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How to effectively conduct a performance evaluation

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Evaluating the performance of an employee can be a very challenging and demanding task for a manager. However, it’s necessary in order to keep employees up-to-date with the company’s goals, praise them for their successes, and re-direct them if they’ve gone in the wrong direction.

Good performance evaluation can be crucial to motivate employees to give their best and improve the overall quality of the team. It’s also a very valuable indicator of their advancements within the company and how they contribute to the success of an entire community.

The performance evaluation can be a way of aligning the goals of the employees and the company. On the other hand, if it’s not done effectively, it can result in confused and unmotivated employees.

That’s why we bring you some tips on how to conduct a performance evaluation that will serve both the employees and the company:

Perform evaluations quarterly

Performance evaluation shouldn’t be an event that happens only once every year. Instead, it should be done at least once every quarter. That’s how you will provide regular feedback to your employees and make sure you’re always on the same page.

According to Gallup, millennials have a need for regular feedback, but won’t ask for it. So, even if they aren’t asking for feedback, managers should be the ones who will take the initiative and directly affect their employees’ engagement. The research also states that millennials who meet their managers on a regular basis are more than twice as likely to be engaged at work, compared to their generational peers.

However, your quarterly evaluations shouldn’t be the only time you provide feedback to your employees. You should arrange more frequent casual meetings where you can ask your employees how they feel at their workplace and give them advice on how to improve their performance. Namely, work engagement is highest with employees who meet with their managers at least once every week.

Set goals

Setting goals is the first step towards preparing for effective performance evaluation. Goals have to be set during the starting period of your new employee.

This is very important so that the employee will know what to focus on. If necessary, talk to them about how to achieve these goals. Give them guidelines and provide help if needed, especially in the beginning.

All goals should be documented in a short format that describes the demands and expectations the company has from the employee. This document should be realistic, and it should, therefore, be prepared in cooperation with the employee.

Having everything documented will provide a clear direction for the employee in case they lose track. This is also relevant for the performance evaluation meeting itself — document every topic discussed and give your employee a copy.

Don’t expect the employee to rock it from the first evaluation you do after three months. Even though some people need a longer adaptation period, they might end up being your best employees.

Be clear

When you deliver performance evaluation, you have to make sure your feedback is clear and concise. The employee should get an image of what they’ve done well and what they can do better in the future.

Be specific. Point out certain situations if needed. Tell them it didn’t look good when they missed that deadline. Tell them they could have contributed more to that project instead of leaving it all to their colleague.

Don’t leave the employee in doubt. This will only make things worse and won’t bring any better results for your next performance evaluation meeting.

It’s a conversation — not a lecture

A performance evaluation meeting shouldn’t be your lecture to your employees. It should be a rather informal conversation about their experience in the company and your feedback about their work.

Give the employee some space to talk about their strengths and weaknesses. Ask them about their struggles in the company. You don’t expect everything to be so pink, do you? There probably are some successes they are proud of and they’d want to share. There probably are areas they believe they can do better at too.

Most importantly, ask them what they think should be improved. This will show your employees that you really care about their opinion and appreciate the honest feedback. Ask them to give you personal feedback. “How can I lead you better? Do you feel micromanaged?”

Finally, make sure they know they can count on your help and support at any time.

Talk about the future

Performance evaluations are also some kind of preparation for the period until the next evaluation meeting. That’s why a part of this meeting should be dedicated to the future. Talk about upcoming projects, future expectations, and things that can be improved.

This part is very important because you don’t want to leave your employees unmotivated after an hour of discussing their faults and mistakes. Instead, the final part of the meeting should motivate them to give even more of what they’ve shown so far.

You have to show them that you’re not here to criticize them. You’re here to help them become better. You’re here to help them grow and succeed, and this meeting is all about that.

A good performance evaluation should be somewhere between critics and praises. You should praise your employees enough to show them they are doing a good job, but not too much so they wouldn’t relax and think they don’t have to try harder.

On the other hand, you should also criticize them enough to make them do better, but not to drain their entire motivation either. Although finding the balance is difficult, going with honest, but well-prepared feedback is always the best option.

Following these tips can take your communication with employees on the next level. Better relationships in the entire team mean better company performance and happier customers.

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