Preparing for the Appraisal Cycle

Lauren Fish

When: October 6, 2016
Start Time: 1:00 pm ET
End Time: 2:00 pm ET

Host: Lauren Fish

Approaching the end of the year often means it’s time to complete your Appraisals, join us for Preparing for the Appraisal Cycle to make sure your organization is good to go! We want to make sure that your appraisals from last time are archived or reset and that employees who have an updated position are reassigned for this appraisal cycle. Make sure that manager changes are reflected and you know when scoring will start for your team.

We’ll Cover:

  • Were last cycle’s appraisals done?
  • Updating employee’s positions and managers
  • Setting the due date and scoring window
  • Reviewing what emails will be sent

Click play below to watch the video


The following is a transcript of Preparing for the Appraisal Cycle, presented by Lauren Fish



Hi everyone. Welcome to Preparing for the Appraisal Cycle. Today we are going to cover for Trakstar admins kind of an exciting agenda. This is actually a new webinar for us. You might have attended closing out the appraisal cycle, which is a common one that we do, but I thought it would be fun to host preparing for the appraisal cycle since we’re coming into that end of the year time when a lot of appraisals are completed. Our overview for today is just approaching the end of the year often means that we have the time to complete our appraisals, and that might be for the last six months, or for the last quarter, or often for the whole year. We want to make sure that your appraisals from the last time were archived or reset and that your employees all have updated positions or they’ve been reassigned to a new manager for this appraisal cycle. We often see or get panicked calls from admin that didn’t realize somebody was still assigned the wrong position or their document was never closed from last year, and it can cause some problems.


Today’s goal, my goal, is just to point you in the direction of where you should be looking if you’re coming into your appraisal cycle in the next couple of weeks or months. Our agenda for today, we’re going to look at how to close out last cycle appraisals. Sometimes participation isn’t as high as we’d like it to be and that’s okay. We’re going to talk about addressing those situations where documents were maybe partially done, or kind of done, or half done, or not done at all. We’re going to talk about what we can do with those and how to make sure that someone gets reset. We don’t want poor participation in one year to necessarily affect participation in the next year, so we’ll talk about different ways to make sure your process keeps moving.


We’re also just going to do a refresher on how to update an employee’s profile with a new manager or position. If the new manager of the new position doesn’t exist yet in the system we’ll talk a little bit about how to get those added. We want to make sure that the new manager and the new position, if needed, is set before an employee goes in to start working on their new appraisals, really important because we want their information to go the correct person/manager that’s managing that appraisal and we want them to be filling out the correct appraisal form for their current position. We’ll also take a look at updating due dates individually and in bulk. Then looking at the scoring window.


We talk a lot about how due dates and the scoring window are in this relationship, and they’re what determine when someone is able to score. There’s two settings or two points of data that we look at, we’re going to talk about those because often we’ll have admins update their due dates successfully and they don’t know why you’re still not able to score or work on the appraisal yet, and that usually has to do with the scoring window. We’ll talk about the relationship between those two today. Then the last thing I want to talk about is emails. We often get a call from an administrator and they’re like, “Hey why didn’t this email go out? I didn’t know.” We’re just going to look at where your emails are at, how to read them and understand the triggers, and then answer any questions that you guys might have about those. Without further ado I’m going to dive right into the system.


A big part of this presentation is obviously going to be in Trakstar because that makes the most sense, so we’re going to go ahead and get into the Trakstar system next. If you do have questions throughout my presentation feel free to pop them in the questions box and I’ll answer them as we go, because I do want everyone to be able to ask what they’re thinking or if something needs a little bit more clarification and we all learn from each other’s questions. Most of the webinar content that we build for you guys is actually around questions that we get from you, so it’s really vital that we know what’s not making sense or what needs a little bit more explanation. Awesome, okay. I’m going to go ahead.


