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December 11, 2017

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Employee Evaluations and Reviews

The Employee Evaluation and Review process provides employer and employee with one of the most useful and powerful tools in business today. The primary functions of this process center around how does the employee ‘fit’ in the business, how do the career plans of the employee match up to the business’ plan and how can the business help the employee maximize their potential.

It is helpful to clearly identify what the evaluation and review process is not. It is not 1)the method to build up a case to terminate an employee 2) a forum that generates regular pay raises 3) a method to reprimand an employee 4) an exact science.

The benefits to the employer are many. Perhaps the greatest benefit is that the evaluations and reviews help keep good employees. Keeping good employees gives a business a real competitive advantage over competitors. When I conduct an employee review the employer almost always uncovers something very important that they did not know about the employee. It is also an excellent way to get direct feedback about management. Because of this dynamic the evaluation and review also can be extremely useful in improving the management process.

When setting up an employee evaluation and review process keep these key points in mind:

  1. Give priority to the evaluation and review schedule. Few things in the business process are more important. Don’t try to ‘work it in’ when work slows down. Reviews should be scheduled every three months. By rearranging the schedule to meet other needs the employee will feel they are not top priority.

  2. Focus on the employee first. This is not the time to discuss general business strategy.

  3. Use a template or guide if you are not familiar with conducting reviews. Remember to stay flexible and not develop a standard script. If you use a form or template give the employee a copy several weeks before the review. The manager and employee can think and carefully fill out the forms in advance and then compare notes at the review.

  4. Training to improve performance in weak and strong areas should be stressed. A beginning training plan can be developed in the review. Encourage employees to develop their own career plan.

  5. Avoid Rating numerically (for example on a scale of 1-10) if at all possible. This is confusing and can cause disagreements – ‘you rated me a 6 and I think I should be a 7’. Most better employees resent being graded like a school kid.

  6. Stay focused on proficiency, coworker relationships and what has happened since the last review. Review the past, analyze the present but emphasize the future.

  7. Know what employees are concerned about before the interview. Some of the most common issues are current performance, how performance improvements can be made, what opportunities for advancement are available and how can the employee’s career goals be met by the employer.

The evaluation and review process is one of crucial fundamentals for creating a strong employer-employee relationship. In a business climate of increased competition and expected skilled labor shortage, the evaluation and review process is not optional. Those employers that avoid these crucial reviews will be at a competitive disadvantage.

- Jack Deal

www.dealconsulting.com