How to Pull Off a Successful Performance Evaluation

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It should be no surprise that most people, from managers and employees to a fair number of HR professionals would rather see the performance review become a practice of the past. They can dredge up anxieties, compromise productivity and company morale, and wind up causing a whole mess of trouble if handled incorrectly. That being said, there are some invaluable reasons for perfecting the process and integrating it into a company’s standard practices.

How evaluations can be essential

A performance evaluation provides employers with the perfect opportunity to recognize an employee’s accomplishments. That can lead to addressing standards for the workplace and valuable feedback the individual can use moving forward. Offering positive feedback can help employees build upon their achievements and aid them in guiding their progress in the workplace.

Goals should play an integral part in developing good work habits and performance. Performance evaluations are best used to as a way to review an employee’s performance and help them improve or to continue doing well. This is also where an individual can share any feedback or problems they’re having, which creates a dialogue between employee and employer.

The four big perks of a performance evaluation (done right) for employees include:

  • Feedback
  • Direction
  • Input
  • Motivation

How many times have you heard an employee “wonder” about what they can do to make a bigger impression on the company, or to advance in their career? Well, with a performance evaluation you can help your employees answer those questions.

Performance evaluation formats: finding what works best for your company

Companies have the option of a few different formats when they want to hold a performance evaluation, but some methods are better than others—namely, the on-going evaluation.

See, the problem with traditional, formal ranking, and 360 reviews lies in their inability to provide genuinely insightful feedback without consuming too much of your time. There’s also an unsurprising lack of follow through and consistency, often to the point that few understand why the performance evaluation is necessary in the first place. This brings us back to the original issue of “why don’t we just give up on performance evaluations altogether?”

Using an on-going performance evaluation format removes the need for abstract rankings and actually cuts down on the amount of time you spend on evaluations because it becomes a regular, “ongoing” process. It’s the simplest way to leave room for new tactics and changes in how your company works. If you want to preserve the practice of employee performance evaluations, it’s best to approach it as an evolving, continuing process.

However you might decide to perform an evaluation, it’s wise to create a “we” mentality; that is, help the employee understand that it’s not a “you versus them.” Your goal should be to foster self-esteem, motivate, and focus on the professional to better aid their growth as an individual and as a member of the team. Make sure to approach evaluations using SMART goals, too!

Best Practices for implementing ongoing evaluations

Managers have a duty to provide employees with actionable feedback. This means giving them direction, guidance, or praise that can be used to motivate their actions moving forward. You’ll never be doing anyone any favors by sugarcoating or giving free passes, so be sure to remain objective and honest—but not at the expense of your empathy. Remain constructive, true to your company’s core values, and express your feedback in a way that will help the employee improve or maintain their success.

Here are three key best practices to remember in your preparation for perfecting the evaluation process:

  1. Train managers to understand the process and make sure they know why evaluations are important. They shouldn’t be treated like a chore or formality—they give supervisors AND employees an opportunity to learn and grow.
  2. Learn how to perform self-evaluations, and extend that same skill to employees. By setting standards and expectations, employees will better understand what they have to do to succeed and feedback they hear at an evaluation won’t be as surprising or out of the norm.
  3. Utilize HR in the process. They can make sure you’re doing everything you can to make the experience informative and positive for the employee, but also help you cover all your legal bases.

The performance evaluation might seem like a dreaded affair but it doesn’t have to be. For companies that are serious about honing their company culture and being clear in their mission and purpose, evaluations are a fantastic way to keep those things front of mind with employees. We can help make the performance evaluation en vogue again and help you reap the benefits of a well thought-out process!

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