I’m on the Trakstar homepage right now, this should look pretty familiar to all of you. Just some webinar features in overview, like I said you do have that questions box. We are going to ask you to fill out a survey at the end of the presentation, that again is just so we can know what we can host webinars on in the future. Appreciate any feedback that you can provide. This is a webinar for Trakstar administrators only. That doesn’t mean if you’re not an administrator you shouldn’t keep listening, but often the features and the settings that we’re going to show today are only available for our Trakstar admin, not to a manager or an employee user. We do have our Trakstar site here and support is always available to you. Support you can access without being logged into the software, which is super handy. We have video tutorials and help article down here. Then of course our upcoming webinars. We are just starting quarter four of our webinar series, that means we have a whole host of new webinars out there for you guys to register. This is the first one of quarter four. Come here, register for those, and keep your continuing education of Trakstar up.

Prep for Updates

Okay, now we’re going to get into the site. As you might remember or know for webinars and trainings we use practice sites, so this is my favorite practice site. It is themed after The Office, so we’re going to be acting as Michael Scott, who’s the administrator in this case. This view should be very familiar to all of you, it’s the same one that you have just it’s your employees when you log into Trakstar. The first thing that we’re going to talk about is last year’s appraisal cycle. the best place to go for last year’s appraisal cycle is under appraisals. We’re going to take a look at the documents that are still considered in scoring. I’m going to go over what each of these columns means and how to sort and adjust, and kind of figure out what this all is telling you.

One thing I do want to call out is that often if you’re to make a lot of changes, or you call us or email us and you ask us to help you make a lot of changes something we often suggest is actually turning off your Trakstar email notifications while we make these bulk updates. There’s a couple of reasons as to why. We might turn off emails because when we make bulk updates it could trigger a handful of emails to go out all at the same time, and that’s not something you might want. You might want to re-release the software or the process to your employees on your own terms, so we don’t want you to be stuck with emails going out that you didn’t know where going out or that were too early to go out. Something we would typically suggest before we make any changes or do any work in here is to come down to settings, and then from setting it’s under company. Here we would go ahead and make sure our email notifications are disabled.


We can turn them back on very easily once we’re done with our work, and once we turn them on emails are not back-sent so we don’t send any emails that were missed while email notifications were off. It is just something important to call out because often we start making these changes and emails go out and you can’t retract them, obviously. Something we do is turn off or disable your emails and then we want to make sure and hit save so that that setting is saved. Easy click of a button to get them back on but while we’re doing work in the system we typically advise that you turn off your emails. I’m going to go ahead and come back to appraisals and remember if you do have any questions feel free to type them in the questions box of the go to webinar control panel.

Closing Last Year’s Reviews

To look at last year’s cycle we’re going to go ahead and come to the appraisals tab. Typically if your due date is coming up you shouldn’t have any scoring documents, which would mean that everything from last year was actually closed, all of your documents are in goals and notes and you have a clean site. That is very rare. We rarely see that. Just because there’s typically a handful of employees that just didn’t finish, or managers that just didn’t get through the process. That’s what we’re going to talk about. Our scoring documents are here. An important thing to remember is if the document from last year is not closed out you can not have a new document that’s actionable for this year. You might have been able to set goals on a future document but you won’t be able to score say a 2016 document if a 2015 document isn’t closed. It’s really important that you can’t have two scorable documents at the same time. We want to make sure that these are all reset with our new due date.


Here we see that we have some past due appraisals. These were due in August. I can sort by any of these columns. I could group by manager to see how Jim was doing, it doesn’t look like he participated very much. That’s a little bit troublesome. We could sort by position if we wanted but my favorite filters are due dates and then these three. We’re going to talk about hat. If you had multiple due dates in your site that’s why due date is really helpful. This site is run on what we call a focal point meaning all employees are evaluated on the same schedule or the same date, which is why they all have that matching due date. Not everyone has a site like this. Some might be reviewed on anniversary dates or some employees might be reviewed more times in a year than others, or have say a 90 day or introductory review. That’s totally okay you just want to maybe sort by due date so that you can have that context of if the appraisal is actually past due or if it’s upcoming.


