The Performance Review is one of the more demanding tasks imposed on management.
It can be a particularly grueling ordeal for staff and managers alike, and a generator of problems up and down the line of management.
There's a further complication:
Many performance reviews relate to contracts of employment.
These performance reviews, and any related correspondence, are covered by contract law.
They are effectively parts of a legal record.
Meaning any correspondence has to be written accordingly. That's sometimes not easy, because many performance reviews are itemized in detail, and the details can generate disputes.
Disputes about performance review matters can be considered contractual disputes, for the purposes of law.
Some disputes are very difficult and important, others can be considered wastes of time covering minor issues.
Your correspondence, therefore, is likely to have to deal with both cases.
The example chosen here is actually two letters. One is to the staff member, regarding a dispute arising over a Key Performance Indicator result below requirements. In this case the dispute is counterproductive for the employer, if allowed to continue.
The other is a memo to the staff member's manager, explaining employer policy regarding KPIs in Performance Reviews. This memo is phrased to clarify an obvious misconception on the part of the manager, and to detail necessary remedial actions.
Internal correspondence letterhead
File ref HR/1709
Dear (staff member)
2009 Performance Review Phone Inquiry KPI figures
I refer to your email of (date) regarding your concerns about an unfavorable performance review of figures for your Key Performance Indicators for phone inquiries for the second half of 2009.
There appears to be a misunderstanding of the use of KPIs in performance reviews. Please be advised that the KPI figures are intended to be a bandwidth, rather than a specific figure.
You'll appreciate that it's not possible to set a figure for external phone calls received over six months, or their relative complexity. The bandwidth concept was created to give a fairer estimate of staff performance.
In this case, your figure of 1275 phone calls for the period is well within the baseline bandwidth high figure of 1400, a variation of barely 10% over the six month period.
I'm sorry if this issue has caused you any stress or concerns. Your other performance review elements are all very good, and I compliment you on your results for the period, which are exemplary.
Please contact me should you require any further clarification of these matters.
Memo to Manager
File ref: HR/F 008/02
To: (name of manager)
Subject: 2009 Performance Reviews phone inquiries KPI bandwidths and measures
I refer to the Performance Review for (staff member's title, name, and job title) conducted by you on January 8, 2010.
Please be advised that KPI numbers for phone inquiries shown on Performance Reviews are the high numbers of a bandwidth for performance.
Variations of up to 15% below those figures are considered acceptable.
(Staff member's name) Performance Review is therefore satisfactory. (Staff member's name) has been advised of the situation, and informed of a good Performance Review result.
The following matters require attention:
Please forward the accordingly amended documents to my attention by close of business 15 February 2010.