Massachusetts Medical Society: Patient Experience: The Importance of Staff Performance Appraisals

Patient Experience: The Importance of Staff Performance Appraisals


In a world where patient experience metrics continue to gain increasing importance, it is no secret that staff satisfaction and job competencies may often influence patient care. Implementing a process to measure staff performance and hold individuals accountable to delivering great service is extremely important. In today’s health care environment, staff performance appraisals are a vital tool in the creating a culture of continuous ­improvement.

Documented staff performance appraisals and evaluations should take place annually and include a review and discussion of performance, based on results and facts, not opinions, which help the manager determine the staff member’s performance gaps and successes. Once gaps are identified and communicated to the employee, steps to improve performance can be taken and a timeline for follow-up and review can be established.

There are five key components that an evaluator may consider in establishing a successful, formal performance appraisal process:

  1. Defining the requirements of the job 
    Typically, this includes the job title, brief summary of the job, and specific duties. Additionally, qualifications, experience, education, and skills needed for job related tasks are included. The job requirements should be shared with the employee during the hiring process so that the staff member understands the expectations of the role.
  2. Establishing standards of performance 
    When considering metrics for performance, the standards should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. A rating system — such as exceeds, meets, fails to meet expectations — can be used to maintain consistency across practice staff and minimize personal opinions that may affect the review.
  3. Monitoring performance
    Managers should continuously be observing staff performance and demeanor between appraisals. Mid-year reviews or other defined check points may help in working with staff on improving performance over time.
  4. Writing the performance appraisal
    Organizations should consider using a standard form to capture and deliver consistent information across the organization. Adjustments may be necessary to capture the expectations for different staff types (i.e., clinical vs. administrative support). Some considerations include, focusing on the entire review period and objective behavior, supporting the evaluation with specific examples of employee behavior, using words that are measurable assessments of employees’ strengths and weakness, and setting goals for improvement that can be objectively measured.
  5. Conducting the performance appraisal meeting
    Being prepared is paramount for success. Reaffirming employee strengths and addressing areas for additional education or improvement can help in setting a positive tone. Ideally, the meeting serves as a two-way conversation, so the employee can voice comments and concerns and a plan for any necessary improvements can be agreed upon by both parties. The employee appraisal process should include recognizing the individuals’ training and development needs, genuine employee recognition, linking organizational and personal/professional goals and objectives, improving productivity and efficiency, and providing written documentation.

For additional information please visit


Share on Facebook

New: Advertise With MMS

Increase your brand awareness and visibility to physicians and the general public through advertising space on the MMS website and several MMS email newsletters.

Read More »

Subscribe to e-Newsletters

Stay on the cutting edge of medicine by subscribing to free MMS e-newsletters. Choose from up to ten subject areas including physician and patient advocacy, public health, CME, daily health care news, and more. 

Sign Up »

NEJM Resident 360  Ad

Copyright © 2018. Massachusetts Medical Society, 860 Winter Street, Waltham Woods Corporate Center, Waltham, MA 02451-1411

(781) 893-4610 | (781) 893-3800 | Member Information Hotline: (800) 322-2303 x7311