The Five-Minute Performance Appraisal (with free template)

Estimated reading time: 1 mins

It can take six months, or even a year, so manager and employee to talk turkey about performance. Why does it have to take so long?

Most organizations use structured processes for assessing employee performance, and are typically based on the principles of Management By Objectives. Manager and employee agree, monitor and assess the employee’s performance against these objectives during a Performance Review, normally culminating in a Performance Appraisal that happens once or twice a year (or quarterly in some places.) Thing is, this is an awful long time to wait.

Regular one-to-one meetings between manager and employee are commonplace, but they’re often used to discuss in-flight matters about getting the job done. However, I have devised a method to appraise performance during these one-to-one meetings that takes only five minutes. I know this because I do this every week with my boss, no matter what job I am doing and no matter who my employer is. I’ve developed this to be such a no-brainer, it faces no resistance.

What I do is this:

  1. I’ve developed a simple proforma that I print each week and take to my one-to-one meeting.
  2. This form prompts me to ask just three questions about my performance.
  3. It asks:
    • What should I start to do?
    • What should I continue to do?
    • What should I stop doing?
  4. I encourage my manager to stay true to its purpose and not discuss job tasks, but answer in reflection of my performance and behavior
  5. Repeat

This is a very elegant technique for forming a snapshot of what is working, what isn’t working, and what could work. It’s structure means that, week on week, a consistent and progressive picture can be built up between manager and employee. It means that, come formal appraisal time, there are no surprises and no excuses.

This technique even works if you are a freelancer/interim, or a manager of freelancers.


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