Eye to Eye: Evaluations Put Employees, Employers on Same Page
By Jame Geathers, Owner, Jame Geathers Consulting
If the phrase “annual employee evaluation” makes your heart rate speed up and your eyes roll, you’re not alone. With the possibility of a confrontation with a difficult employee and the looming expectation of salary increases that may not be in your budget, you may be tempted to avoid evaluations all together.
Regardless of how uncomfortable they may be, evaluations are absolutely necessary to successfully manage your business and establish clear expectations for your team. In addition to helping you evaluate your employees, evaluations also provide valuable feedback that helps employees understand what they are doing well and what areas need improvement.
If you’ve never conducted an employee evaluation or been the subject of one, let me explain how the process works.
To begin, you must have an evaluation form. The form should have three sections – one for the employee to complete prior to the meeting, one for the supervisor to complete prior to the meeting and the final section to be completed during the meeting. The employee and supervisor sections should contain identical evaluation fields. Each party should complete the form based strictly on that specific employee’s performance – not as a comparison of the employee to other team members.
The employee and supervisor sections should include specific areas that can be rated on a scale from very satisfactory to very unsatisfactory, such as attendance and quality of work. Additionally, a performance goals area should be included to help the supervisor and the employee identify desired areas of growth.
During the meeting take time to review both the employee and the supervisor’s evaluations. Be sure to point out the commonalities first in order to start the meeting on a positive note. Once you’ve covered the positives, move into the areas that require improvement.
Depending on how receptive the employee is to feedback they may become defensive or even belligerent. Regardless, you must keep your cool, remain professional and document everything at all times.
During the conversation all feedback given to and received from the employee should be recorded in the comments area of the meeting section on the evaluation form. This ensures that all parties have a clear record of what was said and what were the expected outcomes.
Once you have reviewed both evaluation sections and recorded the feedback, it’s time to document the goals and expectations going forward. These should be short but detailed, measureable and realistic.
For example, if the employee is struggling with attendance, the goal could be being tardy no more than twice or having perfect attendance for a 60-day period.
To ensure the goal is realistic, you may also want to ask questions to determine the cause of the problem. For example, if they struggle to make it to work at 8 a.m. because they cannot drop off their child until 8 a.m., the solution may be to modify their schedule, if the needs of the business allow for that flexibility.
Once you have created the form, had the employee and supervisor complete their sections, discussed it and recorded the feedback, both parties should sign the evaluation. Be sure to communicate with the employee that signing the document does not mean they agree with the feedback but rather an acknowledgement that they received the feedback. The original form should be filed in the employee’s personnel file and a copy (preferably electronic) should be given to the employee.
Once you have completed your first round of employee evaluations it is a great business practice to make it an annual event. If you need assistance creating an employee evaluation, please contact us!
Jame Geathers is a Human Resources and Operations Professional with more than 12 years of experience in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. Jame has spent her career building and supporting HR infrastructures that have provided her employers and clients with the structure and policies that all start-ups need but owners may not have time to create and implement. For more information please visit the Jame Geathers Consulting website, www.jamegeathers.com or call (706) 496-9691.