Evaluations are stressful for everyone, supervisors, staff members and even HR. The point of evaluations is often lost in the pressure to get something in the file by a looming deadline. While evaluations may never be anyone’s favorite process, they can document an important conversation. Remember these key five points to make the evaluation process relevant and not just an exercise in paper-generation.
Don’t use the evaluation to just capture problems or areas of improvement. Make sure you note the successes and learning that happened since the last evaluation.
This is the golden rule of evaluations. Any information that is important enough to warrant mention in the evaluation, should not be a surprise to the employee. If you haven’t addressed the concern before, then own up to your mistake. And don’t let it happen again next year.
Anything you mention must be job-related. How does this action or behavior impact the employee’s work? If you can’t connect the dots, then how is it relevant to the evaluation? No comments about how nice someone is, unless that is a required job skill. If it is important to their work, explain the connection.
Although HR requires the form, the point of the process is the conversation with the staff member. The evaluation form should document the conversation and not vice versa. Give more time and attention to the actual conversation with the employee than to the form. Make the conversation matter.
The evaluation process is designed to look at the past year and it is important to summarize and evaluate progress periodically. Use the “look-back” to give feedback and information about what worked and what didn’t work. Then spend the bulk of the time on facing the future together. What needs to be different in the coming year? What opportunities are available? How will you build on successes? What are the top priorities moving forward? Where does the staff member want to stretch and grow? What goals will you set together and support them to reach? That’s the fun part and it deserves the most attention.
When done well, the evaluation can serve as a process to ensure you and your staff members are on the same page about where things stand and what the priorities are for the new year. At its best, this evaluation conversation can leave you both energized and enthusiastic for the year to come