My next favorite filters are over here: employee, manager, and approver. That’s what those three columns stand for. This is the employee status, the manager status, and the approver status. Not all sites are going to have an approver. If you have an approver there will be icons in this column. If you don’t have any approvers or employee acknowledgement this column will just always be blank and we’ll default to looking at the manager column for status or completion. It’s time to look. We want to move forward, we need to make sure that these documents are closed out, we save as much information as we can but ultimately we just need to reset them. I can actually sort by approver status, so I’m going to sort descending and that’s going to bring all of the completely approvals to the top.

Appraisal Status Report

Got a great question from Michelle. Michelle, yes you can and I’m going to show you that in just a second. We’ve brought all the approvals to the top. This is going to show documents that were sent for approval already and if they were completed they’re going to get a green checkmark. If they’re not completed they’re still in that approval process, they’re going to have the in-process sign which is the two yellow arrows creating a circle. The good news is up here at the top we have the three green checkmarks all the way across for these four employees. That means that documents was completely done, so the employee did it, the manager did it, and the approver approved, the employee acknowledged; whatever steps you have outlined here. The only thing that didn’t happen is the manager didn’t archive, so he didn’t do that final, final step. This is the easiest scenario. This is what we love to see when we’re doing cleanup because it’s super easy. We can bulk archive these, save all the data, and get somebody reset for the next year.


We do have a red X here and that just means that the self appraisal was overridden. If you see this anywhere in your site it means the manager chose to override the self appraisal and that just means it took away the ability for the employee to do it, so it was no longer a requirement, and you can still archive. Barb, I’m going to answer your question in just a second okay. We are going to go ahead and I’m going to be able to bulk action on these ones that are complete. I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to select the ones that we know are completely done, check the boxes next to them, and I’m going to go ahead and say bulk edit, and I’m going to go ahead and archive all completed appraisals. Super simple. Archive those. Then that’s going to get them off my list, they’ve been rest for the next year. Perfect. I’m going to get that status, it says that all of them were updated.


When I come back to scoring I’m going to see that those four employees are gone. Barb that kind of leads me to your question. Barb asked a question: what if you’re not seeing all of your employees under appraisals? That’s a great question. Right here we don’t actually see all of our employees under appraisals. There’s 22 employees in this site and I only have 13. Your employees are either going to be listed under goals and notes or scoring. They have an appraisal and that appraisal is either going to be in goals and notes or in scoring, so if you’re not seeing someone under scoring my guess is that they’re in the goals and notes phase which means they’re just not time for their review or they don’t have anything outstanding from last year. You’re not going to always see everybody under scoring and you’re not going to always see everybody under goals and notes because they might be in different cycles of the system. Good question.

Closing Out Reviews Waiting on Approvals

Here we’re going to go ahead and take a look at the approvers that are in progress. We’re still sorted by the approver column and we have four documents where the approver is in progress. Michelle’s question was “Can we tell who an approver is for an employee?” So who’s holding up this process? Michelle you absolutely can. How we’re going to do that is if we wanted to see who the approver for this appraisal on Michael Scott was we could click on the document, it’s going to take us here, and we can look at details. We can see who it’s waiting on. It’s waiting on David Wallace, that is the person that is holding up the process. We do have to look at them each individually, there’s no way to show that report, but it is super easy. Again it’s just details on the actual appraisal and it will show you who it’s waiting on.


We could do that with each of our four. If we wanted to see who Jan was waiting on we could go ahead and say details, and we see it’s actually waiting on her acknowledgment in this case. You can know who to follow-up with depending on where you’re at in the situation. You can either follow-up with that approver, or the employee acknowledger, and have them finish it. Once that does happen this will become a green checkmark and you could archive it just like we just did. However if we’re this far delayed in the process or you really just are needing to get this cleaned up we often suggest a bulk cancel of the approval request and then a bulk archive. What that would mean is that we would cancel the request for approval and we would actually close this document without any approvals. The pro is obviously that it finished the cycle and it preserves all of the information that we can. The one con to this, or one risk, is that it does lose any approval that was given. We can’t archive a partially approved document so we actually have to clear out any approvals and archive them without it.


