10 Tips When Doing Performance Evaluations

What is a performance evaluation?

The performance appraisal is an examination focused on the job performance and assigned duties of an employee. Managers look at an employee’s abilities and successes over a given period and monitor whether the employee has lived up to the company’s expectations or failed to produce the desired results.

One-on-one performance evaluation at a coworking space
One-on-one performance evaluation at a coworking space

Ideally, performance reviews provide the employee and manager with a stepping-stone for identifying and addressing areas where performance can be enhanced. It may also be an excellent opportunity to reinforce or clarify the expectations of employees and managers.

Why are annual employee evaluations so vital?

The annual performance assessment process aims to encourage collaboration, provide valuable insight on job performance, enhance working relationships, provide a historical performance record, and contribute to professional growth. A significant aspect of the supervisor’s role is giving constant feedback on employee performance. By giving positive feedback regularly, the supervisor provides employees with information about their job performance and, if necessary, gives enough time to make performance or behavioural adjustments. Daily feedback prevents “blindsiding” the employee at appraisal time with an unsatisfactory examination.

As a starting point, managers can follow ten rules:

1. Set Standards

group of people, office, teamwork, small business, discussion, collaboration, startup, using laptop, business professional, business meeting, modern office, modern company, company culture
Being transparent to employees and committing to the same standards

It is essential to set transparent employee standards that describe what an employee in a particular role is supposed to accomplish and how the work should be done. Every member who holds the same position must commit to the same standards. In determining the performance standard, successful managers take into consideration:

  • What does a good job look like? 
  • How many staff are required?
  • What budget is required? 
  • How long is it going to take? 
  • When are the expected results? 
  • What is considered acceptable?

2. Take Notes Throughout The Year

virtual meeting online
Take notes and acknowledge effort

Though it may sound strange, the preparation for conducting employee performance evaluations are mostly done throughout the year in the monitoring process. Each employee should have their performance file. Keep track of notable employee achievements or incidents, whether they are positive or negative. Bear in mind that feedback and constructive criticism should be given instantly to your employees when something comes up, you don’t need to wait until the year-end evaluation process to give praise.

3. Have A Conversation

Performance evaluation shouldn’t become a one-way road where the manager gives feedback, and the employee just “hears”. Opportunities should exist for listening and confidential discussions. A constructive performance evaluation should be a discussion. Pay attention to your employee’s concerns and how they want their career to grow in the long term to help them meet their career goals. Ask employees to give a self-evaluation of what they think of their job. A performance review should provide each member with a chance to review the company’s management system, the workplace environment, and reflect on their career path.

4. Be Well-prepared For A Meeting

training sessions
Come to a meeting well-prepared

When it comes to the evaluation process, prepare for the meeting ahead of time. Ensure you review your documentation and reports before the meeting and note down what you want to discuss with the employee. The performance review should include positive aspects such as their contribution to the organisation and some valuable advice on how to advance their career.

(Related: 4 Simple Ways to Run an Effective Meeting)

5. Set Clear Goals With Your Employees

Whatever you decide to discuss, all evaluation meetings should focus on setting new goals. A well-prepared discussion with employees about how their performance at work helps you address both the negative and positive aspects and then decide what to achieve and how to move forward. Carefully set goals that suit each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, unlike standards applicable to the majority. Dig deep with each employee to find new goals relevant to their position and keep them motivated.

6. Be Honest And Specific With Criticism

startup software team brainstorming and getting feedback from each other
Avoid confusion by providing specific and honest feedback

There is no perfect time to tell an employee that their performance is getting worse, so don’t keep waiting until the year-end evaluation to show them that they need to change. Downplaying or sugarcoating the situation is not the right choice since it can make your employees feel more confused and uncomfortable. Instead, be honest and specific with criticism, create a healthy relationship between you and that person. Eventually, they will be willing to tell you the problems they’re encountering and work together to find the solutions.

7. Don’t Compare Employees

“Why can’t you be more like Jessica? She’s an excellent employee!”

That sounds a lot more like a parent reprimanding their child than a manager trying to advise and help employees improve their performance. The purpose of any performance evaluation is to examine each employee’s productivity against a set of standard metrics. Never compare one staff member’s performance to another because it can lead to unhealthy competition and conflict. Always stick to your evaluation framework, do not create any unwanted competition among workers.

Each of your team members has been blessed with unique talents and gifts that can be leveraged to grow the business. As a manager, it’s up to you to discover what those talents are.

8. Don’t Only Give Negative Feedback

Provide constructive feedback

Negative feedback should be interpreted as “constructive feedback”.

If managers solely concentrate on negative employee performance, employees will feel unhappy, unappreciated, and lower their confidence. When addressing negative feedback, mention what that staff member performs well at. When giving constructive feedback, make sure you apply the following:

  • Control your emotions: You don’t want to critique someone else’s actions when you are angry or upset. 
  • “Praise in public, criticise in private”: Keep it low-key when issuing negative feedback. You can organise a private meeting and make sure the employee feels comfortable rather than nervous and embarrassed.
  • Be as specific as possible: Instead of telling your employee “Jessica, you stuffed up!”, try stating precisely how her behaviour has affected the overall performance by saying: “We had to pay extra money for someone who has little idea of your particular job to replace your shift because you’re late for your shift. Do you understand?”

9. Focus Solely On Performance

business analysis to check growth
Focus on an employee’s contribution

Keep everything professional. Your evaluation should concentrate on how well the employee does their work, rather than their personality traits. Remember that you are not evaluating their attitude or personality but their contribution at work. For instance, rather than giving feedback about a worker being too immature or too sensitive, it’s much more effective to provide specific examples of the employee’s behaviours in the workplace that prove those characteristics and how their personality affects their productivity.

10. Give Ongoing Feedback

Finally, evaluation is not a one-time task but a continuous process during the year. Giving feedback throughout the year and keeping in touch with an employee to see if they are completing their jobs. To ensure that worker morale is high, companies should allow for frequent employee performance evaluations. Ensure that your teams are provided with a workplace where they can improve, benefit themselves and the company. 

(SEE: How to effectively delegate among your employees)

Real Estate Investor, OSDORO
Bachelor of Applied Finance and Bachelor of Laws, Sydney, Australia. 
David has been in real estate business since 2002 and has a passion for South East Asian cross border cooperation.

As an entrepreneur, David has won multiple tech industry awards, including 2019 for Best AI Startup GITEX awards, 2019 Best AI Technology Accathon Capital USA and recipient of the Wharton Innovation Fund Grant. His last startup, Woveon, was a New York VC backed AI enterprise business intelligence company that worked on customer data stitching and analytics of billions of conversations.

David is also the recipient of state and national Australia technology prizes including the PWC Innovation Award and Intel Enterprise Technology awards.

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