Is the performance appraisal process important?

Dear Benny:
I recently received information on guidelines for the Performance and Staff Development Program. Because I’m new to Penn, I’m not familiar with the performance appraisal process and how it works. Could you tell me more about it and why performance appraisals are necessary?
—Puzzled by Process

Dear Puzzled:
We went straight to the Division of Human Resources for this one. The folks there told us that the Performance and Staff Development Program—also known as the annual performance appraisal process—is meant to provide staff and supervisors with an official process to open the lines of communication and promote a successful, productive and rewarding work environment.

The appraisals are designed to help establish clear job expectations, allow for discussion of performance and accomplishments from the past year, address professional development needs and provide an opportunity to plan for the upcoming year. They added that appraisals also provide documented feedback on job expectations, performance and accomplishments, as well as substantive support for annual salary increases. They allow staff members to take a role in setting goals and performance expectations for the upcoming year and ensure that individual accomplishments are recorded in each staff member’s official personnel file.

Because the written appraisal form plays an important role in establishing your performance goals, it is wise to set aside enough time to consider and complete it properly.

The performance appraisals for all eligible regular staff should be completed and entered into the Performance Appraisal Database (PAD) by June 1.

You can find information, including tip sheets and a PowerPoint presentation, on the Human Resources website at, or you can contact Human Resources at 215-898-6093 for more information and training.

Got a question for Benny? Send it via e-mail to or via regular mail to the Current, 200 Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106.

Originally published on April 8, 2010