshooting tips for small businesses. Posts are based upon 2 decades in consultancy & innovation management within startups/maturing companies.

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