Employee evaluations are an important part of management. These evaluations give you a chance to touch base with your employee and to have an open conversation about what’s working (and what’s not) on both sides of your relationship.
Because evaluations are so important, it’s important to do them right, and the process isn’t necessarily intuitive. Here are some tips you should keep in mind when conducting your next round of employee evaluations.
Have a process.
Do you have an employee handbook that you base your evaluations off of? Or is each employee’s evaluation based on his/her job description? Do you have a rubric you’ll use during your evaluations, and is your employee aware of it? Additionally, how often do you conduct evaluations, and when? Having a set process in place will make the whole thing go more smoothly for you and your employees.
Go into the evaluation armed with data: statistics, peer feedback, past goals, etc. This information should cover the entire time period since the employee’s last evaluation, so don’t just pull together information from the past week. Know what feedback you’re going to give. Practice the language you’re going to use. This preparation will keep the meeting from dragging out too long, and it will allow you to give more thorough, comprehensive feedback.
Give positive and negative feedback.
There’s always something good to say about an employee’s performance, and there’s usually at least one way they could improve. Make sure you include both in your evaluation. Let them know what they’re doing right, and let them know what they could do better. Be specific and clear. Don’t use “generalized” language (e.g. “You always do this…”). If appropriate, this might be the time to get them on a performance improvement plan if they’re struggling to maintain high performance.
An employee evaluation should also give the employee the chance to comment on their experience within the company. What is working for them? What do they like about the job? When do they feel they’ve performed their best? This could prove to be vital information that might help you help the employee have greater success in the future. If the employee happens to have some negative feedback for you, try not to get emotional or defensive about it. Respond calmly and respectfully.
Keep the focus on the future.
Yes, you’re evaluating what’s happened in the past, but an evaluation gives you a great opportunity to focus on helping the employee have a brighter future at the company. You want them to take your feedback into account, and then move forward, more determined than ever to perform well. So work together to set some goals for the future, and be clear about how those goals will be tracked and achieved. Make sure the employee knows that at the end of the day, you’re there to support them.
Give the employee documentation of the feedback, to help them recall what you talked about. This will help them remember the feedback you gave and what they’re supposed to be focusing on in the future. This documentation could also be important if you end up having problems with the employee later; having evidence that you talked about something will help support any future decisions you make about their employment.
Employee evaluations are a crucial part of being a manager, and they’re not always easy or fun. But as long as you are prepared and follow these tips, you’ll be ready to conduct an evaluation that gives you the result you really want: a happy, motivated employee.
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