Do My Performance Appraisals Capture Key Performance Criteria?

February 14th, 2007 | By Jules Halpern Associates | Employee Performance, Employee Relations, Human Resources

Performance appraisals are used to increase employee motivation, improve business efficiency, reward effective job performance, clarify and define job functions and responsibilities, and bring deficiencies in performance to an employee‘s attention. Whether or not these goals are met depends on whether your performance appraisal is asking the right questions. The performance appraisal should effectively reflect an employee‘s business performance, functional/technical proficiency and interpersonal effectiveness. Sample questions can include whether the employee exercises good judgment in making decisions, knows the equipment and tools related to his/her individual job requirements, and participates willingly in projects beyond his/her normal job responsibilities. Questions should examine the extent to which the employee fulfills his/her individual responsibilities within job parameters in an accurate and professional manner, accepts accountability for the completion of work objectives and exercises good judgment in making decisions.

Likewise, your appraisal should allow for additional comments to be made concerning an employee’s key strengths, accomplishments, and objectives for the future. Your appraisal should also be filled out accurately and honestly so that if there are critical issues, they are addressed and documented.

Do my managers have the proper skills to perform their jobs effectively?

Oftentimes, managers are former staff members who were promoted due to their technical expertise and length of service. Often they need coaching to develop solid management skills. Managers should be able to effectively delegate responsibility and empower their employees to make decisions. This involves a balancing act — the manager must understand the pressures that cause them to avoid delegating and the benefits that they can achieve by doing so. Managers should also provide employees with feedback. This can include giving an employee praise, advice and/or corrective feedback. Corrective feedback should always be specific, provided without delay, and given in a calmly fashion. Managers should then follow up on this feedback, watching for improvement and acknowledging the employee when such improvement is seen.

Finally, your managers should know how to properly handle and document employee discipline. Managers should apply discipline consistently. All employees who engage in the same type of conduct should be treated the same. Ensuring that your managers are properly trained makes your job that much easier. We offer a 90-minute customized management skills training class that covers these issues and other topics for developing proper management skills.

Does my company handle employee terminations properly?

Terminations are a sensitive and often stress-inducing topic for the average employer. There are, however, certain steps which you can take in order minimize both your stress and legal liability when firing an employee. Whenever you plan on terminating an employee, you should document that employee?s performance over a course of time to support your decision. It is helpful to check with Halpern Employment Law Advisors to ensure that the reasons are strong and will withstand any discrimination claims. You should properly plan the termination beforehand by scripting out what you want to say to the employee, making sure you are able to briefly and succinctly enumerate all the reasons for the termination. You should also always have another employee at the management level or higher witness a termination.

Finally, different states have different laws regarding what and when to pay terminated employees. In New York, for example, an employee who quits or is terminated must receive his/her final paycheck (plus vacation pay if provided by company policy) by the next payday. In California, however, an employee who quits must be paid all wages (including paid vacations) within three days of termination, or at once if the employee gave three days notice. Likewise, an employee in California who is terminated must be paid at termination.

Jules Halpern Associates LLC

Workplace and Education Law Advisors

Jules Halpern Associates LLC
JULES HALPERN ASSOCIATES LLC is a boutique law firm committed to serving our clients in all facets of their workplace issues. We provide personalized, practical advice that resonates with our clients’ business objectives.
1225 Franklin Ave, Suite 200 Garden City NY 11530 516-466-3200
45 Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 2000 New York NY 10111 212-786-7380
Jules Z. Halpern


Long Island Office
1225 Franklin Ave | Suite 325
Garden City, New York 11530
tel: 516.466.3200 | fax: 212.658.9313

New York City Office
45 Rockefeller Plaza | Suite 2000
New York, New York 10111
tel: 212.786.7380 | fax: 212.658.9313

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