Performance Management and Appraisal Definitions of Key Terms

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Performance Management & Appraisal Terms & Definitions & Glossary 

It's important to understand the various terms and methods used in performance management management and appraisals. Most of these aren't difficult to understand, but people often get confused about the meanings.


Documentation: The process of creating a paper trail to record data such as discussions had with employee, results of those discussions, both supervisor and employee comments, agreements between the two.


Effectiveness Enhancement System: An approach to performance management developed by Bacal & Associates and outlined in the book "Performance Management - Why Doesn't It Work" (see articles page). It's strength is that it recognizes that BOTH manager and employee need to define how performance is to be planned and evaluated. The employee becomes the "customer" of the process. Puts employee and manager on the same side.


Objectives or Results: Statements of what an employee is supposed to achieve. 


Ongoing Performance Communication :Communication between manager and employee all throughout the year to ensure that problems are identified early, and so there are NO SUPRPRISES during the performance appraisal. 


Performance Review :Usually refers to a meeting to review and evaluate performance, involving supervisor and employee. Often done once a year, but to be effective performance reviews, or at least informal meetings to discuss performance should be undertaken at least every few months.


Performance Appraisal  : The regular (usual annual) process where an employees performance for the year is assessed by manager and/or employee. It is only one part of the performance management approach. Usually means the same as "performance review".


Performance Diagnosis  : Often performance problems are a result of a number of factors, not just the fault of the employee. Performance management aims at improving performance, and to do so both manager and employee need to work together to identify barriers to great performance and work to overcome them. 


Performance Management : The larger process of defining what employees should be doing, ongoing communication during the year, linking of individual performance to organization needs, and the evaluating of appraising of performance. 


Performance Planning  : The process of communication between manager and employee that results in MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING of what the employee is to be doing during the next period of time. Often includes setting objectives and standards of performance.


Progressive Discipline : The process of addressing performance difficulties by first trying to help, then setting up increasingly strong consequences for failure to reach the desired levels of performance.


Ranking Scales : A way of evaluating staff by comparing them to each other, so there is a best, a second best, and so on. This is REAL SERIOUS TROUBLE, and almost always destructive. (see articles section for more information).


Standards of Performance : Mutually agreed upon criteria used to describe how WELL an employee must perform, written to reduce subjective judgement.