Most firms do annual employee evaluations. Some managers do them well. In too many cases, both the evaluator and the evaluatee look forward to the process with about as much enthusiasm as a trip to the dentist. Perhaps you are a manager who cringes at the thought of doing employee evaluations because you find it difficult to judge or rank people. While you're not alone with that thought, there are things that you can do to not only make it easier for yourself, but also make the process more effective.
Let's look at the employee evaluation process - the reasons for doing it, some methods for approaching the process and even some different ideas to try. Bottom line: Done properly, an employee review/evaluation can be a productivity-enhancing coaching opportunity that pays big dividends for your organization.
Reasons for evaluations Employee evaluations provide the manager and the employee with honest and accurate feedback on performance in order to set performance goals and the employee's salary. There are other motives for these evaluations as well.
As you look at the dynamics between a supervisor and employee, most workers want to know where they stand with their supervisors. They value knowing what is expected of them. Feedback helps them understand what work is being done well, what needs to be changed or corrected, and the positive or negative consequences of their performance.
Performance evaluation is a useful process which validates recruiting and hiring: Are you bringing in employees who are capable of performing the duties the job requires? It is also a critical tool in assessing your feed and grain firm's training and staff development programs. Finally, annual evaluations serve as the first step in addressing problematic or poor employee performance.
Approaches to evaluation Two items should be in place long before the actual evaluation.First, a good job description is essential for the basis for an evaluation. It should detail the functions of the employee's position, and provide a good understanding of the employee's job duties. This cannot be the description drafted in 1958 when the mill was started. It needs to be current, and the employee must know what is expected. How can you possibly evaluate a person who really has no idea as to what the "measuring stick" is?
Second, an employee file is a useful accompaniment to the job evaluation. It should contain information about the employee accumulated throughout the evaluation cycle - work on special projects, training they received, commendations or complaints. As a part of the employee file, periodic reviews and comments should be added. This allows for timely, continuous and consistent performance feedback - which substitutes for the poor memory that some of us seem to have! (As an aside, while our focus here is the annual review, a good supervisor will have formal or informal conversations throughout the year with employees. There really should be few surprises either way during the annual review.)
Objectives and goals should have been prepared at the beginning of the previous management period. You as manager can then use the job description as a springboard to develop a set of performance goals for the employee. Often the approach here is for you and the employee todevelop your respective sets of goals, and then compare and have a "meeting of the minds" during the performance review. Your expectations should include basic standards of performance related to job duties, more subjective elements such as teamwork and communication. Clarity in your expectations is key. An employee cannot read your mind, nor be held accountable for something you can't articulate.
It is important to consider changes that may have occurred in your business during the evaluation cycle that may have affected your employee's performance, organizational or operational changes, such as the introduction of new technology, new procedures or staff shortages.