Employee Evaluation, also known as Performance Evaluation, is a formal and productive process of measuring employee’s work and productivity based on their job responsibilities and cadre in the organization. Employee Evaluation can also be simply defined as a planned performance review by a supervisor or an employer. The process of performance evaluation aims to gauge the amount of value added by an employee in terms of improved business revenue compared to the organization’s set standards and overall employee return on investment (ROI).
In a typical Employee evaluation process, the employer, together with the employee, will discuss the expectations that have been met, exceeded, or fallen short during a given past time record. Generally, the employer or manager conducting the evaluation has been taking notes on the employee’s performance throughout the set period. They are well aware of instances where the employee outdid themselves on meeting the set targets and where they need to improve or change to meet their performance targets.
The Purpose of Employee Evaluation
As a reputable employer, periodically conducting employee evaluation is very important to your organization in the following listed ways:
- Performance evaluation is considered an integrated platform for both the manager and the employee through which common ground is established on what each thinks is befitting a quality performance. In return, top-down and bottom-up communication is enhanced, leading to better and accurate team metrics, thus leading to improved overall performance.
- Periodic employee evaluation allows the employer to provide consistent feedback on an employee’s strengths and weaknesses, thus prompting them to strive for improvement on the areas identified as weaknesses during the evaluation process. This way, the entire organizational team can avert new and unexpected problems with constant work to improve competence and efficiency, thus high organizational productivity.
- Performance evaluation helps the employer identify training and development needs for an organization’s employees; therefore, the management can conduct frequent training and skill development sessions based on development areas recognized during the performance evaluation process. By doing this, you are putting all your employees at par. You are most likely able to achieve higher customer satisfaction levels and generate more business for your company.
How to Conduct an Effective Employee Evaluation
To conduct a practical employee performance evaluation, you as a manager or an employer need to have a systematic or standard evaluation criterion and review each of your employees against those standard metrics.
The steps listed below will guide you on how to evaluate your employees effectively:
Establish clear Performance Standards
Firstly, you need to set performance standards that clearly outline what is expected of an employee in a certain role, what they should accomplish at the end of the given period, and how the work should be done. You should ensure that the same standards apply to everyone in the same job group or cadre. Before setting the performance standards, make sure that they are realistic and achievable and relate directly to their job description.
Set specific goals for each of your organization’s employees
Unlike the performance standards, goals must be specific to each employee. This is because goals only apply to the individual employee’s strengths and weaknesses and help them improve their skills or acquire new ones. For best results, have a sit-in meeting with each of your employees and set reasonable goals relevant to their designation within the organization.
Write down important notes
As you may have seen earlier, a manager is expected to regularly take notes relating to a given employee’s performance throughout the year that you can use as a reference while conducting the evaluation process. It’d be best if you consider creating a performance file for each of your workers. This way, you’ll be able to keep records of notable achievements or instances where your employees have met, exceeded, or fallen short in meeting targets. However, it’s worth noting that you can give immediate feedback to employees when something stands out or provide constructive criticism where need be. You do not necessarily have to wait until the end of the year during the annual performance review process.
Prepare all feedback ahead of time
When the actual time for conducting employee evaluation comes, make sure to prepare the meeting ahead of time and have all feedback ready. A good way of achieving this would be to review your employee performance file, make some notes from what you observed and highlight the points you’d want to discuss with the employee during the evaluation meeting. Ideally, the performance evaluation should mainly be about the positive aspects of the employee’s performance throughout the year, plus valuable advice on how to do better in the future.
Be honest and direct
Sometimes, during the evaluation process, you might need to provide negative criticism to an employee. This may be difficult, but you have to be entirely honest and direct about such feedback to avoid confusion. Do not sugarcoat the statement or downplay the situation either. Instead, say it as it is and provide clear examples. After that, provide the employee with specific helpful advice on improving and growing in the future.
Avoid Employee Comparison
The sole reason for conducting employee evaluation is to review individual employee performance against a set standard of performance metrics. Therefore, don’t compare a given employee’s performance to another because this can lead to negative organizational politics, unhealthy competition, and resentment leading to workplace conflicts. Make you base your evaluation on the set performance metrics and not the contribution of your other workers.
Always review the performance, not the personality
While conducting employee evaluation, your focus should be on how well the employee performs on the job and not their personality characteristics. When you judge the employee’s personal traits, they might feel attacked, and the conversation can become hostile. Therefore, avoid making criticism personal and always circle it back to the job.