It is important to note that when we do archive the appraisal is available to the employee. They’re not necessarily emailed, especially if you turn off your emails, so they’re not emails and notified that this is here go to look at it but if they were to log into the system they would have access to it. It’s important maybe to ask a manager in those cases, “Hey you did have this conversation” or “Hey you’ve presented this even if you didn’t take those steps in Trakstar.” That’s typically our advice. To bulk cancel that approval request we can select everyone just like we did before and then we’d go ahead and say bulk edit. We can go ahead down here and cancel the approval request. This gives you that same warning that I just said, which is it does cancel out and loses any existing approval responses and comments but we’re going to be okay with that in this case and I’m going to go ahead and cancel approval.

Closing Out Unfinished Reviews

Once I’ve done that I actually have access to archive them. As an administrator you can archive a document once the employee has completed or overridden their self appraisal and once the manager is done. You don’t actually have to wait for that approval if you’re an administrator, so here we’ll be able to archive all those completed appraisals as well. We’re going to take that action and then we’ll go back and talk a little bit about some of the other scenarios. Again I’m going to come back to appraisals and scoring and we see that we’re making progress, right? We started this I think at 17, now we’re down to nine. We see that no one is in that approval column now, so that means that the next step that someone would have finished is the manager appraisal. I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to sort by manager completion. Here we have a couple scenarios.


Here the manager did theirs but the employee did not, same here. So Michael Scott did two and the employees did not. Then here the employee and the manager did it. What I might do in this case is I might override the self appraisal here. I want to preserve the manager data but I need to get this closed out, and at this point don’t need the self appraisal from the employee because we’re probably moving into a new cycle soon. In this case I’m going to go ahead and select the document. Then I have the option to take some action and the action I’m going to take here is to override the self appraisal. You can manually push that through as an administrator, and when we come back to scoring we’ll see that there is now that red X there because we’ve overridden the ability in order to close this out. I’m going to do the same thing here, I’m going to action and I’m going to override the self appraisal.


Once I’ve done that I’ll now have the ability to archive these three because again all we really require for archiving is that manager completion. If your manager has completed that is the bare minimum requirement to archive in Trakstar, and that’s what I’m going to go ahead and do in these cases. Again I’m going to bulk edit and then I’m going to go ahead and archive the completed appraisals. Are there any questions about that kind of reset process? If it seems overwhelming or you have a lot of employees in these states you can always give us a call and we’ll do what we call a rest with you, which is taking some time to go through your actual site and take these actions, and talk through pros and cons of the different ways. We wanted to include this section in preparing for the appraisal cycle just because it is important that you get last years documents closed, reset before you start this year’s. That’s just to preserve data integrity and make sure everyone has a new clean document to start working on.


Now we’re down to six. In these cases we see that the manager didn’t do them in any of these six examples. This is the trickier part because as I just said you can’t archive a document without the manager review. What we typically would suggest in these cases is to make a PDF of the employees’ reviews so we don’t lose that information, then we’d go ahead and maybe upload it to their employee folder or email it to them and their manager. Then we’re going to go ahead and most likely cancel these documents. The other option would be to extend this period, so to change the due date here for current due date or the next upcoming due date but the self appraisal has already been submitted so in those cases you’d have to resend the self appraisal back to the employee. They could use what they’d written six months ago or a year ago and edit it, or make some changes. Often times we find it just better to start fresh. A lot changes in three months, six months, and especially in a year so giving them access to what they entered via that PDF but ultimately having them restart is the best approach.


Any questions on that? I am going to go ahead and just cancel these, especially these that didn’t have any work done, that means that no self appraisal and no manager appraisal was done. We can go ahead and just select all with that nice new feature up here. Then again we just bulk edit and we’re going to go ahead and cancel. Again our emails are off so we’re not sending off any emails to employees or managers while we’re doing this cleanup, that’s an important piece to remember. Then I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to come back to the scoring page. Now finally on the scoring page we have everybody at zero which is ideally what you want to see prior to starting your next cycle because that means everybody is in that goals and notes phase.


