A woman recently told me this story, and I pass it along to attendees in my Managing the Performance Appraisal Process workshops. Here’s her story:

“I was looking forward to my Performance Appraisal meeting. I get to express things I like about my job, and my frustrations. I put a lot of value in the meeting. Five minutes into the Performance Appraisal meeting, someone knocked on the door, and my manager told me that she needed to cut this meeting short, and if there was anything else I wanted to say to just let her know later. I felt it was my half hour, and she cut me off. It was such a let-down. It wasn’t important to her. It wasn’t as important to her as it was to me.”

Don’t let this happen to you and your employee! Hold performance appraisal meetings in a neutral location (conference room), and stay FOCUSED on the employee. No making phone calls, no allowing people to stop by to talk with you, and no checking emails. The message you want to nonverbally send to your employee is: This meeting is important. You are important. My entire focus is on you.

How about postponing a performance appraisal meeting you have scheduled with an employee? If you’re ever tempted to say, “This is such a busy week. We’re going to postpone your performance appraisal meeting,” stop! Think of it this way: If you had a meeting scheduled with your CEO, you’d probably figure out a way to make it. Yet we quickly push back meetings with our employees. This is showing a lack of respect to your employee. Once you’ve scheduled a performance appraisal meeting, you keep it.

Finally, how do you wrap up a performance appraisal meeting?   It’s important how things end.  Maybe you shake the employee’s hand and thank them. Maybe you share one thing you like about working with them. Depending on you, your style, and the employee, think of what you can do to end the meeting sending them out the door feeling good about themselves, feeling good about you, and feeling good about your organization.

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