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Privacy and Staff Appraisals

By: Matthew Strawbridge - Updated: 12 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Appraisal Performance Staff Manager

A staff appraisal is the process in which a manager records a worker’s performance over a given period of time. An appraisal is often held annually or every six months. It provides an opportunity for the supervisor and worker to discuss performance against previous objectives, to set new objectives and for either party to raise anything that has been concerning them. It is important that the privacy of these records is maintained.

There are several types of staff appraisal:

  • standard appraisals in which a manager interviews an employee
  • 360-degree appraisals where both parties can comment on the other
  • self-assessment appraisals
  • probationary reviews

Information Recorded On The Form

Although appraisals are often conducted in a private meeting between a supervisor and a subordinate, these discussions are not usually recorded word for word. Instead, a form is used to ensure that every relevant topic is covered. This provides a set structure for the meeting and makes it easier for managers to make comparisons among the people who work for them.

There are two approaches to completing this type of form. It can be filled in either before the discussion or afterwards. If it is filled in beforehand, the person being appraised will have a chance to comment on what has been said, and by negotiation it may be altered before finally being submitted. If the form is filled in after the discussion, it should be an accurate record of what was discussed, and the employee must be given the opportunity to comment on it before its submission.

Information commonly recorded on an appraisal form includes the following:

  • basic data for identifying the individual being appraised, such as their name and department, and the appraiser
  • the period of time covered
  • a common understanding of the role the person being appraised plays within the organisation: their duties and responsibilities
  • achievements and difficulties
  • aspirations
  • points for improvement
  • performance against previous objectives and a new set of objectives for the future

There is often a grid of scores for achievement levels in various categories such as time-management, creativity and team-work. If these are recorded fairly, and perhaps moderated amongst reviewers, then they provide useful statistics for ranking employees to fairly distribute pay, bonuses and promotions. Because of the “bottom line” importance of this data to employees, it is critical that its privacy is maintained. In particular, employees should not be able to see the scores attained by their peers.

Who Should Have Access To Staff Appraisals?

Supervisors should have access to the current and previous forms of all workers below them, but not to others. These descriptions and statistics are important for ensuring that staff are managed effectively. For example, employees showing continuous improvement can be praised and encouraged, even if they are not as productive as their peers. Similarly, a decline in the performance of a high-flyer can be caught and his or her manager can take corrective action.

Committees deciding policy, such as pay reviews, can reasonably make use of this information, particularly the numerical scores. These committees should usually be composed of people more senior than those being discussed.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, workers should have access to their own appraisals (although, to maintain privacy, not to each other’s). This applies not only to the most recent one, but also to the historical records that are kept. In this way they can track their progress, and can ensure that these important documents, which can have a major effect on their career progression, are fair and correct.

