Mention evaluating employees and you’ll hear the groans, from business owners and employees alike. For many, employee evaluations have come to symbolize a thankless chore and something to avoid and put off for as long as possible. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
There’s real value, for you and your employees, in evaluating them, because evaluation tools measure performance, aptitude and skill, according to the Houston Chronicle’s smallbusiness.chron.com. There are all kinds of ways to evaluate job performance, both qualitatively and quantitatively, but the fundamental importance is this: An employee evaluation will help you determine if an employee’s skill set is a good match for his or her job.
When you change your thinking about the employee evaluation process, from a dreaded task to a positive exploration, you’ll reap benefits in a number of key areas:
- Strengths and weaknesses. Understanding them is an absolute necessity for you and your employees, both individually and collectively.
- Training and development. How else can you provide effective training than first knowing how employees are performing today?
- Performance goals. Ditto performance goals, which can be realistic and beneficial when they’re based on solid evaluation.
- Recognition and rewards. Evaluations give you a structure for recognizing hard work, dedication and commitment.
If you don’t have a formalized employee evaluation process in place, make it a priority for the coming year. If your business is large enough to have a human resources person or department, planning for and implementing an employee evaluation program should be a collaborative process between you and HR. And if you don’t have on-staff HR people, experts suggest you engage an HR consultant. You’ll need to rely on their expertise for this critical feedback tool that is a key motivator for your employees.
Smallbusiness.chron.com also provides some thoughts on how to implement an employee evaluation program:
- Compare the various evaluation methods (360-degree reviews, self-evaluation, etc.) in terms of which are most appropriate for your business.
- Ask others (managers, supervisors) to weigh in.
- Work with HR (or your HR consultant) to customize the method selected to your business. Your company philosophy, mission and values should be woven into employee performance standards and expectations.
- Develop a training program for everyone who’s going to be using the new evaluation tools.
- Have an all-employee event or meeting to introduce and explain the new program to employees, especially the benefits to the company and to them as individuals.
- Establish (and stick to) key dates for kickoff, completion of evaluations and outcomes, such as bonuses and other rewards.
So, it’s one thing to imagine an employee evaluation program and to implement it. Now comes the most critical part of the process: Actually writing evaluations that are honest, fair and productive. As with anything else, experts provide some specific “dos and don’ts.” The good news is you’ll have no trouble finding resources to guide you! We especially like Business Management Daily’s excellent report: 10 Secrets to an Effective Performance Review. It includes “examples and tips on writing employee reviews, performance evaluation, sample performance review and employee evaluation forms.” Check it out.
But sometimes seeing what not to do can be helpful, too. That’s why we were also intrigued by 10 ways to ruin an employee evaluation at cbsnews.com. Things to avoid include raising issues you can’t back up, discussing negative personality traits and venturing into off-limits areas. Sad to say, we’ve all been on the receiving end of some of these practices. But don’t be among those who destroy employee morale and motivation! Click the link above for the entire list.
Image courtesy of FrameAngel / FreeDigitalPhotos.net