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Suppose you are a supervisor. What errors might you make when preparing the performance appraisal on a clerical employee? How might you avoid those errors?

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In large corporations, clerical employees are often removed by several layers of management from the evaluation-writer.  Also, because of the natural promotion patterns in place, an immediate supervisor might bring personal judgments tainted with jealousy or fear of replacement to an evaluation of a competing employee/clerical position.  The final impediment to a fair evaluation is the placing of blame (for misfilings, mistakes in bookkeeping, customer complaints, etc.) on a clerical worker who is just following directions of a superior, who is really responsible for the errors; it is often difficult to define all the duties of a clerical worker who has little decision-making power.

  The remedy for all these potential mis-evaluations is getting the evaluator closer to the employee himself/herself, and avoiding too simple gauges—no “a,b,c,d,f” grading; no multiple-choice forms filled out, etc., but rather a face-to-face oral appraisal with sensitivity to non-verbal communication, and a chance for the clerical employee to voice his/her own appraisal of  his/her job performance.  He/she should have an opportunity to explain issues external to the actual job performance (absences, tardiness, etc.).  These techniques, together with the immediate supervisor's report, should lead to a useful appraisal.

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