Many managers dread the review process. It’s never easy to provide criticism, deal with potential emotions or offer performance improvements plans. It’s sometimes challenging to find the balance between providing meaningful critiques while staying within the legal lines. Here are some things to consider before you step into your next employee evaluation session.
Use Their Job Description As a Guide
In addition to any evaluation tools you have for annual performance reviews, you can also reference each employee’s job description. Good job descriptions should list responsibilities, skills and objectives with concrete expectations to measure performance. Employees should sign job descriptions upon hire and be indisputably aware of what they must due to successfully fill their position. This makes it an easy tool to reference when evaluating.
Show Them the Evaluation Form in Advance
Don’t let employees’ performance reviews be the first time they see the evaluation tool. Let them know ahead of time exactly what they need to do to get an A rating. Making employees aware of expectations does two things: 1) It lets them know where the bar is set and how they will be measured, and 2) It backs you up when you have to deliver less than stellar performance reviews.
Make Their Goals Part of the Evaluation
I love to see employees’ goals for personal and professional growth woven into the annual review. This adds an extra level of accountability and a feeling of being invested in the company, as they will determine these goals themselves. Talk through their goals with them, and help them come up with something meaningful and job related. Perhaps they need to advance their skills on a certain software program, or maybe they want to take a leadership course to improve their management skills for a potential promotion. During each review, discuss where they are with each goal, and set new ones as they complete some.
Support Your Evaluation With Examples
When you present your points, be sure to back up your reasoning with examples — whether the message is positive or critical. People can become naturally defensive when critiqued, and providing examples will help drive your message home. It’s harder to be defensive when you’re discussing a specific situation, as opposed to an abstract idea.
Give Measurable Expectations
If a performance review involves an improvement plan, you must be specific. Provide the employee with a timeline for improving particular skills. And be very specific about what you expect to see. “I want a 15% improvement in your sales numbers within the next 90 days,” tells an employee exactly what he or she needs to do to be on track and when the deadline is.
Give Them an Open Forum
When you are finished delivering your evaluation, be sure to offer time for each employee’s input. Allow them time to possibly dispute your opinion, and truly listen. Offer time to discuss what their ideal next year with the company will look like. Many companies love to use self-evaluations, so that going into the performance review meeting, you already have an idea of where you and the employee agree, and where you differ.
The Marlo Company, Inc. provides our clients with the best in human resource services. Whether you are seeking help with employee evaluations, a certified True Colors Facilitator, recruitment services, on-boarding services, new staff orientation, training or coaching, our team of dedicated professionals is here to assist you. Contact us today.
In the spirit of success,