Joellen Cademartori, CEO of GovHR, discusses performance appraisals and practical tips for setting “SMART” goals during an MMA webinar on Jan. 9.

An MMA webinar today reviewed performance appraisals and offered practical tips for setting “SMART” goals to help local officials start the year off right.

Joellen Cademartori, CEO of GovHR, opened by discussing the objectives of a performance appraisal system. An effective system, she said, can strengthen internal communication, promote productivity, and help identify training opportunities to enhance employee skills or performance.

She said an appraisal system is composed of general data, performance competencies, and a rating tool, among other elements. Performance competencies are pre-established criteria that apply to the position being evaluated. These competencies will vary within four high-level categories: leadership, management, technical and team.

It’s important to acknowledge that biases may accompany ratings. Cademartori said biases stem from personal positive or negative impressions that lead to treating someone more favorably or less so.

When setting project-focused or task-oriented goals, Cademartori recommends the “SMART” goal format. SMART goals are:
• Specific (single outcome)
• Measurable (action-oriented)
• Attainable (can be accomplished)
• Relevant (to your mission and position)
• Timebound (by when?)

Ultimately, to ensure success, Cademartori recommends keeping progress notes and engaging in open communication with employees who are being evaluated. Aligning goals to the mission of the community will also make the work more purposeful, resulting in more pride in the work and a desire for feedback in the future.

Pittsfield Human Resources Director Michael Taylor moderated 15 minutes of questions and answers, which addressed inquiries about managing appraisals in a union environment, bias in performance reviews, and setting reasonable SMART goals.

Performance Appraisal Systems and Goal setting in the Public Sector: An Overview presentation (560K PDF)
Supervisor’s checklist for conducting a performance appraisal – GovHR USA (150K PDF)
PRISM Annual Performance Appraisal Form template (70K DOC)


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