One of the responsibilities involved in managing a team is conducting regular one-to-one meetings, quarterly reviews and annual appraisals. I always found writing appraisals to be a tedious task in terms of the time that I had to spend preparing reviews for 5 to 10 direct reports. At the same time, I always found it to be rewarding, because it is the best way to summarize performance, discuss strengths and weaknesses and reward those who conduct well or above the average.
Recently, I came across a perfect solution that helps me create staff appraisals in minutes, not hours.
The tool is called EasyReviews (by SuccessFactors), and it is a free solution, if you’re looking to assess a small workgroup consisting of up to 10 employees.
In the past I would have to refer to meaningless performance review samples whenever I need to write a review. Now, with EasyReviews the job seems very simple and straight forward. It’s like having your own assistant, who takes a couple of hours of continuous writing off your shoulders. In fact, I have never before found writing reviews to be so easy. You can start from scratch by choosing your own set of skills/competencies, or use a predefined template. The set of templates is very wide, so anyone will be able to find a review form that best suits the job post that is to be assessed. I usually choose a template similar to the position that I am about to evaluate, and then change it accordingly to my needs. There’s a Skill Library with over 50 skills to get started with, but of course you can add any other custom skill.
As soon as the skill pool is ready, you can start your assessment with the suggestions provided by Writing Assistant. It helps you choose the right comment on employee’s performance. You can indicate whether the employee meets or exceeds standards, or if they need to improve in certain areas. You choose the reason behind that opinion and select more or less positive tone of your comment. With that tool, a manager is able to choose words for any situation and create a backbone of their report in just a few clicks, so the only thing left to do is to fill in detailed information and examples that will be discussed in a formal meeting.
Apart from skill assessment, there’s also an option to rate the employee’s performance against required activities within the review period. So you can add your own goal or again, choose from multiple suggestions categorized by functions:
You can save your reports any time manually, and return to them as and when required. Your work is protected by an autosave each time you move to another section, so it will never be lost. Once the report is ready, it can be printed out, exported to pdf or saved as a document.
I would recommend EasyReviews to anyone working with a small workgroup and to small business owners. It is however not intended for companies that need to assess larger number of employees. SuccessFactors offers other professional products and tools that provide much more features and flexibility, therefore I do recommend visiting their website, if you’re looking for a solution for a mid-sized or enterprise business.