How to conduct an effective employee evaluation that will make a difference
Employee evaluations are something you may have experienced in the workplace either as a manager or employee. They aren’t the most favored things in companies and, as a result, aren’t done very well.
Why do people avoid them, you ask?
Well, giving feedback to someone can be pretty daunting. It makes people feel anxious, and managers don’t want to give employees bad feedback and risk breaking a good relationship.
Above all, there is also the issue of time.
That’s right – employee evaluations take time to plan, execute, and follow up on.
Managers have endless tasks waiting for them on any given day. Adding employee evaluation plans to that pile isn’t ideal.
So, is there a reason why managers should make an effort with evaluations? Do they really give you the value that you need to move forward and build a stronger relationship with your workers?
Here we’re going to dive into the details of employee evaluations, their value to organizations, the pros and cons of using them, and how best to create an effective employee evaluation experience.
What is an employee evaluation?
Definition: an employee evaluation is a planned and crafted performance review by a manager or supervisor for an employee.
They will discuss expectations against performance (where an employee either exceeded expectations, met expectations, or fell short) during a specific period.
Often managers compare an employee’s performance against a previous time period. This allows supervisors to see the employee’s gradual trend of improvements or shortfalls over a specified duration. For example, comparing performance in 2020 versus performance in 2021.
Pros and cons of employee evaluations
You may be asking yourself: ‘do employee evaluations really hit the mark in terms of improving employee performance?’.
The truth is, there are pros and cons to having employee evaluations in your organization. And performance reviews are different for each company. Some companies find them irreplaceable, and others do them because they hear it’s the right thing to do.
Let’s break down the pros and cons a bit more.
Employee evaluations: the pros
The first step in any evaluation is to set a date for that discussion to happen. This means that your review date is set far in advance for both managers and employees. This way, you have two things:
- A date to work towards
- Sufficient time for both parties to plan their feedback and discussion points
This makes for a more engaging conversation and leaves no room for awkward thinking-on-the-spot moments during the discussion.
Employee evaluations generally have a document that the manager creates. The document is designed to help keep the feedback points organized and structured. This means that any employee feedback is also filled in effectively without room for loose ends.
Following the evaluation, having organized feedback helps the manager summarize the conversation for their employee. Additionally, having everything in the same format allows managers across departments to compare feedback more easily.
You may feel that an evaluation is only between a supervisor and an employee. But it’s so much more than that. If you use effective employee evaluation software, you can share your review insights and feedback across the entire company.
Advanced software analyzes data and shares reports with you so that you can simply share your reports with upper management and not have to worry about creating graphs in Excel. This saves you time and helps you have more insightful conversations with management about your workers.
Employee evaluations: the cons
Results in complacency
Employees are used to having performance evaluations on an annual basis. Some companies have them every six months, but they only happen once a year for the most part. This means that workers don’t have to really bother about the evaluation until the date is close by.
The disadvantage is that employees may become complacent in their role and only work a little harder one month before their review. This happens more often when evaluations are directly linked to salary increases.
Each of us is different and has varying traits: some introverts, others extroverts. In the same way, some people love to engage with their supervisors and have an honest conversation about their performance.
But others may feel very anxious about it. People get nervous and are so afraid that the safety of their job is riding on the performance review. So much so that sometimes, they aren’t as honest as they should be in the discussion.
A 2019 Gallup study showed that 30% of U.S. workers felt so put off after receiving negative feedback on an evaluation that they started actively looking for another job. Only 10% of workers still felt engaged after receiving negative feedback.
This highlights how negative feedback is ineffective in motivating employees and why how evaluations are handled is critical.
A new approach in 2022
As you can see, there are many pros and cons to having employee evaluations implemented. More so, there are many ways in which reviews can go wrong. Plenty of managers out there feel like their evaluations aren’t up to par, and they feel that improving the evaluation process is crucial.
So, it’s time to take a new approach.
Let’s turn it on its head and review the best employee evaluation strategies in 2022.
How to effectively give an employee performance review:
Here are ten tips to help you implement an efficient and robust employee evaluation.
Tip 1: inform your people
Evaluations are attached to many things – training, promotions, and raises, to name a few. So, be fair and inform your employees at least one month before the evaluation date. This way, they have sufficient time to prepare and self-assess.
