The performance appraisal interview often receives a bad rap because the person conducting the meeting misses one or more of these steps, or the employee doesn’t know what to expect. Here are 10 tips to increase the productivity of the next performance appraisal:

  1. Establish rapport: Create a relaxed, private atmosphere where both parties feel comfortable.
  2. Clearly explain the purpose of the interview: State in positive terms what you want to accomplish.
  3. Encourage the employee to talk: The interview must include two-way communication.
  4. Listen and don’t interrupt: Listen, meaning to take an active process to find out the thoughts and feelings of the person being interviewed.
  5. Avoid confrontation and argument: Even though differences of opinion are expressed, keep the discussion free and open.
  6. Focus on performance, not personality: Issues such as attitude, integrity, dependability, appearance or initiative can be mentioned, but only as they relate to performance.
  7. Focus on the future, not the past: Emphasize what can be learned from the past that can help in the future.
  8. Emphasize strengths as well as areas to improve: Recognize and build on strengths, while also discussing job segments that must be corrected if performance is to improve.
  9. Terminate the interview when advisable: If you end the interview before accomplishing all the goals you set, agree on when the interview will continue.
  10. Conclude on a positive note: Be sure the employee leaves the interview in a positive frame of mind.

Source: Donald L. Kirkpatrick, “Improving Employee Performance through Appraisal and Coaching.”