Are Your Performance Appraisals Setting You Up for a Lawsuit?

Yesterday’s Advisor offered 10 Rules for Appraisals that will make them stand up in court. (Go here for the 10 Rules.) Today, we feature a checklist to help you review your appraisal system, and we talk about the real first step of any appraisal, a well-written job description.

An effective, legally sound performance appraisal is:

1. Based on an objective job analysis. Ask yourself:

  • Has a job analysis been performed recently to determine the duties and responsibilities that must be carried out if the job is to be performed successfully?
  • Are performance standards based on the results of job analysis (e.g., significant job duties and type of work behavior)?
  • Is there some measure of the importance of certain work activities (e.g., how much time is spent on them, how difficult they are, and how serious the consequences of errors are)?

2. Consistent. Ask yourself:

  • Is the appraisal system designed so that all managers implement it in a consistent manner?
  • Is the same system used for all employees?
  • Do appraisers receive written guidelines and periodic refresher courses in how to use the evaluation system?
  • Is there a means of checking how consistently the program is being implemented?

3. Useful. Ask yourself:

  • Is the system widely regarded as a helpful tool for managers to use in carrying out their responsibilities?
  • Is the system relatively easy to administer?
  • Do managers and employees understand the evaluation forms?

4. Valid. Ask yourself:

  • Has the validity of evaluation procedures been assessed?
  • Is there a direct correlation between the type of performance that is being measured and the objectives that are critical to success on the job?

Developing a performance evaluation program that meets the above criteria does more than protect your firm from discrimination complaints. It also improves employee morale and ensures managerial support for the system because employees know that it is designed to help them achieve personal as well as corporate goals.

Set that keyboard aside! Your job descriptions are already written. Click here to see why thousands of managers have a permanent place in their offices for BLR’s classic Job Descriptions Encyclopedia.

Procedural Checklist

Use the following checklist to sort out the procedural issues relating to your performance evaluation program:

Have you determined:

  • How often individuals will be evaluated?
  • At what time of the year individuals will be evaluated?
  • Whether a follow-up procedure will be implemented? According to what schedule?
  • How many forms will be used?
  • Whether employees will be invited to participate in the process through self-evaluation? To what extent?
  • Who else, if anyone, will be invited to participate in the evaluation process?
  • How you will handle evaluation for employees who miss extended periods of work?
  • What privacy requirements exist in your state?
  • What privacy requirements exist in your organization?
  • Who will have overall responsibility for your performance evaluation program?
  • Who will administer your program?
  • Who will maintain completed forms?
  • Who will be authorized to request copies of completed forms?
  • Who will be authorized to conduct performance evaluations?
  • Who will be authorized to recommend/approve merit increases?
  • Who will be authorized to review and approve a performance evaluation and/or merit increase?
  • Will approval take place before or after the completed form is reviewed with the employee?
  • Who will be accountable for the performance evaluation when an employee is promoted or transferred during the performance period?

Appraisals can be a hassle, but less so when they start with a good job description. From the job description—if it is well-written—flow the essential responsibilities, goals, objectives, and expectations for the person being reviewed.

Your job description and your appraisal go hand in hand to court—here’s the job description that says what he was expected to do; here’s the performance appraisal that shows what he did do (or didn’t do).

Of course, having those well-written job descriptions is a never-ending battle for every HR manager. How about your job descriptions? Complete? Up to date? If not—or if you’ve never even written them—you’re not alone. Thousands of companies fall short in this area.

It’s easy to understand why. Job descriptions are not simple to do—what with updating and management and legal review, especially given the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) requirement of a split-off of essential functions from other functions in the description. Wouldn’t it be great if your job descriptions were available and already written?

Actually, they are. We have more than 700, ready to go, covering every common position in any organization, from receptionist right up to president. They are in an extremely popular BLR® program called the Job Descriptions Encyclopedia.

First created in the 1980s, the “JDE” has been continually refined and updated over time, with descriptions revised or added each time the law, technology—or the way we do business—changes.

Prewritten job descriptions in the Job Descriptions Encyclopedia now come with pay grades already attached. Click here to try the program at no cost.

Revised for the ADA, Pay Grades Updated

There was a major revision, for example, following the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In fact, BLR editors reviewed every one of those 700 descriptions to ensure they were ADA-compliant.

Another enhancement was the updating of pay grades for each job. According to our customers, this is an enormous time-saver, enabling them to make compensation decisions even as they define the position. You can see a sample job description from the program by clicking here. (Yes, it is the one for HR Manager. Pay grade: 38.)

The BLR Job Descriptions Encyclopedia also includes an extensive tutorial on setting up a complete job descriptions program, and how to encourage participation from all parts of the organization. That includes top management, the employees, and any union or other collective bargaining entity.

Quarterly Updates, No Additional Cost

Very important these days, quarterly updates are included in the program as a standard feature—key at a time of constantly changing laws and emerging technologies. We’ll send you new or revised descriptions every 90 days. And the cost is extremely reasonable, averaging less than 43 cents per job description … already written, legally reviewed, and ready to adapt or use as is.

You can evaluate BLR’s Job Descriptions Encyclopedia at no cost in your office for up to 30 days. Get more information or order the Job Descriptions Encyclopedia.

Download product sample
Download list of job descriptions included

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