EPISODE 121
LEVEL B1 – B2

 

READING COMPREHENSION

 

Performance appraisals are essential for the effective management and evaluation of staff. Appraisals help develop individuals, improve organizational performance, and feed into business planning. Formal performance appraisals are generally conducted annually for all staff in the organization. Each staff member is appraised by their line manager. Directors are appraised by the CEO, who is appraised by the chairman or company owners, depending on the size and structure of the organization.

 

Annual performance appraisals enable management and monitoring of standards, agreeing expectations and objectives, and delegation of responsibilities and tasks. Staff performance appraisals also establish individual training needs and enable organizational training needs analysis and planning.

 

Performance appraisals also typically feed into organizational annual pay and grading reviews, which commonly also coincides with the business planning for the next trading year. They generally review each individual’s performance against objectives and standards for the trading year, agreed at the previous appraisal meeting. Performance appraisals are also essential for career and succession planning – for individuals, crucial jobs, and for the organization as a whole.

 

Annual performance appraisals are crucial for staff motivation, attitude and behaviour development, communicating and aligning individual and organizational aims, and fostering positive relationships between management and staff. Moreover, they provide a formal, recorded, regular review of an individual’s performance, and a plan for future development.

 

Job performance appraisals – in whatever form they take – are therefore vital for managing the performance of people and organizations.

 

Managers and appraisees commonly dislike appraisals and try to avoid them. To these people the appraisal is daunting and time-consuming. The process is seen as a difficult administrative chore and emotionally challenging. The annual appraisal is maybe the only time since last year that the two people have sat down together for a meaningful one-toone discussion. No wonder then that appraisals are stressful – which then defeats the whole purpose.

 

There is increasingly a need for performance appraisals of staff and especially managers, directors and CEO’s, to include accountabilities relating to corporate responsibility, represented by various converging corporate responsibility concepts including: the ‘Triple Bottom Line’ (‘profit people planet’); corporate social responsibility (CSR); Sustainability; corporate integrity and ethics, fair trade, etc. The organization must decide the extent to which these accountabilities are reflected in job responsibilities, which would then naturally feature accordingly in performance appraisals.

 

Adapted from BusinessBalls.com

 

Exercise 1

 

Find the words or expressions in the text which mean the following:

 

1) very important: __________
2) to contribute into something: __________
3) happening every year: __________
4) to make something possible: __________
5) to match so that two things fit together: __________
6) to happen at the same time: __________
7) documented: __________
8) depressing, overwhelming: __________
9) being responsible for something: ___________
10)to make something easier or more doable: __________
11)the most important, underlying idea: __________
12)to bring together: __________
13)having a unified structure, attitude, morality, not deviating: __________

 

 

Exercise 2

 

Match the expressions from the two columns into logical collocations:

 

1) staff                                             performance
2) organizational                          the purpose
3) a line                                          responsibilities
4) to monitor                                manager
5) to delegate                                evaluation
6) grading                                      responsibility
7) to review something               planning
8) succession                                reviews
9) to defeat                                   against standards
10)corporate                                 standards

 

Exercise 3

 

Provide English equivalents of these expressions:

 

1) bezpośredni przełożony
2) ocena pracownika
3) planowanie objęcia stanowiska
4) przyczyniać się do czegoś
5) sedno sprawy
6) należycie udokumentowany
7) roczny / coroczny
8) umożliwiać coś
9) delegowanie obowiązków
10)nadzór nad przestrzeganiem standardów
11)czasochłonny
12)odpowiedzialność korporacyjna

 

Grammar corner…

 

It has been mentioned on numerous occasions that in Business English you have to be impersonal and indirect, otherwise you may offend something and lose the deal. In business communication we tend to avoid finger pointing and blame storming, which is why we often say things that seem neutral, yet we imply something different. We do it using passive voice, obviously. But you can also use a psychological trick of saying NO or NOT in front of a positive word, because  the brain does not understand it and will focus on the positive message:-)

Compare: It’s a BAD idea. OR It’s not a very GOOD idea.

Which one seems nicer? To also soften the message, you may add: actually, rather,
quite, or slightly, for instance: you performed slightly better last year.

 

 

Exercise 4

 

Transform the sentences to sound less harsh:

 

1) We’re unhappy with your performance. => _____________________________
2) This is most inconvenient. => I’m afraid _____________________________
3) We can’t accept your offer. => Unfortunately, we_____________________________
4) We want a bigger discount. => We were hoping_____________________________
5) Your products are very expensive. => Your products seem_____________________________
6) You must give us more time. => Actually, we would appreciate_____________________________
7) Don’t forget the terms of the contract! => I’m sure you don’t need to be_____________________________
8) It will be unmarketable => I’m afraid it will not_____________________________
9) We’re getting nowhere => I’m sorry, but we don’t seem_____________________________
10)You said the shipment was on its way => It was understood that_____________________________

 

GLOSSARY

 

essential – istotny
to feed into something – przyczyniać się do czegoś
annually – rocznie
to enable something – umożliwić coś
to coincide with something  – wydarzyć się w zbiegu z
to align – zgrać ze sobą
recorded – udokumentowany
daunting – przygnębiające (np. zadanie)
accountability – odpowiedzialność
to foster something – ułatwiać / propagować
the bottom line – sedno sprawy
to converge – połączyć
integrity – spójność
staff evaluation – ocena pracownika
line manager – bezpośredni przełożony
to monitor – nadzorować / sprawować nadzór
to delegate – zlecić pracownikowi niższemu rangą, delegować
succession – następstwo, objęcie stanowiska po kimś
to defeat the purpose – mijać się z celem
sustainable – zrównoważony (np. rozwój)
accordingly – stosownie (np. do okazji)
grading review – ocena mająca na celu ustalenie pensji
finger pointing – wskazywanie palcem
blame storming – rozpaczliwe szukanie winch
shipment – transport
to appreciate – doceniać, zyskiwać na wartości
terms of the contract – postanowienia umowy
to seem – wydawać się
actually – właściwie (jako przerywnik)
to review against standards – ocenić w oparciu o kryteria

 

 

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>>Answers

 

ANSWER KEY:

Ex. 1
1) crucial / essential
2) to feed into something
3) annually
4) to enable something
5) to align sth
6) to coincide
7) recorded
8) daunting
9) accountability
10)to foster something
11)the bottom line
12)to converge
13)integrity

Ex. 2
1) staff evaluation
2) organizational performance
3) a line manager
4) to monitor standards
5) to delegate responsibilities
6) grading review
7) to review something against standards
8) succession planning
9) to defeat the purpose
10)corporate responsibility

Ex. 3
1) line manager
2) staff evaluation
3) succession planning
4) to feed into something
5) the bottom line
6) well recorded
7) annual
8) to enable something
9) delegating responsibilities
10)monitoring standards
11)time-consuming
12)corporate responsibility
!

Ex. 4
1) We’re not very happy with your performance.
2) I’m afraid this isn’t very convenient?
3) Unfortunately, we’re unable to accept your offer.
4) We were hoping for a slightly bigger discount.
5) Your products seem rather expensive.
6) Actually, we would appreciate a little more time.
7) I’m sure you don’t need to be reminded about the terms of the contract.
8) I’m afraid it will not be very marketable.
9) I’m sorry but we don’t seem to be getting very far.
10)It was understood that the shipment was on its way.

 

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