How to Write Appraisal Form Comments: 4 Quick Tips


how to write appraisal form commentsWhat we write on the performance appraisal form really matters to our employees. How to write appraisal form comments that clearly and accurately reflects the appraisal meeting discussion and satisfy our employees is not exactly the easiest job is it? Here are 4 quick tips on how to write appraisal form comments that you may find helpful

How to Write Appraisal Form Comments Tip 1: Make great notes

It’s really important to our employees that what you write is an accurate representation of your discussion in the meeting. Unless you’ve got an exceptionally good memory this means you will need to make some detailed notes during the meeting

Some managers are a little uncomfortable with the idea of taking detailed notes in case it slows down or breaks the flow of the meeting. My view is that note taking is a good way of pacing down the meeting – ensuring that you and your employee really have time to think

You might want to explain to your employee that you’ll need to take some time during the meeting to take notes. When you explain that this is because you want the appraisal form comments to be a clear and accurate record of your discussion, more often than not they’ll be very happy

How to Write Appraisal Form Comments Tip 2: If you haven’t discussed it, don’t write it

The performance appraisal form is not the place to write about issues that you did not discuss with your employee in the meeting. You might wish you had mentioned that the employee could improve the way they work with clients – but if you didn’t discuss it, then please don’t write it (and if you think ‘nobody would do that would they?’ then I can tell you – yes they would!)

How to Write Appraisal Form Comments Tip 3: Write about what your employee has done

Resist writing comments like ‘always goes the extra mile’ or ‘works well in the team’ Why? Because those comments don’t mean anything – they don’t describe what the employee has actually done, they are simply your subjective opinion

Instead, write about actions and give examples. Such as;

Showed a willingness to contribute above and beyond their agreed objectives by taking on the co-ordinators role in the XY project

Demonstrates that they identify when other team members need help or assistance and offers that help and assistance, for example when volunteering to train a new team member in the AB system

When we write about actions with examples our comments are factual, objective and unbiased – which is exactly what employees want

How to Write Appraisal Form Comments Tip 4: Use your employee’s comments

If you help your employee prepare well for the performance appraisal meeting they will bring with them a whole bunch of information about

• How they have performed against the agreed objectives

• Their views on performance objectives

• Their areas for development

And so on

Providing you agree with your employee’s comments, why not use as many of theirs as you can in the appraisal form? In the same way as reflecting back what you have heard in a conversation lets the other person know you understand and respect their point of view, so does (with their agreement) using their written work

Some managers ask their employee to complete a draft of the appraisal form which can work well. A quick word of warning here; don’t only use your employee’s comments (i.e. by simply cutting and pasting their draft form into yours) – it can look like laziness. Employees want your comments on the form, so look for a balance between the two – your comments and theirs

(Read more on how to help your employee prepare for the appraisal meeting )

How to write appraisal form comments – Summary

Applying a few simple techniques – such as the ones above – can help make it easier for you write performance appraisal form comments that are useful and meaningful. The type of comments our employees want and need

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