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Taking the Dread Out of Performance Evaluations

According to Forbes, many companies are trying to move away from the traditional performance evaluation because it seems out of date and old fashioned. Besides, employees and HR managers alike dread the event. Unfortunately, a study done by CEB shows that companies that have done away with the traditional performance evaluations are seeing a decrease in employee performance because without the evaluations, poor communication ends up being the result. The poor communication affects employee performance.

Since everyone pretty much admits that performance evaluations are disliked by all, what can be done about them to make them less intimidating? The way the evaluation is gone about and the tone that is set during the evaluation has a lot to do with how “dreadful” the experience has to be. If you will apply three simple techniques while performing your evaluations, you will be amazed at the vastly different results you will see.

First, start off by celebrating the employees’ successes. Everybody realizes that he or she makes mistakes. Nobody is perfect, but if the first thing that is done in an evaluation is to start naming off everything the employee has done wrong, the employee is automatically going to get defensive. He or she is not going to hear a thing you have to say after this, even if it’s good. Instead, start off by pointing out the good the employee has done throughout the year. Celebrate his growth and achievements. He is now ready to hear about what needs to change.

Second, frame the negatives as constructive criticism. Choose your words wisely so that you are not tearing the individual down, but are showing him or her a different way to make himself or herself even better. For example, “The way you handled this client was really good, but if you do XYZ you could have also gotten this.” You can use the sandwich principle when dealing with negative things. You start with a compliment and end with a compliment and squeeze the negative item in the middle.

Third, never demand that your employee do a certain thing, act a certain way, etc. Instead, coach your employee to be the best he can be. Help him learn new skills and talents. Help him to grow. Be his cheerleader.

When it’s finally time for the evaluation, you have hopefully been in constant contact with your employees, and this is just a formalization of what has been going on all year. To help keep the evaluations running smoothly, though, here are four simple things you can do to help:

· Require employees to perform a self-audit. This allows you, as the manager, to see how the employee sees himself. It gives you insight into his mind.

· Personalize the review. Not every employee is the same. You need to figure out how each employee responds to different types of treatment and customize your review to best fit the individual’s needs.

· Set goals. Employees tend to do best when they know exactly what is expected of them and when the deadlines are. By setting goals and deadlines, you are setting your employees up for success!

· Request feedback. Make giving feedback about how ideas that are being implemented because of the reviews are going easy. Make sure your employees know that you value their feedback, too. Open communication will become the lifeblood of the truly successful employee evaluation.

Employee evaluations do not have to be dreaded any longer. If done correctly, they can actually become an event that employees look forward to as they get to freely share ideas to help improve the company in which they are so invested.


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