If you do do appraisals on anniversary date, or hire date, or different schedules of course there’s going to be some in scoring at all times because everyone’s going to be at a different spot. That’s why I typically sort by due date and just focus on the ones that are past due to take those actions. That is the first section for preparing for the appraisal cycle. The first thing that we’re going to always have you do is check last years appraisals and really getting those closed out or finished. A lot of times admins want to be ambitious or think that people are going to get them done, and often our experience and our recommendation is just to take what work has been done, save it, and then just move on and reset everybody. Give them a new due date, give them new document, and maybe figure out a different way to try to engage them or include them for this year.

Updating Employee/Manager Information

The second part about preparing for an appraisal cycle is making sure employees are in the right position and are assigned to the right manager. Over the course of the year a lot of things can change. You might have added new employees, you might need to terminate employees, and often that means manager changes. You might need to change someone’s manager and I’m going to talk about that first. My favorite way to figure out who’s reporting to who is actually to look at the organization chart. I think this can be really helpful visually to identify who is not rolling up to the correct person. Your organization chart is located under reports and then organization chart. Here we see that we have two people up at the top of the org, David Wallace is kind of the top-top. Then we have Ryan Howard and we can keep expanding outwards. Here we might see that Jim, and Oscar, and Toby are the main managers and they have some employees that roll up to them. If maybe Toby has left the organization then we’re going to need to reassign Kelly and terminate Toby. These are the things that we want to think about.


Let’s use Kelly as an example, so if I know Kelly does not report to Toby anymore I’d go ahead and I’d go to her profile. Going to come back to employees. I’m going to search for Kelly Kapoor, I’m going to open her profile. Here in the appraisal [inaudible 00:23:16] information I see that she has a manager and her position. I’m going to go ahead and say edit and I’m going to select a new manager from the list. You see that this list of managers is actually small. It’s not a many people as there are in the organization. That’s because this list is only going to pull individuals that have already been identified as a manager. If you promoted someone to be Kelly’s manager and they’re not in this list yet we would actually need to go their profile, and I’m going to use Kelly’s as an example. You would edit and you would include the manager role on that person’s profile. Here we’d check yes that they’re also a manager. Then if we did that they would appear in the dropdown.


I’m going to go ahead and I am going to change her manager. Let’s say she’s going to go ahead and report to Jan in this case. I’m going to get a question. I’m going to get a question that says options for Kelly Kapoor’s goals and notes appraisal with customer service that’s due in November of this year. I can leave it with he current manager, which is Toby; I can reassign; or I can cancel. We get a lot of questions about this. If you left it with Toby it would mean that he would finish this appraisal and the moving forward it could go to Jan. If you reassign it to Jan it just means if there was any scoring data, so if there was a self appraisal or anything entered by Toby on the scoring appraisal that would all be reassigned to Jan. We also have the option to cancel the appraisal and just create a brand new one.

Org Chart Updates and In Progress Reviews

My option here as long as you’re in goals and notes is to go ahead and cancel. Canceling it does not delete any notes and it does not delete any goals or measurements that you might have added, but it just creates a brand new document under Jan. If this document was in scoring, so if we didn’t get a chance to update it prior to it going into scoring, we would typically advise to reassign and that’s just to preserve any scoring data that you might have entered. We ideally, like I said, want to assign these to new managers where the appraisal’s in goals and notes not when it’s in scoring. Preparing you for the appraisal cycle is getting these reassigned. In this case I am going to go ahead and cancel. Let me know if there are any questions on that. I know it’s a more complex situation than some in Trakstar. I’m happy to talk through that as well. Once we make the selection we’ll just go ahead and click save and then that’s going to update her manager to Jan. Her manager for that appraisal is now Jan, and her manager just in general is Jan.