Keep employee review meetings a two-way conversation
An employee evaluation process should never be a one-way conversation where the employer talks and the employee listens. This is not effective by all means. It should be a conversation between the two of you. The employer should listen to the employee’s concerns and how they would like to grow and develop their career. Alternatively, you can ask your employee to do a self-assessment review of how they feel they have performed throughout the year against the set criterion. A productive performance review exercise should also allow the employee to provide feed on the workplace, the management, and themselves while reflecting on their personal career growth.
Only make promises that you can keep
During the performance evaluation process, it is good to talk about future possibilities, such as sponsoring employees for further training and skill development programs but be sure you can make these things happen. Don’t just make promises you can’t honor and raise your employees’ expectations for something you know you will not follow through.
Use Evaluation Form
To avoid possible future discrimination suits, you’d probably want to have a systematic and consistent evaluation form that you will use for evaluating all the employees in the same job position. This helps to make the process fairer, and you can use the form to avoid or defend your company against discrimination suits.
Provide a copy of the completed evaluation form
Once you are done with the evaluation process, it is crucial that you keep the original form and provide a copy of the document to the employee for their reference.
Give ongoing feedback
Employee evaluation should be a continuous process throughout the year and not a one-time thing. Providing regular feedback throughout the year and touching base with an employee to see how they are working towards achieving their set targets and goals can help improve employee morale and keeps them on track at work.
Always end the evaluation on a positive note
An evaluatiuon is designed to help an employee take an honest look at what he/she has achieved in a certain set period of time and what they ought to do to improve their performance and overall productivity going forward. Ending the exercise on a high note using a positive statement is a way to harness a positive and optimistic outlook moving forward.
Legal Considerations Regarding Employee Evaluation
Periodic performance evaluation can be a helpful tool for both employers and employees when conducted appropriately and effectively. However, if wrongly done, it can be hurtful to an organization and create serious legal problems for employers and damage positive workplace productivity.
While conducting performance evaluation on your employees, consider the following legal issues;
Discrimination laws are broad and essentially place everyone in a protected glass. This includes employees. Performance evaluations often come into play when employees come after employers for discrimination during the evaluation process. as you may be already aware, under Federal Law, it is illegal to discriminate an employee based on their age, disability, race, gender, religion, pregnancy status, nationality, etc.
Effective employee evaluation focuses solely on quantifiable aspects of an employee’s performance at the job and not a personal judgment. As an employer, you should always consider giving feedback that focuses on measurable facts and actual behaviors rather than being biased and providing judgement based on personality traits. By doing this, you will keep the evaluation professional, and it will help you in court in case of any possible suits.
This may come into play when you decide to design your evaluations. If you do this, you should design the same form with the same standards for all the employees in the same job position. Otherwise, you will leave yourself vulnerable to discrimination claims, and this may be very hurtful to your company in general.
This may seem like a non-issue, but it is one of the biggest legal problems for employee evaluation. Some employers avoid the hustle and bustle of having uncomfortable performance evaluation meetings by giving relatively good scores to under-performing employees. However, this is not good as it may be used against you in a court of law by the same employee if you choose to fire them because they are not performing at their work. Employees can use the evaluation and firing against you in court to claim discrimination, arguing that they are good at the job based on the evaluation score. Yet, you still fired them for under-performance-meaning the termination was based on discrimination. It would be best if you rate each employee as it is.
Once an employee files a claim against you-be, it a legal violation or wage and hour issues, assessing her performance becomes very dangerous legally. If you give that employee a negative review, a court might view it as retaliation for her claim instead of an honest opinion of her performance. It is worth noting that retaliating is illegal.
Using performance evaluation as evidence
Sadly, many employee-employer relationships end up in a court of law. Thus, as you fill in your employee evaluations, keep this in mind. Ensure that your evaluation provides details of an employee’s unacceptable performance to bolster your case in a court of law if need be. Otherwise, having an incomplete, inaccurate, or unfair one might hurt your company’s reputation, which is bad for business.
Employee Evaluation Examples
Here are some evaluation examples that you can use as a guide while reviewing your employees’ performance:
Mercy has so far been one of the most hardworking members of the Senior Registered Nurses team. She works exceedingly well under restricted timelines and adjusts according to the demands of the job. Mercy is always willing to discuss her concerns well to achieve set results promptly and takes a leadership position in keeping her team members motivated and up to the task.
She regularly keeps track of the quality of work she produces and is very analytical. By doing this, she can improve herself and achieve career growth.
