Professionals who have worked in various companies know that every single one expects their employees perform to certain standards. This means that employees should perform at a level that will allow them to keep their jobs so they will get rewarded for their efforts.
This is the reason why those in charge of evaluating employees need to send out appraisal letters in order to show these employees whether they’re doing a good job, or if they need to work harder. This article will focus on helping you write a proper appraisal letter that will inform an employee about his or her work performance.
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How to write a performance appraisal letter
Performance appraisals, or performance reviews, are what one uses in order to evaluate an employee’s performance at his or her job. And a performance appraisal letter is a document where you place the results of this evaluation in writing. While it’s the job of the manager to appraise the performance of employees, they’ll also be asking the employees to appraise themselves so that more information can be made available. So whether you’re writing an appraisal letter for yourself or for evaluating an employee, learning how to write one can help clarify everyone’s roles within the business. So here are the steps that should be able to help you make a proper performance appraisal letter.
For preparing to review an employee’s performance
- Update the position’s description. Before you start reviewing an employee’s performance, you should go over his or her job description. If the position’s requirements or functions have not been updated, then it’s up to you to do so. The reason for this is because it would be unfair for the employee should he or she be evaluated with an outdated position description and expectations.
- Identify the employee’s expectations through his or her position based on the position’s roles/functions. You should be able to review the performance functions of the employee’s position. By knowing these different functions, you’ll be able to easily identify what you should expect out of the employee while he or she is working for your company in a specific position.
- Go through last year’s performance appraisal. As you’re preparing to assess your employee’s performance over the past year, it’s important that you remember and review how you appraised your employee the year before. There might have been a couple of things that the employee has improved on since then, or the employee might have even gotten worse from the previous year. Either way, you should know where the employee currently stands in your company. So if the employee has been with you for a long time, then go over his or her performance reviews and look at all the comments the reviewers had to say about the employee.
- Document all of the work that the employee has done for your company. Take note of everything that the employee has achieved and how he or she was able to do it. You have to do this even if it’s something that the employee did which negatively affected your company. Your review has to be as objective as possible and should be based on measurable results. So whether the employee commits an infraction or if he or she was rewarded for outstanding performance, always document it so that the information you place in your appraisal letter is accurate.
- Get feedback from both the employee and the employee’s co-workers. This is a big part of the process as you’re going to need employee feedback from the employee’s co-workers and the very employee that you’re handing out the appraisal letter to. With this kind of information, you’ll be able to get the feel for how the employee feels about his or her position, as well as how the employee’s co-workers feel regarding how he or she is performing and acting within the workplace. So you should ask questions regarding how the employee is able to handle working independently or with others, areas that the employee thinks he or she needs to improve on, and comments regarding how the employee’s co-workers feel.
For evaluating an employee’s performance
- Before you begin writing your appraisal letter, you’re going to need to choose the right appraisal format. Dong this will help you decide the best way to review the employee’s work. There are three common ways which will allow you to organize and structure your appraisal. The first one is the open-ended method wherein you use a rating scale to determine whether an employee has done a good job or not. The second is the structured response method that consists of a series of questions possessing a set of performance parameters that you’re going to have to fill in based on the employee’s performance. And lastly, there’s the checklist method that a lot of managers use because it possesses a list of performance appraisals and numerical rankings of how an employee performs within different categories.
- Consider the things that the employee actually achieved. It can be very easy for you to confuse actual accomplishments with activities. What you should know is that employee activities are what employees do every day simply by coming to work while accomplishments are the results of an employee’s activities and hard work. So as you assess an employee’s performance, you’re going to have to distinguish between the employee doing his or her job and what he or she has actually achieved to benefit you and your company. Praise the employee for the good work that he or she has done and remind those employees who are under-performing of your company’s standards and the consequences should performance still be low after a period of time.
- Justify your evaluation. An appraisal letter should be able to provide specific feedback on areas that the employee has to improve on. Not only that, but it should also address the areas that the employee has been doing well in and provide encouragement to the employee to be able to improve in just about every aspect to ensure that he or she is able to provide more quality work for you and your company.
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Tips for writing effective appraisal letters
Here are some tips that should be able to help you write appraisal letters that will allow you to properly convey all of the information that the employee needs to hear regarding his or her performance:
- The first thing that you’ll have to remember that this is a letter that should show professionalism. So you have to remember that the focus of this letter isn’t the employee’s personality, but rather how the employee is able to function in the workplace. So when you’re writing the letter, remember that you have to keep the tone as formal as possible to ensure that you focus mainly on the employee’s performance and nothing else.
- Remember that no matter how frustrated you may be with the employee, you have to keep the tone of the letter as formal and as polite as possible. You do not want to let your emotions get the better of you as you may just end up saying something that you’re going to regret and can no longer take back, leaving the employee with nothing but a negative image of you and the company. Just remember to keep calm to ensure that whatever you have written in your appraisal letter will be well-received by the employee.
- After doing the performance assessment and if you’re in the process of writing the letter, remember that it shouldn’t be too long. It has to be straight to the point and tell the employee if he or she has done a good job, or if there are a couple or a lot of areas that need to be improved immediately.
- Once you’re done writing the letter, it’s best that you go over it so that you can fix any grammar, spelling, or information errors. You can even ask a third party for help to ensure that the letter contains no mistakes.
If you would like to know more about appraisal letters and if you would like to create one yourself, then you can go through any of our available articles to help you get started.