Ellen asked a great question, “If reassigning are notes saved?” Yes, absolutely Ellen. When we reassign, or cancel, or leave notes are always saved. Notes are something in Trakstar that we are going to preserve above all because obviously that information was entered, so yes notes are absolutely saved when you reassign or even if you cancel. We talked a little bit about managers, now we’re going to talk about positions. We’ll use Kelly here. Maybe Kelly is no longer in customer service so we also need to edit and update her position. Here we’re going to see that we have a dropdown list of positions. She could be in human resources, or in logistics, maybe the office manager now. Let’s say she got promoted to quality control. I’m going to go ahead and select quality control and then I’m going to get a very similar question. I’m going to be asked if I should leave the appraisal with customer service or if we should move it to quality control.


Again if they were promoted in this past year and in November she should be evaluated on quality control we’re going to ahead and want to hit cancel. If it’s only after her November review that she’s going to be moving to quality control we might leave it with customer service. This last appraisal would be finished out and the her job would be recognized as quality control. Again another reason that we only want to make these changes in goals and notes is for some organizations your appraisal form actually changes. If you have a different job you might be asked different questions so you want to be really aware of changing these before going into scoring. If we didn’t and she started working on her appraisal for customer service, but really this year she’s been in quality control and we change that halfway through she’s going to use that self appraisal information that she entered. We will keep notes but if she’s entered any scoring or answers to questions about customer service and she’s moved to quality control halfway through we will lose that information. Same if her manager had started as well.


Let’s say that she is going to move to quality control, so I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to say let’s make it. We’re going to cancel out the customer service one and from here on out she’s quality control. I’m going to hit save and then that’s going to update it. Now we have a position of quality control and a new manager. If you were trying to change a position and you did not see the position that you wanted here, let’s say she’s a consultant and you don’t have consultant in the system but that’s what she needed to have as her position, you can create a new position in the system but you have to do it under forms and then positions. This is where we house your big list of positions for everyone. If you need to add a new position, you’ve hired someone new and they’re filling a new space, you’re going to come to form and positions and then you’re going to add that position.

Adding a New Position / New Review Form

Here let’s say she’s a consultant and we’re going to create that. You’d then design your consultant position. You’d tell us what templates or what sections should go on here, or if you’re consultant position is actually going to be the same as maybe the regional manager you could actually copy the regional manager and fill the consultant with that content. That’s a nice workaround if your forms are all the same or some are the same, maybe by department. You can do that here. You do want to make sure that you enter content into that new position that you’ve built because if you don’t it’s going to be blank and that’s what that little orange caution cone means, you have a blank position. You don’t want that. We always want to make sure that all of our positions are outlined and filled before going into scoring or you’re going to get some very confused employees.


Any questions on adding a new position or why it’s important that you tell us what content to go on that appraisal? All right. Keep me posted if there are. That’s part two. We’ve reset last year’s cycle, we made sure that everybody’s under the correct manager and the correct position. If you do want to see where everyone is under position my favorite way to do that is to come to the employee’s tab and then you can actually sort by the position column. You can take note of who is under what. Here are our accountants, someone in human resources, one logistics manager, two office managers, and you can go on from there. You can also export this if it’s easier for you to look at in Excel, you’re more than welcome to do that.

Verifying or Updating Review Due Dates

Step three for preparing for the appraisal cycle is updating the due date and that scoring window. Your appraisals are going to occur on the schedule that you sent in the processes. Everyone is in our annual process and we can see what our schedule is. Here our schedule is 11/28, so it’s going to happen every year on 11/28. You can change it if you want the change to be going forward here or you can change this year’s document. If we come to appraisals and we know all of our appraisals are in goals and notes right now that’s great. We could go ahead and we could select everyone, and then we could both update their date to be something different. If we actually wanted this to be 11/30 or 12/01 because this falls right around Thanksgiving in the States we could say bulk edit, and we could change our due date. Let’s go ahead and move it to December 1st. That’s a Friday, that’ll be good. We’ll go from there. You can bulk update that appraisal due date here.


