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Performance Evaluations: Prepare For Success


Staff performance evaluations are important not just for the success of your business, but for the continued growth of your employees.

If these evaluations are done correctly, they can help:

  • Communicate company values
  • Develop employee skills and growth
  • Set benchmarks for success 
  • Give your staff members clear direction that affects their potential income

How To Prepare For Performance Evaluations

As a manager or supervisor, it’s vital for you to take time to prepare before you dive into your annual performance evaluations.

No matter the industry, I’ve found that most managers haven’t received much formal training in administering performance evaluations. In fact, most management team members have had less than a 30 minute meeting discussing how to conduct a staff evaluation!

Evaluations are an important, and often stressful, time for many employees. In order to reduce that stress and ensure you get the results you want, take some time to answer the following questions.

Are you in a rush?

It happens to even the best managers. I understand, you have so many responsibilities on your plate, adding performance evaluations can be overwhelming! You just want to get them over with so you can get onto the next item on your list.

Slow down.

Remember that these evaluations are more than just the next item on your long to-do list. This is an opportunity to show your staff that you care about them, are invested in their growth, and can get you information you need about planning the future of your business.

Take time to reflect on each employee’s performance and highlight specific positive and negative examples to discuss with them. Remember, evaluations often affect compensation, so your staff members are likely very invested in this upcoming meeting with you.

Does your employee have any idea what is being evaluated? 

No one likes a surprise performance evaluation sprung on them! When you hired your employee, a copy of their evaluation form should have been included in their new hire information packet.

If that wasn’t the case, make sure you supply them with the form as soon as possible. If the form has changed at all since their hire date or their last performance evaluation, give them a copy of the updated form.

Is a negative evaluation going to surprise your employee?

If the first time an employee has been told about their negative performance is during an evaluation, their supervisor or manager has failed them. An annual performance review is not the time to address problems for the first time. You never want to leave your staff saying, “if I had known this was a problem sooner I would have changed”.

Will I be giving my employee an evaluation in the best possible environment?

You should know how your employee wants to be evaluated. Do they want the evaluation in the conference room? Maybe it’s better to meet after lunch in a casual setting with coffee? Does your employee want to read your evaluation of them for a few minutes before you talk through it? 

Consider that for some employees, it might be a good idea to give them a brief outline of the evaluation before you actually get into it because they are feeling anxious about the evaluation process. 

Does this evaluation break the law in any way? 

This sounds like an obvious question, but believe me, it’s more common than you think for employers to break the law during performance reviews.

Every year I see employee evaluations that ask completely inappropriate and personal questions about a person’s family, work ethic, or religious practices. Even non-profit organizations associated with a religion or philosophy don’t have the right or legal grounds to ask whatever they want. Questions like this are not only illegal, but they also open you and your company up to a lawsuit.

Before you start your evaluation process, take a few minutes to simply Google the laws in your state surrounding evaluating or hiring practices. If you have in-house attorneys, ask their advice.

Are you ready to hear what your employee thinks of you? 

Don’t give your employee time to give you feedback if you don’t actually want to hear what they honestly think of you and your company. If you ask for suggestions or criticism but never act upon that information it will breed distrust and frustration in your employees. There is nothing worse than asking for suggestions and not addressing or acting on them.  

I hope this insight has given you practical ways to prepare for your own employee evaluation process. 

If you’d like to go deeper or just want some help with your professional management, Veritas Professional Development is committed to helping you become the best at what you do!

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