Employee performance evaluation is one of the key aspects of managing business efficiency. With the help of regular and professionally performed evaluation HR can track the progress of individuals and teams, reward top performers and indicate areas for improvement. Development personal improvement plans and correcting HR strategy also closely rely on the performance assessment process.
Performance evaluation tends to be seen as a formality at some companies. Nevertheless, giving a fair and unbiased opinion about everyone’s performance is also a key to better productivity as during the process you discuss what’s expected from an employee and how he/she can contribute to the mission of the department.
Here are a few guidelines to make your performance appraisal process effective in terms of employee development and retention aligned with business goals:
1. Prepare an evaluation form
Employee performance is accessed based on the performance goals and standards set. Evaluation form is used to track how well the employee met (or exceeded) the standards, as well as managed the required quantity of tasks at the required quality levels. Apart from amount of work done, you need to access job competencies and attitude. Evaluation form for management also includes statements on leadership and communication skills, ability to motivate and resolve issues. Leave out the questions which are not critical for the job to save time and effort and focus on most important performance areas.
2. Ask employees to evaluate themselves
and then compare the results of self-assessment with the rating you gave an employee. Sometimes the employee cannot objectively evaluate different aspects of their performance. Some tend to give excuses for their low performance; others might think that excellence in just one aspect of job automatically makes them high-performers. Comparing the assessment results is a good starting point for a discussion.
3. Judge actual performance and achievements
Judgments should be based on factual, measurable results the employee has demonstrated during the evaluation period. Don’t give anyone a credit just because you believe they ‘have a high potential’ or they performed well a year ago. The project in progress or the training which an employee is currently attending don’t subject to evaluation as they didn’t make any contribution using the newly acquired knowledge yet.
4. Access performance for the entire cycle
Remember that the evaluation must cover the performance only during the specific time frame. For instance, if you conduct an annual review, one month of superior performance shouldn’t determine your final opinion as well as one month of poor performance shouldn’t become the grounding for marking someone performance as poor for the entire year. Be consistent and watch closely which attributes the employee demonstrates most of the time.
5. Review the job aspects separately
Each aspect of a job that is subjected to evaluation should be accessed independently from others. Following this rule is a guarantee of accurate and equitable evaluation. Employees often succeed at some aspects of job and lack competency at others. Therefore, identifying and discussing their weak points gives them opportunity to meet performance standards and advance their career.
6. Beware of the rating pitfalls
To ensure the reliable results of evaluation make sure that your personal impression or ‘gut feeling’ about the employee does not affect the assessment process. Here are the most frequently made evaluation mistakes:
Halo effect – the overall rating is given based on one or two statements only
Recency effect – the employee rating is affected by his/her recent performance rather than the performance during the evaluation period
Central tendency – tendency to avoid giving very high or low rating and keep all rating in the middle of the scale.
7. Maintain a positive attitude
filling out an evaluation form isn’t the final step of the process. Now it’s time to communicate your findings to an employee in a way that would motivate him/her to improve the performance. First of all, give concrete and specific examples when discussing a problem and offer to develop the plan or strategy to perform such tasks better in the future. Don’t forget to emphasize positive aspects of performance and potential for growth.
Performance evaluation not only provides the HR department and management with relevant and accurate information on the employee efficiency. It also supports professional growth by providing employees with objective results for setting their SMART career goals. Evaluations conducted regularly allow you to track their progress, reward high-performers and implement methods of increasing the efficiency if necessary.
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