Tip of the Week: Performance Appraisal and Feedback

Despite their importance, formal performance appraisal systems are often lacking.

One of the most difficult responsibilities that managers face is appraising the performance of employees. Pharmacists could potentially be placed in a position of pharmacist-in-charge, supervisor, or manager very soon after graduating, and even if they are not formally designated as a manager, pharmacists will have technicians and clerical staff who report to them.

Performance appraisals are difficult because we are providing feedback to people we probably know pretty well, and there could be much at stake in the review. There are a number of biases inherent to conducting a performance appraisal, such as the tendency to evaluate everyone similarly (central tendency), or too leniently (lenience), or around just 1 or 2 characteristics of the employee without considering the totality of their performance. But conducting formal appraisals is important to communicate the organization’s mission and performance standards while giving employees something to aim for and letting them know that their contributions are, or at least could be, of significant value, all while promoting equity and fairness.

A study by Siaw et al found performance feedback critical to the success of the Diabetes Multidisciplinary Experiential program, in order to establish collaboration between pharmacists and other members of the diabetes care team.1 The feedback provided consistent counseling opportunities as well as interdisciplinary collaboration.1

Despite their importance, formal performance appraisal systems are often lacking. Jee et al found that personnel in independent pharmacies as well as part-time pharmacists in larger organizations were seldom evaluated.2 When evaluations were carried out, they were often conducted by someone other than a pharmacist and were focused almost entirely on business targets. They also found that current performance systems are not useful in helping pharmacy personnel self-develop and improve their job performance.2

There are simple strategies to help pharmacists overcome their anxieties and deficiencies in fulfilling the important managerial role of performance evaluation. Inadequate or infrequent performance evaluations can result in poor employee performance, poor work attitudes, and failure to communicate the organization’s mission. Managers adept at conducting performance reviews might position themselves for even further career advancement.

Additional information about Performance Appraisal Systems can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e.

Shane P. Desselle, RPh, PhD, FAPhA, is a professor of social/behavioral pharmacy at Touro University in Vallejo, California.


Siaw MYL, Ang SW, Lee JY. Evaluation of the Diabetes, Multidisciplinary, Experiential (DIAMANTE) program for retail pharmacists: A mixed-method study. J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2017;37:116-122.

Jee SD, Jacobs S, Schafeutle EI, Elvey R, Hassell K, Noyce PR. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2013;9:155-165.