Tip 2: use good technology
Every evaluation needs to be planned, recorded, and referred to the following year. With advanced evaluation software, you can easily host everything on one platform. This way, nothing gets lost, and everything can be analyzed and shared. Easy as pie.
Tip 3: keep a standard template
I know you’re thinking, ‘yet another template’ – but don’t. Having a slick template will help you standardize all evaluations and become a familiar document to you. Quicker to access, even faster to fill in and analyze.
Tip 4: implement peer feedback
Peers know each other best. Take the time to ask peers to give feedback about their team members. If you’re struggling to get peers to open up about one another, try using the 360 feedback method. You may start to notice trends that will help you with your feedback and questions to an employee.
Tip 5: enable employees to self-assess
Employees’ self-assessment helps you gauge how far off their perception is from yours. Self-assessment questions also offer opportunities for discussion. Ask open-ended questions, keep it simple, and encourage honesty through the process.
Tip 6: prepare for the discussion
Take your feedback and categorize it into negative, positive, and open-for-discussion groups. This way, you know which categories to tackle in what order. Try to find patterns and themes amongst the feedback. Take note of constructive feedback and make sure you include those points in your discussion.
Tip 7: watch those biases
If you have to bring up negative feedback, do so tactfully. It can feel awkward and tense, but employees won’t feel anxious if you use your words carefully.
Try to avoid using these common bias practices:
‘He’s a funny guy, so I’ll give him a good rating.’
‘I like my team, so I’ll give everyone good feedback.’
‘I can’t afford for anyone to leave, so I’ll give them good ratings.’
‘Everyone must get low ratings because there’s always room for improvement.’
‘We didn’t achieve our team goals this quarter, so I have to give my team a bad rating.’
Tip 8: look for data to support your feedback
There may be times when you, as a manager, don’t entirely agree with your employee’s self-evaluation feedback. In this case, look to data to back up your challenge. Use project performance data, timesheets, or HR records to help you show why you saw the situation differently.
Tip 9: speed up the process
Even if you want to have employee evaluations annually, it doesn’t mean that reviews can’t be planned earlier. Use an integrated career development platform to help you plan and share documentation beforehand. This way, when it comes time for reviews, you’re prepped and ready to go with all the necessary knowledge and information.
Tip 10: get upper management involved
Once you have centralized all your plans, feedback, and analysis in one place, you can then share this with upper management. This helps management see trends across various departments and helps them plan and review company goals.
Employee evaluation examples
Documenting an employee’s performance with details, context, correct language, data, and examples is absolutely crucial. Your documentation of employee evaluations helps others understand exactly where that person is right now and what tools they need to help them improve in specific circumstances.
Example of a negative review:
Don’t write: ‘Sarah really needs to work on her communication skills. Her peers have had issues with her, which have caused confusion amongst the team. This is a serious concern and needs to be dealt with before she interacts with any customers.’
Instead, try: ‘Sarah has had several complaints about her communication skills from her peers in the past year. These complaints have all been documented in her file, and she is aware of the issue. She doesn’t necessarily ask questions when she misunderstands an ask from her peers, which causes delays on a given task. This delay affects the team’s ability to reach their monthly quotas. We would love to see Sarah work on her people skills and be a bit more vocal with her team in the future. We would like to move her peer satisfaction rating from 55% to 75% within the next year.’
Example of a positive review:
Don’t write: ‘Gregory is constantly exceeding expectations. We are very happy with his work all-round!’
Instead, try: ‘Gregory has exceeded many of his job expectations in the past year. He strives for excellence as a Customer Representative, and we have had more than twelve happy customers that have given him five-star reviews in the past year. Gregory scores a customer satisfaction rate of 97% from customer surveys, and we are delighted with his work.’
Employee evaluations: the bottom line
Employee performance reviews have their advantages and disadvantages, but the bottom line is that they’re there to help you improve your team and support them with their career development. Evaluations help improve relationships between managers and employees; they also share helpful insights with stakeholders and keep everyone in the loop with the state of the workforce.
Employees are the bread and butter of your company. They’re also the reason for your success. So, why not give them the best?
Get your team fully equipped and excited about evaluations. Let’s do this – the right way.
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