Next year we’re still going to go back to that 11/28 date but for this year and this year only we’re going to have it be on 12/01 to avoid that Thanksgiving holiday. When I come back to goals and notes you’ll see that they’re all still in goals and notes but they now have that new due date of 12/01. A lot of times we have people say update their due date, maybe make it sooner. They want people to start working on them now but they’re still not in scoring. What triggers something to move from the goals and notes section to the scoring section is the scoring window in relation to the due date. The way we think about it is that there should be a set amount of time to complete an appraisal prior to the due date. If this appraisal is for 2016 they might not want to work on them starting in July because half the year hasn’t happened yet. Typically we find that closer to the end of the cycle, or and of the year in this case, they will open it and our typical scoring window is about 30 days.


You can go ahead and see what your scoring window is under processes. Again we’re going to go to processes and edit our annual. Here we see that our appraisal is 30 days before the due date. This is very easy to edit. You can edit and update this, you can type in anything from one to 365 here depending on what your needs are. Most of the time we’re going to recommend you keep something pretty standard like 30 days, or 45 days, or 60 days. Those are set increments. However a lot of people want a very specific open date. They want it to open on a Monday or they want to communicate it and then do a big push and have them open the next day. That’s totally fine. When we get asked about how to calculate that, how to count back, it’s really hard. We use here at Trakstar a tool outside of the system called It’s one of my favorite resources to share with clients because it takes out the human error.


Here what we would do is we’d set a start date of 12/01. Then we’re going to count back from there. 12/01 of 2016 and I’m going to subtract what we have right now as our scoring window, 30 days. I’m going to calculate what that would mean and that means that we’re going to open things on Tuesday November 1st. That’s pretty straightforward, it’s very standard. However if I really wanted it to open on Monday October 31st, because that’s the start of the week and that’s when you wanted to make the announcement, I could play around with the date. If I know I increase the scoring window 31 days and I calculate the new date it’s going to be Monday October 31st. This is super helpful because we’ll get calls sometimes or somebody will say I want it to open on October 14th and close on December 12th, because those are the dates they’ve picked or those are the deadlines that they need and that’s totally fine.


We use this tool to help calculate those things that aren’t as static as one month, or three weeks. This is a great resource if you need it. People try to count backwards on a calendar and it just never works out. We’re always like one day off. They’ve counted and then they think it’s going to go out today but it actually goes out tomorrow, or they don’t think it’s going to go out until tomorrow and it goes out today. I just default to this if someone calls and asks me, this us what I do in order to help them calculate their scoring window.


Again we’d go ahead and maybe we want to say 31 days and we’d go ahead and save. I’m going to confirm and we now know that it’s been open 31 days prior to December 1st which is Monday October 31st. Again we’re doing this all now prior to that open date. We’re setting everything up, we’re cleaning everything up so that on Monday October 31st when [inaudible 00:35:36] or hen you send your email out to announce scoring everything is correct. They’re under the right manager, they have a new document, they have the correct position, and they’re good to go. That’s really the definition of preparing for the appraisal cycle.

Performance Review Email Notifications

The last piece that I said we were going to talk about today is emails. As you remember in the beginning I had us turn off our emails under settings and company, so they’re still disabled but that doesn’t mean we can’t edit or at least take a look at our emails. I’m going to go ahead and under settings I’m going to select emails. In this case we’re going to pay specific attention to the score appraisal emails. These are the ones that are automatically going to be sent out. Our first two, which are pretty standard. Your Trakstar site might have different emails than this but I’m going to talk in generality. Any emails I talk about today you can have in your Trakstar site, we would just need to build them if they’re not already there or we might need to turn them on or adjust them.


First general emails that we always have are the first two listed. We’re going to email the manager when the appraisal enters scoring mode and we’re going to email the employee when the appraisal enter scoring mode. Those are the automatic emails that are going to go out when it turns Monday October 31st. It catches a lot of people by surprise that these actually go out just after midnight. They don’t go out when you set your time. A lot of people have email reminders go out at 8am or 7am, these actually will go out between midnight and two because it’s an action. As soon as it become Monday October 31st or becomes the day that you’ve opened your scoring it’s an action and these emails are triggered. Just a little pro-tip there. Surprises some people so I like to mention it.


