Never Let a Performance Appraisal Surprise You…or Your Employees
By Jane Auster
You'd never walk on stage without knowing your lines. Preparing to conduct a performance appraisal is much like rehearsing for a play where you are the director working with a hospitality cast: your interaction with them can mean the difference between a successful performance and a flop.
When your hospitality employees take their places for their annual review, you should be as prepared as they are, if not more prepared. "There's more onus on the employer to be ready for the interview," says Peter Shrive, partner with Cambridge Management Planning in Toronto, Ontario. "You have to be ready to take corrective action, set goals for the year and help guide performance. If the student hasn't learned, the teacher hasn't taught."
A performance appraisal shouldn't be a surprise and it should not be an unpleasant experience, he adds. "It's a marvelous opportunity for an exchange of views between employee and employer. It should be the culmination of a year that began with an outline of the roles, goals, and responsibilities of the employee and should have been tempered during the year with the occasional acknowledgement of progress well done and also including the occasional reminder or constructive remark about keeping the employee focused on the goals, roles, and responsibilities agreed upon."
Plan to evaluate
Here's how to "rehearse" for your employees' performance appraisals:
Prepare a form for each employee that includes:
- A record of service time.
- A brief overview of the responsibilities or job description that you and the employee have already agreed upon.
- An opportunity to review goals, especially those that are measurable. For instance, if the sommelier at your restaurant had set a goal to increase wine sales by 20%, you should remember to include this goal as part of the form.
- A section commenting on interpersonal skills, teamwork, manner and style, ending with remarks on training requirements or promotion potential.
- A scoring system from one to five. A score over 3.5 means your hospitality employees are performing well.
- Room for both your signatures at the bottom.
"This same form is presented to the employee a few days before the interview date," says Shrive. "Each puts down his or her impressions of the facts, like achievement of revenue goals or other measurables, and impressions of how well the goals were reached."
Review the files on your employees:
- Review information you've collected on your hospitality staff over the year. For instance, if you've asked a server to wear a different-colored shirt, has she consistently complied? If there are customer reply cards on particular employees, these should be part of the file and your performance appraisal.
Seek other opinions:
- Ask other team members, such as your host, front desk clerk, or kitchen manager to add their impressions of the employee being evaluated and include these comments in the file.
Set new goals:
- You must come to the performance appraisal with a list of goals and objectives for the coming year. As much as possible, try to quantify the goals: for instance, asking housekeeping staff to decrease the time to make up a room from 27 to 20 minutes or recording how many times diners take the sommelier's wine suggestions.
- Consider training opportunities to help staff improve skills.
- Leave time for your employees to suggest goals of their own for themselves and the business.
- If you've discussed your concerns with your employees over the course of the year, there should be no anger or hurt feelings.
- Be ready to offer corrective action. Recommend courses or training and be prepared to be specific with the types of corrective remedies you endorse. Does your hostess need better people skills? Come to the evaluation with information on Dale Carnegie-type courses or a plan to have her mentored by one of the other team members.
Rehearse well before the performance appraisal, and both you and your hospitality employees will walk away with kudos.