Standardize performance reviews by skill set to ensure an unbiased appraisal, and consider creating a form to collect fair and accurate information.

The Perfect Form

The first element of a reliable review form isn’t any of its assessment categories; it’s the employee’s job description. As with any other analysis, an assessment is only effective if the reviewer and reviewee understand the expectations. For performance reviews, you find these expectations in the employee’s job description.

Using the job description also limits role confusion. Managers and employees often need a reminder of what job is being performed, particularly if the worker’s responsibilities have expanded during his or her tenure.

Ample Assessment Categories

Once you’ve defined the employee’s job, decide on assessment categories. These should be relatively broad characteristics that apply to the specific occupation as well as all roles within a particular skill set. If you can narrow down a set of four to six categories your division uses, you have a good set of characteristics.

While assessment categories can use general labels on the forms, have a strict definition. Otherwise, these groups are subject to interpretation. While managers will have to make some assumptions, forms aim to reduce the need for judgment calls.

Reliable Rating Scales

After defining your categories, consider rating scales. These should be as nuanced as possible to outline levels of performance. While the labels for different ratings can be subjective, the categories should be as objective as possible. Employees need to understand how they can achieve a particular rating.

Notable Achievements

Quality assessment forms include places to note any achievements attained during the year. These aren’t limited to project completion or matters directly associated with job performance. Consider honoring training or professional association credentials, which are valuable commodities in the business world.

This section should also highlight goals. While personal ambitions are one of the last parts of a review, they need to be noted. Like achievements, these should be linked to business performance but don’t have to openly involve an employee’s duties. These can include behavioral or conduct changes that will improve the worker’s ability to perform his or her job.

An Area for Feedback

Feedback is often omitted from an appraisal form, but it’s a critical component. The employee should have a chance to detail what he or she thinks about the organization and his or her performance. Appraisals should be treated like an evaluation, not a one-way critique. Including a feedback section on the form gives your employee a chance to feel valued and could offer you some important insight about the company that you might have overlooked.

The Full Assessment

The final element is the overall assessment itself. Review forms need to be related to all other evaluation tools and shouldn’t come as a surprise. Make sure the employee understands the factors affecting his or her rating and that they’re easily explainable. Perhaps the best way to show a final assessment is by using the same scale as the category rating.

Above all, your form needs to be understandable. Category labels may need further explanation, but they should be relevant to your business. If any element is causing confusion, change it. Otherwise, your forms will just cause frustration – not enlightenment. Find out more about crafting the perfect interview questions with one of our eBooks.