Performance Evaluations (When Done Frequently) Are a Benefit to Your Employees and Your Company
How often do you hold performance evaluation sessions in your department or organization? If your answer is “annually”, you are missing out on valuable opportunities to give your employees more frequent and ongoing feedback about their job performance (which is good for the organization and for them too).
Routine interactions with your employees, frequent check-ins and consistent mentoring can ultimately help your workers with their professional development. Frequent opportunities to assess performance also give employees who may be under-performing a chance to correct their actions and improve their productivity. Giving honest feedback, which may involve criticism, can be difficult because it calls for finding a balance between directness and sensitivity. However, avoiding the issue of inadequate performance or other issues such as tardiness, uncooperative team work participation, etc., can be detrimental for the employee and for your organization.
The key is to strike a balance between being too reserved in your criticism for fear of hurting the employee’s feelings and being too blunt and harsh in your criticism and risking offending the person you are trying to help. In order to attain this balanced approach, begin by figuring out what you wish to accomplish as a result of the performance management conversation. What information do you want to communicate, and what behaviors do you want to change? It is advisable to focus on specific actions that can be evaluated directly. Secondly, take the time not only to discuss performance weaknesses but also the employee’s positive contributions and accomplishments. It is also a good idea to take the employee’s personality into account and deliver your feedback in a way that is consistent with this style and tailor the performance conversation accordingly. For example a quiet person will appreciate calm and quiet feedback. You can learn more about this and increase your feedback giving versatility by searching online to looking at a variety of very useful models on this subject.
Another step you should also take is to make sure that any personal biases or issues are left out of the performance review. Be honest with yourself regarding any potential potentially unhelpful attitudes you may have towards a particular individual on the team. Identifying these biases will help you make the performance review conversation professional and not personal.
One of the benefits of holding frequent performance review sessions is to address under-performance issues early on, before they fester and become more difficult to handle. Even though formally warning or even firing an employee who isn’t performing well is sometimes a necessary eventuality, early performance intervention may offer the employee an opportunity to learn, improve and succeed. Have an honest discussion with the employee and set clear expectations for what behaviors and actions must change and on what timeline. Outline the consequences of not meeting these expectations, thereby making the employee accountable for changes. Engage the employee in problem-solving and give him/her the opportunity to establish a plan of action to turn things around. This also gives the employee ownership of the problem. After setting goals and milestones, continue to meet with the employee regularly to monitor and assess performance. Offer feedback and engage the employee in actively improving their performance.
As you can see, carrying out regular performance evaluations is important to every individual’s well-being and development, and, in turn, it is also crucial to your organization’s success. Make the workplace run more smoothly for you and your employees by clearly stating what they are expected to accomplish and what the measures of success are. If an employee is falling short of these guidelines, don’t put off addressing the problem.
Suzanne Updegraff is the Founder and CEO of EDSI. Their blog is at: blog.employeedevelopmentsystems.com