After that you’ll see a series of reminder emails and you can see who it’s going to. So manager, manager; employee, employee. Then you’ll also see some red and some green. Green means it’s before the due date so we’re telling them that it’s coming up to be due. Red means it’s after the due date, meaning hey you’re passed due you need to go ahead and turn this in. Something we would suggest is taking a look at especially the before the due date emails. This is set to go out 26 days before the due date, 21 days before the due date, 14, and seven. That’s great given that my scoring window in 31. On the 31 days out it’s going to send this one, then 26 days out it’s going to send this one, 21 out, 14 out, and so on. If we shortened my window and I’d set it to say 20 days we would actually not send these two reminders because the appraisal wouldn’t be in scoring when they’re set to go out.


Keeping these dates in relation to how big your scoring window is is really important. I helped a company yesterday increase their scoring window to 60, totally fine but they might want to add some additional reminders, right? Or they’re only going to get one reminder at 60 and then 30 days later they’re going to get one. More than 20 days later, 30 days later they’re going to get one here. You might want to increase that and have one go out at the 30 day mark, and the 25 day mark, and so on. You can also edit these. If you want to see what they say or add in anything you can hit edit, you can change these dates. If you wanted this to go out 27 days before we could update that and we can add additional ones if we wanted. If we wanted another one we’re going to add a relative reminder and it’s going to be maybe four days before the due date.


Then we can actually change the content. If you wanted to add something in here you’re more than welcome to. You can delete stuff, add personalization, sign your name. Whatever you think will work best as far as communicating with them. You can also change the subject line if you want it to be a little catchier. Something I would suggest is just taking a look or an audit of your emails to make sure that it doesn’t have any static dates in it. We have some admins that really like to update, like your self appraisals should be in on this date but that date is probably for the past cycle or the past year. My recommendation is just to take stock of what’s bene entered here and make sure that no customization has been entered or at least update the customization that has been entered to make sure that it’s correct for this cycle. Once you’ve gone ahead and done that audit of the emails you would want to make sure that you turn your emails back on in general.


We’ve done the four main steps of preparing for the appraisal cycle and once we’ve completed that and we feel good about our site being all cleaned up we’d go ahead and we’d want to turn these back on. We’d say enabled and then we’d Save. Again just to recap, the first thing that we’re going to do to prepare for the appraisal cycle as we’re going to go to appraisals. We’re going to see what’s going on here, so are there outstanding documents still in scoring. If not, you have a zero here, you’re good to go. You’ve already completed step on because everybody’s in goals and notes. The second thing you’re going to do is maybe take a look at your org chart. We’re going to look at reports and then org chart to check our management structure. Do we need to make somebody a new manager? Do we need to add someone? Do we need to terminate or do we need to move some people around?


After that you might check the position list and that’s to make sure that everybody’s in the correct position, we have everyone where they need to be, we create any new positions that haven’t been added to the site, and so on. Next up we would go ahead and check our due dates, when things are due. Then we might change our scoring window to accommodate a specific schedule that we’re trying to achieve and we’d go ahead and do that under processes. The last thing, and that fourth step, is again settings and emails. Just a quick look or an audit of when your emails are going out. Make sure that the language in them is appropriate for this year and that you’ve changed any triggers if needed.


That is everything I had for you. Those are my four big steps to prepare for the appraisal cycle. I’m happy to stay on and answer any other questions that you guys might have. Thank you all so much for pending your morning/afternoon with me today. If you do disconnect from the webinar I would just ask if you wouldn’t mind taking a few minutes to fill out that survey. It asks, I think, two questions which is basically just what you would like to see webinars on in the future and if this one was helpful. Thank you all so much for joining. I’m going to end the recording there and I’m going to stay on if you guys do have additional questions.