There is one aspect of Connecticut employment law that some Connecticut employers overlook …
Connecticut General Statute §31-128e(b) requires employers include in any
- documented disciplinary action,
- notice of termination of employment or
- performance evaluation
a “statement in clear and conspicuous language” that informs the employee that he has the right to “submit a written statement explaining his position” should the employee disagree with any of the information contained therein.
This “rebuttal statement” must be kept in the employee’s personnel file and accompany the document that it is rebutting should that document be disclosed to any third party. In other words, the rebuttal statement essentially becomes a part of the the write-up, evaluation or notice of termination.
It is recommended that all Connecticut employers review the forms used for employee discipline, performance evaluation, and termination and verify that the required language is present. If it isn’t, be sure to add the required language.
Dreading Performance Appraisal time? Are you the last manager to turn them in? Conducting Performance Appraisals should not feel like a punishment to you or your employees. Performance Appraisals should merely be a reflection of work during a specific period of time.
Here are some tips to make your next appraisals easier to draft and deliver.
- Take notes all year long. Don’t depend on your memory to write an annual review. Without notes to rely on, your appraisal will most likely reflect the last three months — if you’re lucky. I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night!
- Get out last year’s appraisal. Make sure your employees accomplished goals that were set the year before. If not, this could be an opportunity for improvement.
- Use job descriptions. Job descriptions should be the standard to meet, not another employee. In order for a job description to be an effective tool it should be updated on a regular basis.
- Address performance, not the individual. For example, Donnie never gets his work done on time. This verbiage has a personal tone to it that is hard not to take it personally. It could distract from the main objective of a performance appraisal which is to help the employee improve and develop. Donnie has just checked out and all he can think about is how you called him incompetent. Instead, reports need to be turned in at the end of business day Friday. Reports were only turned in on time 50% of the time. Now you can focus on the task and find out how you can assist Donnie get his reports in on time. Maybe he didn’t realize how many times he had missed his deadline.
- Used detailed comments on both good performance and areas needed to be improved. Employees appreciate the effort you put into delivering a thorough appraisal and are more willing to accept feedback if it’s detailed. For example, Tammy is a good customer service rep is a positive comment, but doesn’t show why she is a good customer service rep. Instead, Tammy always answers the phone pleasantly and goes over and beyond when assisting customers. On January 27, 2014 I overheard her calm an angry customer down who wanted to cancel services. At the end of their conversation he was pleased and 12 months later he is still using our service. He always asks for Tammy.
- Use SMART goals. Make goals Specific, Measured, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Bound. Needs improvement, in any category of your performance standards will only bring frustration to an employee who will have no idea how to meet your expectations. Instead, strive for 8 or higher on at least 70% of customer surveys in 180 days. Getting an 8 on a survey is pretty specific. Hitting a percentage by a certain date is measurable. The 6 month time period is attainable and hopefully realistic for an employee in this position.
- Give tools and resources for improvement. Offering additional training, procedural review, and mentoring can turn an average employee into a valuable asset in your organization. Take Susan, she is amazing with customers, but she lacks organizational skills and never follows through on customer orders. Sending her to a course on Time Management and partnering her up with Edith, a 10 year veteran who can organize a riot, could give her the skills she’s missing to become a superstar in your company. Inside Tip: The cost of a one-day seminar can save you the cost of replacing an employee. The average cost of replacing an employee amounts to 20 percent of the person’s annual salary.
- End with something positive. While an appraisal should address past performance, it should also provide an opportunity for future professional development. Show the employee what’s in it for them if they step up their performance, for example, more responsibility, or career advancement. If you intend on keeping your employee make sure you point out areas they are doing well in, such as gets along great with co-workers or has a great attitude.
Start using these tips today to ease the pain of conducting Performance Reviews and make them a useful tool for you and your employees.