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How to Conduct an Employee Evaluation

As much as employee evaluations are challenging to conduct, they serve a strong purpose in helping employers and employees to collaborate on goals, review historical challenges, celebrate accomplishments and establish future plans for improvement.

A thoroughly conducted employee review not only assists an employee to excel in their career but also helps employers create higher quality deliveries and working environments for their team members. Employee evaluations also create opportunities to resolve issues, lay the groundwork for any company advancements and can act as helpful documentation for an annual performance review and for any HR matters.

On the other hand, a poorly conducted employee evaluation can result in employees feeling disoriented, confused and unengaged with the company and their job role.

These six tips will help you resolve concerns over how to conduct an employee evaluation effectively so as to benefit both you and your employees.

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Prepare all feedback in advance

It is critical to plan and prepare your comments and feedback ahead of time. You do not want to enter an employee evaluation empty-handed nor do you want to fill out the employee evaluation form in front of the employee. Instead, invest your time in compiling your thoughts and feedback beforehand and use the employee evaluation form as a framework for the meeting. By having your comments prepared in advance, you control the meeting by not missing any critical points and ensure it stays on track.

Keep your remarks clear and concise

Those who aren’t direct and transparent with their employees during the delivery of an employee evaluation will risk confusing the employee which may lead to misunderstandings of expectations. To guarantee clarity of such expectations, use specifics where possible. For example, if you score an employee low for time management, share with them examples of instances where they had missed deadlines or situations when other team members had to pick up their slack.

The same also applies to setting goals. Make sure all goals include a timeframe and a way to measure to help employees realise exactly how you determine success or failure.

Provide a copy of the completed evaluation form to the employee

Although employees enter an annual performance review in hopes for news about a raise or promotion, they also appreciate receiving honest feedback about their professional performance. By providing employees with a copy of their completed evaluation form — or at least a part of it — you give them an opportunity to reference the document to stay on track and make any necessary improvements highlighted.

Keep employee review meetings an open conversation

Instead of lecturing employees on what they can improve in and sending them on their way to make those improvements, keep employee review meetings a two-way conversation. Give an employee the opportunity to share their self-assessment, such as their identified strengths and challenges along with areas where they should improve upon. Endeavour to provide a timeframe for them to work with such as a month, a quarter, or a year.

If an employee is reserved and appears uncomfortable to open up, attempt to engage with them by asking questions such as:

  • If you could pick one accomplishment that you are most proud of from the review period, which one would it be?
  • Which area do you think you’ve made the most progress in since your last review?
  • In what areas would you say you need to improve upon the most?
  • How can I support you to meet your goals?

End with a focus on the future

Placing focus on the negatives, such as failures or areas where an employee has performed poorly, make both supervisors and employees uncomfortable — however, they must be addressed. After these negatives have been discussed, it is important to shift the focus of the conversation to the future by outlining new goals and sharing plans for improvement. Be sure the employee understands that you are on their side and that you want them to succeed in achieving their goals by being there to support them professionally.

By ending the conversion on a positive note that is future-focused, the employee is more likely to leave feeling hopeful and motivated to improve upon their weaknesses as opposed to feeling criticised and discouraged.

Conduct multiple employee evaluations throughout the year

While the majority of employers conduct employee performance evaluations once every year — mainly in aim of assessing whether an employee’s achievements warrant a promotion or a raise — conducting quarterly, monthly, or even weekly informal employee review sessions can prove to be beneficial for employers and employees. The more frequent the review sessions, the more alleviated pressure employees will feel from the annual performance review. Employee review sessions also help employees familiarise with discussing their achievements and challenges while making them feel less intimidated when receiving feedback.

Plus, raising areas for improvement as soon as they are identified gives employees the opportunity to amend mistakes immediately rather than forming a bad habit by treating the mistake over and over again until the next scheduled performance review.

To conduct a successful employee evaluation, you must balance direct criticism together with praise and recognition while setting challenging yet attainable goals for your employees. This helps them grow to become better professional workers which in turn directly helps the performance of your team. Although maintaining this balance can be tricky, providing straightforward and honest feedback — both positive and negative — helps team members to improve and act upon it. By following these employee evaluation tips, you can open the lines of communication with your employee and help them advance in their careers which will boost the performance across your team and your company.

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