Jul 4, 2011

How to Write a Constructive Employee Performance Evaluation


By: Dianne Heath
July 4, 2011

Tips on Preparing Information for an Employee Performance Evaluation


Performance evaluations don't have to be a negative experience for you or the employees but instead a constructive meeting. A tactfully written performance evaluation can produce positive results. Constructive performance evaluations give fair and comprehensive reviews of employees without adding stress, lowering morale or allowing personal bias to negatively interfere your assessments. Performance evaluations offer employees the chance recognize skills that they need to improve, communicate with their managers, reflect on their performance and get credit for their achievements. Performance evaluations also benefit the managers by allowing them to detect key patterns among employees, develop new business goals by identifying areas of needed improvement and strengthen their relationships with their employees.

Remember that before you assess your employees, you should be a good model for your employees. The better example you are to your employees the more legitimacy you gain as a manager. You will be able to use yourself as a base for expectations and standards.

Review the Employees’ Past Experience and Environment
For many of your employees it helps to scan their resumes to remind yourself of their past experience, skills and achievements. You can use this information to develop the appropriate expectations. If you have time, research the company’s culture or geographical location of employees that may be struggling in their current positions. An employee’s background, previous work experience and social norms from his past environment has an impact on how he views work, his perspective of professionalism and his view of your company.

Perhaps he’s accustomed to befriending his coworkers and is unhappy working in an environment were only business is discussed. Or the culture at his previous positions encouraged employees  to remain distant from authority figures and consequently he feels uncomfortable ( or even threatened) speaking directly to you about projects. Either way, it's beneficial to be aware of these issues.


List Your Thoughts on Each Employee
Over a period of time, write down any observations, noticeable behavioral patterns, improvements needed and accomplishments about each employee before structuring your performance evaluation. Write down how your employees’ workplace behavior either improves or negatively affects the company. Brainstorm your employees’ performance details, reactions to workplace events and overall attitude about work.

 If you don't spend enough time working or communicating with each employee, schedule time to be around them to increase the accuracy of your evaluation. Try to avoid putting too much emphasis on first impressions or recent events.


Complete a Chart or Checklist of Skills and Performance Criteria to Evaluate 
Review your employee's job duties and keep in mind the purpose of your company so that the skills and performance criteria designed for evaluation will be relevant. You need a strong idea of each employee’s responsibilities in order to have an honest discussion about their performance. Remember to evaluate skills that are relevant to the specific position of the employee and your business's industry. You don’t want to crush morale by making imbalanced assessments and setting unrealistic goals. For example your customer service representative would need more social skills than your software engineer, so it would be harmful to demand that your engineers have the same disposition as your cheerful representatives.  Likewise an engineering firm will have different expectations than a day care center. Afterwards, make a list comparing the employee's performance with his job duties.

Also assess the needs of the company and the direction your company intends to grow. Compare this to each employee's role and contributions to this ideal. Write down new job duties that complement the employee's position. Job duties that are outdated need to eliminated or revamped because they waste the employees’ time and your money. If there are responsibilities that the employee seems to have overlooked or skills they haven’t grasped yet, take note of them to be discussed during the performance evaluation.If you are using numeral ratings, define what a one or five means.


Avoid Evaluating Issues that You Haven't Already Mentioned to Your Employees
Your performance evaluation should not have criticism that hasn't already been briefly discussed. The goal is to not to surprise your employees with negative criticism. If you haven't spoken to an employee about an issue, then you didn't give the employee any chance to improve their behavior. In order for an evaluation to be fair, your employees need to know when they've made a mistake. To prevent bringing up new issues, address the employee the appropriate moment instead of letting resentment build.


Identify Issues, Characteristics and Behavioral Traits that Hampers the Employee's Productivity
Create a list detailing the strengths and weakness your employees.  If your employees are employing good workplace habits, they need to know and be acknowledged so that they continue being productive employees. Use documents to obtain pertinent numbers such as the amount of profit produced from the employee's concepts, workplace attributes, marketing techniques and motivational skills.

Only use constructive criticism and refrain from using a negative or malicious tone. An accusatory attitude will put employees in defensive mode. Write down detailed examples on when the employee poorly performed to provide evidence for the evaluation. Reveal how his or her performance negatively affected the company. Also be willing to admit when situations were out of the employee's control. Write down solutions for the employee within the performance evaluation. Coach your employees on how to solve problems his or her problems. Use consistent errors to develop list of goals for your employees. Offer feasible solutions that will serve as a guide to enhance their performance.


Provide Positive Feedback and Acknowledge Achievement
Write down the behavioral and verbal responses of the employee from prior performance evaluations and feedback. Show gratitude if employee was receptive, showed performance growth and was willing to making suggested improvements. Demonstrate to the employee that you have noticed their contributions to the company.

Related Entries: The 5 Mistakes You Are Making on Employee Performance Evaluations

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