Managers and employees alike are calling for an end to the traditional performance review. And who can blame them? Reviews eat a boatload of time. They’re uncomfortable. And worst of all, they’re not always effective.
But that doesn’t mean we’ll see an end to them anytime soon. Evaluations are still an important part of determining raises, bonuses, promotions, succession planning, or disciplinary action at organizations all over the world.
You may have a sense of how your employees are doing. The best-case scenario is that you already meet with your employees about their progress on a regular basis. But having a sense of how they’re doing and being able to effectively evaluate them are two very different things. Great evaluations require a process.
Whether you’re managing a team of two or a team of 20, it helps to go into evaluations with achievable outcomes for both manager and employee. Below are nine tips for improving how you evaluate your employees.
1- Be Direct and Specific
Wishy-washy feedback helps no one when it comes to evaluating an employee. If an employee has a punctuality issue, your feedback shouldn’t be that “sometimes we all need to make sure we make it to our scheduled meetings on time. So maybe let’s consider trying to arrive a touch early if it’s easy enough.”
That doesn’t do the trick.
Instead, directly say, “When you’re late it disrupts our schedule, makes you look bad, and is disrespectful of everyone else’s time.”
Get your point across so that your employee understands the expectations and how to improve.
2- Create an Action Plan
Regardless of how your employees are doing, creating an action plan after an evaluation is a good move. Good employees will still want to improve and grow into their jobs; this will give them the chance to do so.
Then it comes time to track the progress of your action plan. You can create a clearer picture for yourself by using work tracking tools like Asana or Trello, which organize all of your team’s projects and give you a sense of what’s really getting done. When it’s time for the next review, it’s just a matter of revisiting the project board.
3- Be Consistent
You won’t be able to report on your employees’ performance until you truly have a consistent method by which to measure them.
Using a simple online evaluation form with all of your evaluation criteria is a simple fix. Take some time and discuss with leadership what criteria make the biggest impact on the company and team, and plan your evaluation questions accordingly.
It can be helpful in many cases to use multiple choice or numerical scales on the form, which will also help you generate more quantifiable results. One pro tip is to use a tool like JotForm PDF Editor to automatically turn online form response data into shareable PDF documents, which saves you time in creating new documents for employees.
4- Stick to Work-Related Praise or Grievances
Liking an employee on a personal level can make your life easier, but it shouldn’t show up during an evaluation. Ditto for employees you don’t particularly care for on a personal level. This is where consistency can again help. Having a streamlined method of evaluating employees will allow you to view their performance objectively, even for employees who work in very different roles.
This is where more robust evaluation software could really help. BambooHR is useful for tracking progress on the goals you create. It also reminds managers to provide continual assessments throughout the year, so that you have a record of employee progress by the time evaluations happen.
5- Don’t Compare Employees
Every employee has their own set of strengths and weaknesses.
Employee X is not underperforming simply because she doesn’t have the same results as Employee Y. That’s unfair to both employees. You need to have criteria for what makes them successful at their jobs, and it shouldn’t have anything to do with their colleagues’ performance.
6- Keep it Positive
You and your employees are on the same team. Even the ones who make you really, really, really mad. So regardless of the feedback you give, it’s vital to end it on a positive note. You’ll be rewarded with better employee performance and retention.
At the end of the day, try to remember why you hired your employees in the first place. If any shortcomings they have aren’t worth dismissing them altogether, find a way to inspire and motivate them to do their very best at their jobs.
7- Collect Feedback from Others
No manager should have to go it alone.
You may have blind spots for certain employees. Maybe you haven’t worked with them on all of their projects. Maybe you like one thing they do well so much that it overshadows the things they don’t do well — or vice versa.
Whatever the case, you should incorporate feedback from others in your organization to get a well-rounded view of your employees. Consider seeking the opinion of other department heads, the employees’ colleagues, or even your own superior. It may be easier to get feedback if it’s provided anonymously; an online feedback form can help facilitate this process.
8- Cut Down on Wasted Time
A 2016 TINYpulse survey found that the biggest complaint about evaluations for both managers and employees alike is that they take too much time. Think about that for a moment. Two people enduring the same thing while both agree that it takes too much of their valuable time. That can’t be good for morale.
Frequent meetings with actionable feedback can drastically reduce the headaches that annual reviews can cause. This sets up both you and your employee up for clearer expectations and reduces unnecessary documentation.
9- Own Your Feedback
Gathering consensus on an employee is a great way to get a whole picture. But that doesn’t mean you can hide behind your colleagues’ feedback when it’s time to evaluate.
As a manager, you have your own opinion about how your employees are doing. So express it directly and transparently.
Every company and manager is different. Some things will work better for your organization than others. The important thing to do is to find measurable goals for your employees, communicate regularly and thoroughly, and find the most efficient way to evaluate. Be sure also to check out Some People Excel At Performance Evaluations And Some Don’t – While ch One Are You?.