Taking Legal Risks Out of Appraisals

It’s an unfortunate reality that organizations need to be cautious in how they deal with employees day to day. With the increase in the number of employee lawsuits, it’s imperative that companies arm themselves with the appropriate tools that will help them deflect any potential legal hazards. From a legal perspective, performance reviews provide proper documentation, and if done right, can be a great way to avoid any mishaps.

If your company fails to administer performance reviews on a regular basis, you could be putting yourself at risk for accusations relating to wrongful dismissal and discrimination, to name a few.

Avoid sticky situations by administering sound and accurate performance appraisals. Here are 5 ways to cover your tail:

1. Check your pre-determined biases at the door. Managers should always be objective in their approach and should never carry-over personal feelings or opinions they may have of an employee into the review process.

2. Ensure that appraisals are fair and accurate. The most effective way to do this is to assess every employee the same way and ensure your process is consistent. Use a set rating scale to avoid generalizations.

3. Implement and document goals and development plans for under-achievers. Doing so will provide written back-up and justification for dismissal should an employee fail to follow-through with their suggested development plan.

4. All managers should provide ‘realistic’ reviews. Give credit where credit is due, but also don’t be afraid to speak the truth. If an employee is under-achieving, then say so! And then follow-up with the proper corrective measures. Failing to do so could potentially come back to haunt you.

5. Communicate performance expectations all-year round. A performance review should never be a once a year thing. Employees should get regular feedback throughout the year to avoid performance surprises.