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I supper from depression & my employers know I do ,been off 4 yrs ago for 6 months ..I have had my moments but you deal with it the best you can , I was in a warehouse then on my days off I moved to another warehouse which was freezing hat scarf gloves 8 layers on top 4 on the bottom with a 2 bar heater to heat a huge warehouse with doors open because of a mice problem ..anyway there is a very knowledgeable young lad there who I get on with but constant moan .he was mentally wearing you down like working with a volcano ?? never knowing when it would irupt. My manager knew what he was like others had reported his attitude .always moaning who spoke to me how long for carnt you stop the idiots coming in here etc .been doing the job for 9 years I have .you ok you having trouble you know what your doing , making everyone aware you made mistakes but if it was him nothing said ..my manager knew I was not keen then he said to separate him from another person he would be a table away from me , 4 days I had off and them 4 days Iit was playing on my mind , goes back into work told my manager I could not work with him so close and I was crying .he told store boss .i shall have words no worry ..I pleaded with him not to mention my name or drop it all together me thinking that's fine .. then after the chat with him my manager dropped the bomb shell I told him it was you because he asked who reported him I was in utter shock ..right good kick in the teeth by someone I trusted ..I told him via crying I was going home ,he pleaded with to stay come for a coffee blah blah blah ..x is fine with it his ok no malice to wards you but no mention of how I felt and my feeling ...I am currently on the sick ...was he right to tell x it was me knowing full well I suffered with the big d ...no MANGEMENTS as been in contact
Topkat - 12-Apr-17 @ 8:03 AM
I supper from depression & my employers know I do ,been off 4 yrs ago for 6 months ..I have had my moments but you deal with it the best you can , I was in a warehouse then on my days off I moved to another warehouse which was freezing hat scarf gloves 8 layers on top 4 on the bottom with a 2 bar heater to heat a huge warehouse with doors open because of a mice problem ..anyway there is a very knowledgeable young lad there who I get on with but constant moan .he was mentally wearing you down like working with a volcano ?? never knowing when it would irupt. My manager knew what he was like others had reported his attitude .always moaning who spoke to me how long for carnt you stop the idiots coming in here etc .been doing the job for 9 years I have .you ok you having trouble you know what your doing , making everyone aware you made mistakes but if it was him nothing said ..my manager knew I was not keen then he said to separate him from another person he would be a table away from me , 4 days I had off and them 4 days Iit was playing on my mind , goes back into work told my manager I could not work with him so close and I was crying .he told store boss .i shall have words no worry ..I pleaded with him not to mention my name or drop it all together me thinking that's fine .. then after the chat with him my manager dropped the bomb shell I told him it was you because he asked who reported him I was in utter shock ..right good kick in the teeth by someone I trusted ..I told him via crying I was going home ,he pleaded with to stay come for a coffee blah blah blah ..x is fine with it his ok no malice to wards you but no mention of how I felt and my feeling ...I am currently on the sick ...was he right to tell x it was me knowing full well I suffered with the big d ...no MANGEMENTS as been in contact
Topkat - 12-Apr-17 @ 7:17 AM
I believe I have been the victim f a breach of employee confidentiality. I was remarked to me by X that a manager he would not identify has discussed my conduct at work with him, a colleague. This remark arose during an unhappy exchange at shift handover this evening after I had accused X of laziness last week. X said "Anyway, a manager has told me he caught you using the internet in bld1 office, so I don't think you've call to say anything about me". When I pressed him whom the manager was, he would not disclose their identity. There are only two possible explanations for this. One is that X was lying to make me worried about how I'm perceived by manager(s) in order to "score points" in our unhappy exchange. I'm very unhappy about this possibility, as it means X has tried to use psychological means to manipulate me. Two is that X was telling the truth to make me worried about how I'm perceived by manager(s) in order to "score points" in our unhappy exchange. I am extremely unhappy about this possibility as it means; A) The manager has discussed this with X, a member of the operations team. This is contrary to my rights as an employee that issues with my conduct at work are confidential between myself and members of the management team involved. B) X has kept this discussion to himself, rather that notify you that this has occurred, as he should have. C) X has chosen our unhappy exchange to use this as psychological means to manipulate me. I can think of only one instance when I have used the internet for anything other that work related things (checking emails to see if dog walkers can do extra days to allow me to work over, looking on Fisher website for equipment, wikipedia for chemical properties, external email server to allow me to check work email without logging colleagues off when they are logged on) and on that occasion a manager did walk into bld1 office. In the ensuing discussion with the manager I explained that I was well overdue for a break, not having been able to get one for four hours and was waiting for a crash distillation fraction to fill up so that I could take it and then go for my break. I had decided to take some of that break in the five or so minutes while the fraction filled up to look at the BBC News website and my subsequent break in the mess room was deducted that time. The manager at the time appeared to accept that explanation and no further action was taken. Has the manager breached my right to confidentiality by discussing this with X and has X acted wrongly in choosing to use this information against me rather than reporting it's disclosure to him? Many Thanks in Advance, Jamie.
Jamie - 25-Oct-16 @ 9:19 AM
I was recently asked by my line manager about a new member of staffs performance. I thought this would be held in confidence between me and my line manager as he also asked other people in my team for the same thing. Unfortunately this was not the case as my line manager told the member of staff what was said and he also said that it was me who reported to him. This could quite possibly make it difficult for me and the staff member in question to work together as it wasn't a very glowing report. Has my line manager breached the confidentiality between us and if so is there anything I can do to take this further?
Scott1987 - 24-Oct-16 @ 3:15 PM
@Needalawyer - As specified in the article; supervisors should have access to the current and previous forms of all workers below them, but not to others. I think you may need to speak to Acas with regards to these questions, so that you can get some direct advice. You can access its helpline via the link here. I hope this helps.
EmployeePrivacyRights - 18-Mar-15 @ 10:20 AM
A is responsible for appraisal of B, who is line manager of C.Unknown to B, A is having an active dialogue (including email correspondence) with C about B's performance, including A telling C in writing what A and A's colleagues will be doing to manage B.This dialogue is neither part of a 360 degree feedback process, nor has B consented to the discussion between A and C.It is not apparent that C has seen B's actual employment record or written appraisal. This would seem to be a breach of B's privacy by A, following the principle set out above that "workers should have access to their own appraisals (although, to maintain privacy, not to each other’s)".It would also seem to be unethical for A to be discussing B's performance in this way...but what has A legally actually done wrong?What remedy might B have in this situation?Is there statutory guidance on this, or is this issue covered by case law?
Needalawyer - 15-Mar-15 @ 12:15 PM
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