Business Writing Training Guidelines for Performance Appraisals
Performance appraisals play an important role in motivating your employees and in encouraging them to work to the best of their abilities. Appraisals provide an opportunity to shine for many, and an opportunity to reflect for others. Business writing training guidelines assist the difficult task for both business owners and managers to evaluate employee performance against quantifiable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Business writing training guidelines will also help individuals better document their achievements during their annual performance review.
Writing a performance appraisal report is often cumbersome. Many companies use pre-written templates to prepare such appraisals, and this regimented approach is not always effective. Business writing training provides managers the business writing skills to effectively provide employees more data regarding their performance. Similarly, the directorship in many businesses requires in-depth employee performance analysis before they make any decision regarding payroll and promotion.
Despite its apparent complexities, writing performance appraisals is a fairly easy task. Here’s a look at four business writing training guidelines to help both managers and individual employees write relevant and accurate performance appraisal reports.
Keep the Audience in Mind
Appraisal reports are written for the senior management in your organization. Put yourself in your manager’s position and consider: What does your boss want in this appraisal report? What good will this information do for him or her? How will the report help in assessing the employee’s performance?
The first step towards drafting an effective performance appraisal report is to keep your target audience in mind. There’s a famous business cliché that says, “what counts is what's counted”. This should be your focus. Analyze all indices and factors that seem relevant for the employee appraisal.
Once you know who your target audience is, the next step is to maintain a certain level of neutrality in the performance appraisal. It is very easy to sway off course when preparing or filling out the appraisal report.
As an employee, you need to address all the core areas of interest to your boss on a timely basis. Do this before they introduce any ancillary content to the performance appraisal report. As a manager, you need to share with your employees all the information and performance metrics against which employee productivity will be measured.
Keep Track of All Achievements
As a manager, you need to create an electronic record for your employees' achievements throughout the year. The same rule applies to employees as well. Scan your email for any recommendations or stand-out recognition you have received. Such exercises are are helpful, but consistent tracking is better.
The best approach is to create a tracking document that lists all your achievements as they occur. These achievements should be in line with the performance indices used in your appraisal report. Whenever you receive any recognition email or acknowledgement for your hard work, add it to your tracking document. This will provide accuracy and reliability to your performance appraisal report and help you assemble accurate facts.
Mind Your Language
Performance appraisal reports are very specific in nature. They determine increments to your salary, bonuses, perks or even a better position. Therefore, it is important that you use the right tone, with accurate sentences and specific verbs to describe your performance.
Use evocative words that specifically summarize your achievements. Instead of relying on long and unending sentences, use short and precise words and phrases. Avoid business clichés that don't really mean anything specific, such as "passionate marketer" or "committed team member." Instead, be specific about your actual accomplishments.
To learn more on how to improve business writing for your employees, download “Four Steps to Improve Your Team’s Business Writing Skills.”
About the author
Tom specializes in technical writing and is particularly interested in analytical and financial writing, as well as synthesizing strong executive summaries. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration and English from Reed College, and a M.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado. He has successfully supported our clients from Boeing, FedEx, and the US Army.