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Guidelines for Conducting a Performance Review


Day-to-day coaching of employees is a vital responsibility of every leader. However, daily discussions are likely to be concerned with immediate problems. The six-month Performance Appraisal cycle will help both parties focus on the critical issues. The purpose of the Sherborne Performance Appraisal program is to provide an opportunity for a comprehensive discussion of overall performance. 

A carefully thought out semi-annual review of performance, with the development of improvement plans, provides each employee with the knowledge of where he/she stands. A jointly prepared and implemented Performance Appraisal, with sound improvement plans, motivates individuals to make the most of their abilities. Such a working climate is a clear demonstration to all Sherborne employees that our “values” are at work. 

The Font Line leader and the employee should separately review the data necessary to prepare the Performance Appraisal. Independently, each party should review the job description, Performance Standards, current development plans, and any tasks or objectives that were established for the preceding six months. This will result in two 'draft' Performance Appriasal documents being completed — one by the leader, and one by the employee. 

The Front Line leader should receive the approval of his/her next-level manager before the performance discussion takes place. The goal here is to ensure that the Front Line leader has the buy-in of his/her manager before decisions, commitments, etc. are made to the employee. However, caution is needed. The employee should not be put in a position of supporting his/her draft against a 'done deal' completed by the leader and the next-level manager. Using the 'draft' Performance Appraisals, the leader and the employee will work towards a clear understanding of the employee’s accomplishments, areas needing improvement, and training needs. The Font Line leader will complete, during the latter part of the discussion, a new and final Performance Appraisal that summarizes the discussion and the improvement plans to which both have agreed. 

The factors contained in the Performance Appraisal document address the employee’s behaviour and performance. For each factor there is a scale that runs from unsatisfactory to meets standards to outstanding. For each of these ratings you are asked to record examples, incidents, situations, issues, etc., that support the assessment. 


This sample Performance Appraisal includes seven performance areas. More topics can be added if needed; however, this should be done in conjunction with the employee. There is a further area entitled “Additional Comments” which encourages comment on performance not specifically addressed in the previous areas. 

It is anticipated that an assessment will be made in each area which is appropriate to the performance being reviewed. The “Examples/Supporting Information” section must be used in each case. 

In the section called “Development Plans/Target Dates,” it is the Front Line leader’s responsibility to initiate the discussion relative to training and development plans. It is in this section that the leader can truly perform his/her Human Resource management responsibilities by counselling, guiding and coaching the employee to improve job performance and/or broaden career aspirations. However, the bottom line is that the employee owns the commitment to their own development, not the leader. 

In the final section, “Summary,” an overall review of performance is required. It should logically reflect the performance levels indicated above on the form, but it should not be the result of a simple mathematical formula. 

The following is an example of how to interpret the assessment factors: 

(12) Outstanding — Performance, results and contributions are above expected levels to meet position requirements. All areas of job responsibility are being exceeded in terms of results and productivity. 

(10) Exceeds Performance Standards — Performance, results and contributions are above expected levels to meet position requirements. All areas of responsibility have been met in the most achievable manner. 

(8) Meets Performance Standards — Overall performance, results and contributions are fully satisfactory when measured against overall standards for the position. While actual results of performance may vary above or below standards for different job responsibilities, the overall contribution is meeting job requirements. 

(4) Needs Performance Improvement — Overall performance, results and contributions are below expected levels for the position responsibilities. Partial job requirements and standards are being met. Specific plans to ensure progression must be developed by the employee and the Front Line leader/manager. 

(1–3) Unsatisfactory Performance Level — Current performance, results and contributions are inadequate for the position responsibilities. Without significant improvement in performance, retention of the employee in the position is unacceptable. Specific plans for improvement and a timeframe for measuring results must be developed by the employee and the leader. 

Both Front Line leader and employee should sign and date the completed Performance Appraisal. The employee’s signature confirms the discussion only. 

Performance Areas 

1. Applying job skills This factor addresses the employee’s ability to quickly acquire and effectively apply job knowledge and job skills. Good performance is measured by the successful accomplishment of job responsibilities and Performance Standards using skills appropriate to the Sherborne business practices in his/her department. 

Examples/Supporting Information 
Development Plans/Target Dates 

2. Being productive Works independently or in a team, where appropriate, to produce agreed-upon results (Performance Standards, key success factors, etc.) Rarely requires reminders of job-related process/practices, overall objectives and the importance Sherborne places on customer satisfaction. Examples/Supporting Information Development Plans/Target Dates 

3. Applying knowledge This factor measures the application of culture, Values and goals for the resolution of issues, concerns or problems brought forward by external or internal customers/vendors. The employee demonstrates a passion to continually improve the business process and systems in his/her department in order to satisfy the work needs of others. Examples/Supporting Information Development Plans/Target Dates 

4. Being a team player This factor assesses the extent to which this employee is a team player — that is, willingly and in concert with peers, works to achieve department goals, including any unexpected problems or concerns that arise. Works collaboratively with next-level Front Line leaders/managers in offering constructive feedback and suggestions. 

Examples/Supporting Information 
Development Plans/Target Dates 

5. Using change constructively Consider the employee’s active participation in the change process. He/she demonstrates that change is both natural and positive in a customer-/market-driven organization. Examples of this behaviour will include working productively when priorities change; taking initiatives; within the scope of his/her job, to change/improve processes and activities that hinder/prompt response to changing external/internal customer/vendor requirements. 

Examples/Supporting Information 
Development Plans/Target Dates 

6. Resolving problems This factor assesses the employee’s skills at identification and resolution of problems that reflect the needs of the department (including internal and external customers). The employee is not seen to procrastinate when decisions are needed. Makes more acceptable decisions than unacceptable ones. Demonstrates a willingness to put his/her initiative, judgment and problem-solving skills on the line. 

Examples/Supporting Information 
Development Plans/Target Dates 

7. Taking ownership This factor reviews the employee’s behaviour in accepting ownership for tasks and completing them in a timely manner. Regularly sets priorities and plans work effectively. Meets deadlines with most problems solved. Knows the status of current job tasks and projects when asked. 

Examples/Supporting Information 
Development Plans/Target Dates

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