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How to Deal with Employee Evaluations

Posted by Anonymous

Creating a functional and comfortable work environment is essential to the success of an organization, and this environment is rooted in open communication. One way to encourage fluid communication in the workplace is through the administration of employee evaluations. Understanding the importance of both positive and negative feedback will help you to conduct and/or receive a constructive evaluation.

The Importance of Feedback (both positive and negative)

Firstly, an employer or superior should remember that the line of communication is a two-way street and while employees require feedback to help assess their current performance, they should also be able to express their opinions in an honest and open matter. Often times employees may feel out of place or intimidated when sharing their feelings with a superior, so superiors should be aware of this and verbally welcome the input. If an employee feels that the line of communication is closed it is very easy for them to create a false environment in their mind based on their current mood. This feeling of isolation can turn one bad day into a permanent negative attitude because the employee has no outlet for their frustration. By encouraging honesty and openness these false environments and the resulting negative attitudes can be erased. By administering evaluations you are encouraging feedback, which can help bring an employee back to the reality of the workplace by diminishing uncertainty and frustration.

Giving an Evaluation

Employee evaluations can be somewhat daunting for the person receiving them and as an employer you can help to ease this anticipation by creating a schedule. At the time of hire explain to the employee that evaluations will be given at regular intervals, for example, every three to six months. The expectation of an evaluation will help alleviate the feeling of bombardment and give the employee a chance to prepare. Also, a looming evaluation just might spark a stronger day-to-day performance from employees, so this forewarning is a win-win situation.

Next, an employer should have a clear cut idea of the criteria that they wish to evaluate. Knowing which aspects of performance are important to your organization will help you to mentally evaluate each employee on a day-to-day basis instead of just officially once every three to six months. This list of performance criteria should remain consistent for each employee so that you can clearly see which employees are excelling or struggling within each category. Some possible performance points to consider might include:

  • Punctuality

  • Efficiency

  • Attitude

  • Initiative

  • Helpfulness

  • Teamwork

  • Attendance

  • Innovation

  • Customer Service

  • Revenue

In addition to these tasks you expect your employees to perform you should also have a consistent grading system that expresses the degree to which your employees are living up to your expectations. For Example:

  • Very Satisfied (4)

  • Satisfied (3)

  • Somewhat Satisfied (2)

  • Not Satisfied (1)

This checklist and the corresponding grading system are meant to give your discussion structure, not rigidness, when presenting the evaluation to an employee. Use this as a tool to make your evaluation more significant and helpful; do not allow structure to interfere with the comfort level you are trying to achieve.

Once a schedule and list of criteria have been established, it is the employer's job to get to know their employees in order to ensure a smooth evaluation process. The employer or superior should have developed a strong enough relationship with the employees to have a general idea of how they might react to constructive criticism. It is important to attempt to tailor your demeanor to the individual you are evaluating. As no two employees are exactly the same, no two evaluations should be exactly the same. In order for the evaluation to yield a positive, constructive result there should be an element of discussion involved. Yes, you are governing the process but you want to make sure the employee feels comfortable enough to offer their own questions or comments throughout the evaluation. If it is easier to get through your checklist without interruption, that is acceptable, just make sure to leave time at the end of the evaluation for the employee to respond to the information presented. The employee should take away at least three to four suggestions that they can apply to their everyday regime to improve their performance. So encourage questions and ask if any clarification is needed in order to attain this goal.

Receiving an Evaluation

As an employee, you too have a responsibility to be an active member in the evaluation process. Hopefully your employer, as stated above, has let you know when you can expect to receive an evaluation. And as a result you should probably conduct an ongoing self-evaluation so you're able to recognize the areas that you think are your strengths and possible areas that you might need help with. If your employer is willing, perhaps they can provide you with the checklist they will be using to evaluate you. This self-evaluation will help you to align your expectations with your employer's and see if there are any inconsistencies. In addition to assessing your own performance, prepare a list of any questions or concerns you may have regarding your workplace and use the one-on-one time with your employer to express yourself.

Having your own evaluation and comments prepared will help you to feel more confident during the actual one-on-one time with your employer, but remember that your priority during this evaluation is to listen. When your employer is speaking to you pay attention and really try to absorb the feedback being offered. Taking notes may help you remember the conversation more specifically and possibly stimulate any additional questions you did not initially think of. As mentioned before, an employee should be able to apply at least three to four suggestions offered during the evaluation to improve their performance, so if you need clarification, ask for it. If there is something your employer did not mention that you were hoping to receive help on, you should bring it up and ask for a suggestion on how to improve. Inquiries on how to improve yourself for the betterment of the company will always be welcomed and show that you're a team player.

The relationship between an employer and its employees is found at the core of an organization's success. As an employer, it is critical to be in tune with the attitudes and feelings of your employees, but it is sometimes difficult to maintain this level of harmonization. By constantly checking in and encouraging fluid communication through the process of evaluation, an employer has a better chance of creating a productive and respectful environment for its employees. And as an employee, you should embrace an employer's willingness to communicate by being a participatory affiliate who strives to progress, rather than a bystander who stays complacent.


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