Pre and Week One of the PA Cycle: Prep and Training Week


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Today’s post is a continuation of the Performance Appraisal and Objective Setting cycle and where I start getting into the real meat of the program.  There is some prep work that needs to be done in December before you can start in January so I am covering off on that in addition to covering week one in this post.

Prior to the first week, in December, I launch the upcoming PA and Objective Setting cycle by sending out an email to all the supervisors in the company reminding them that everything will start in January.  I also include a timeline of all the important deadlines in that email.

They, of course, love getting this email just before the Holidays! Who wouldn’t?

I’m kidding and they hate it but it is important to communicate exactly what’s coming up as soon as the holidays are over.  The process is difficult and everybody needs to be ready to roll as soon as the calendar changes to January.  The end of December is a very quiet time for most small companies, except for retail, and let’s face it – most of us are on vacation or checked out and/or stressing out about entertaining family and buying gifts for everybody.

Here is an example of the email I send out:

Company Supervisors,

It is that time of year when everybody is thinking warm and joyous thoughts about the holidays and along with the peace, love and laughter of the season, it’s also time to start thinking about performance appraisals!  Yay.

Here is the schedule for the 2015 Performance Appraisal cycle:

  • Jan 6: 2015 PA Documents made available on the internal company HR webpage
  • Jan 7: PA training via webcast (details coming soon)
  • Jan 20: Preliminary PAs due to HR
  • Feb 2-8: Talent Review Meetings
  • Feb 8-12:  Supervisors to deliver PAs to their direct reports
  • Feb 17: Completed 2015 PAs due to HR

Everything you need and need to know is or will be available on the internal company HR web page, here.

Let me know if you have any questions.


The next thing I do in December is update all the documents from the previous year to the new year. As you will see and as I will explain in more detail in future posts, the forms are on MS Word and Excel – old school but effective and affordable for most of us small HR departments.  I make sure the dates are changed on the forms and I review my notes from the year before and make any appropriate adjustments to the way we do things and to the forms based on suggestions the supervisors made last year.

I always encourage supervisor feedback about how we can improve the process and the forms because they are the ones in the trenches filling out the forms and delivering the PAs and have a good handle on what is and isn’t working.  I try to do everything I can to make it work well for them. Bonus: you will get more buy in on the process if they know you are listening and taking their suggestions and incorporating them in the following years’ process.

Immediately after the Holidays is when the cycle starts full swing and the supervisors are happy and ready to go (that’s what I tell myself, anyway).  They got the heads up from my email in December so there is no surprise when I start sending them information full speed at the beginning of January.

Beginning in week one of the cycle, I post all the updated current year’s documents, training materials, calendars, etc. on our internal company HR website  This way, everything is available to them whenever they need it.  If you don’t have something like this, you’ll just have to send everything via email to your supervisors.

Finally, and most importantly for this week and for the entire cycle, I conduct a training session for all the supervisors on why and how we do PA and Objective setting.  The training materials are fairly extensive and I’m including it with this week’s blog post.  The session should last only approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

I’m thinking I can write several additional posts about the training session but for the purposes of this series, I will just include the training PowerPoint so I can move on to the remaining weeks in the cycle. Much of the content in the attached training session will be included in future posts in this series and I think the PowerPoint is self explanatory since each slide has a script that goes along with it. You’re free to use the training and modify it as you see fit.

Well, this completes the the prep work and week one of the cycle.  Next week will be Week Two – Writing Week for PAs and Objectives where I will include the HHHR Objective Setting and Performance Appraisal forms and detail how they work together.

Here is the PowerPoint version of the training session.  The notes are included and can be seen in the window below each slide as you are reviewing them.
Managers 2015 HHHR Performance Appraisal Cycle Training

Here is a PDF version of the training session and a PDF of each slide with notes.
Managers 2015 HHHR Performance Appraisal Cycle Training

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