Based on the above feedback, I would recommend further training in a leadership and mentorship program such that she can take a leadership role in the hospital which may require managing additional responsibilities.
Flavian exhibits a moderate match for the role of Business Systems Support officer.
Her technical strength areas are efficiency, teamwork and processes, project management, and operating environment. Flavian exhibited a moderate competency match with regard to time management and personal development initiative.
Flavian’s main behavioral competency strength is in driving innovation when it comes to project management. Her main areas of concern include; attention to detail, safety focus, flexibility, and company rules compliance.
She could keep abreast with the recent developments in the technological industry by upgrading technical certifications, attending IT-related professional forums, and enrolling in seminars and training by other advanced professional bodies.
Further, I propose coaching and mentoring. She should take some online lessons or read more on personal time management and personal development to improve her ability to have a career balance.
Brian exhibits a weak match for the role of a sales and marketing officer.
His technical areas of strengths include; continuously suggesting new ideas in marketing meetings and debriefs on projects, willingly adjusting his schedule to be available when the job demands, and is an active team player.
Brian’s main areas of concern are; he has made numerous errors that are harmful to business operations, he is unable to effectively communicate with clients and solve customer issues amicably, which constantly leads to low average sales, and he struggles to overcome new challenges and find solutions to emerging issues effectively. Time management and taking the initiative to take on more and challenging assignments are also main areas of concern for Brian.
Since Brian’s quality of work is generally unacceptable, we propose that he attends more training and seminars on this profession to gain more exposure, enrolls in an online customer service and communications skills training program, and he should be assigned a mentor who will coach him on how to improve his quality of work and meet his target sales of $2000 for the next evaluation period.
Further, we propose that he takes online classes on time management and balance between personal life and career management such that he can experience personal career growth.
Dos and Don’ts of Performance Evaluation
Below are some of the most common dos and don’ts that you need to keep in mind when conducting employee performance appraisals;
- Regularly write down notes on individual employee’s performance throughout the year and remember to include both positive and negative dates of incidents with a description.
- Constantly communicate with your employees about any issues that may be of concern and allow them a chance to improve.
- It is also wise to create individual employee performance files where you document the evaluations you make throughout the year.
- Be inconsistent at any point during the evaluation process. This is to avoid discrimination claims from the employees who might feel that you are treating people differently in the same situation.
- Retaliate against employees who may raise concerns regarding potential legal violations or work claims.
- Do away with at-will employment. In essence, employees in nearly all states work at-will. Ideally, this means that employers can terminate an employee’s work without reason. Avoid undoing this by promising long-term employment because you might be forced to terminate their work at any given time due to unforeseeable circumstances.
Free Evaluation Forms and Templates
Periodic employee evaluation is part and parcel of any organization of any size. Employee evaluation forms still remain the most widely used method of measuring performance across all positions in most companies. Download our free, premium, and professionally designed employee evaluation form templates and get them customized to help you with your organization’s evaluation process promptly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
Employee evaluation generally encompasses a performance review based on the information collected during the exercise. Write a summary of the employee’s job description, highlight areas of improvement, compare each person’s strengths and weaknesses against their specific goals, recommend future actionable goals, and provide constructive feedback while praising the employee’s input.
You can use several ways to measure employee performance depending on your company’s industry and overall goals. For the manufacturing industry, you can measure performance based on the output by measuring the number of produced goods. For a customer service-oriented company, performance can be measured in customer satisfaction, while for a sales company, through sales numbers. However, the most common performance measurement among most companies is performance ratings.
Evaluating a new employee on performance can be challenging and is ideally unrealistic because you have not been with them for long to see how they work to develop an objective performance review. Rather, it would be best if you waited until your new employee is six months or one year past the probationary period to conduct a formative evaluation.
The following are some of the 12 most typical performance review skills you should include in your employee evaluation form. These include:
• Communication skills
• Creativity and innovation
• Productivity and quality of work
• Cooperation and collaboration
• Coaching and mentorship
• Interpersonal skills
• Problem-solving skills
• Cost containment skills
Having a performance evaluation system as a key component of your practice structure is essential. Suppose the performance evaluation system is implemented effectively, then in that case, it ensures accountability and fairness, promotes growth and development, and fosters a sense of pride in your employee’s contributions to the practice.
To ensure that your employee evaluation form is effective, focus on providing an objective and honest rating. Make sure to include both numeric scales and open-ended questions to gather both quantitative and qualitative data. Finally, make the evaluation exercise a two-way conversation by engaging the employees in the evaluation and being the mentor; they’d want to help them grow and improve in the future.