Employee Evaluations, Part 1

July 17th, 2012  Posted at   Wellness
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Employee evaluations! These two simple words have been known to strike fear and resentment into the hearts of employees, while creating anguish among management and supervisors.

It seems that many employees often see performance evaluations simply as an opportunity for management to criticize their performance. Employees often leave an evaluation session confused, frustrated and feeling that management doesn’t appreciate their efforts or know what the employee does or how they do it.

On the other hand, many managers and supervisors view employee evaluations as additional paperwork, more stress and deadline pressure, and increased employee/management tensions. However, this scenario should not be the case. Employee evaluations should be a professional, informative, educational and motivational tool for management to increase efficiency, productivity, communication and teamwork.

Likewise, employee evaluations should be viewed by all levels of your staff as an opportunity for growth, renewal and improvement. An effective employee evaluation process should recognize those actions and qualities that the organization values, while giving the employee the tools to correct and improve on any areas of weakness.

Purpose & benefits of employee evaluations

An effective employee evaluation process should serve a number of objectives and purposes. The following are a few main reasons for instituting a regular employee evaluation process:

To inform employees about their job performance and clarify job priorities. One of the fundamental purposes for conducting an employee evaluation is to communicate to the employee their level and quality of job performance. In striving for excellence, it is essential to routinely evaluate and review one’s performance. Employee evaluations should also clarify for the employee all areas of their job that you and your organization consider high priority.

To motivate employee performance and increase efficiency, productivity and competence. Employee evaluations should be conducted in a positive and upbeat atmosphere. As stated earlier, use the evaluation session to not only identify areas of weakness and improvement, but also to emphasize appreciation for the employee’s efforts and hard work. Let the employee know that they are an important and vital part of your organization’s team and that their contribution is not being taken for granted.

Motivate your employees during the evaluation by discussing any ideas, projects, concerns or tasks that the employee feels is important. You may even “let them run” and be accountable for an idea or a project’s development. In addition, ask for your employees opinions and comments on topics that relate to your organization’s operation. Not only will the employee feel included, but you will likely receive some great ideas and innovative solutions to organizational problems.

To enhance communication and employee feedback. Developing and improving communication within the workforce is vital to any excellence-oriented organization. By encouraging free and confidential feedback during the evaluation session, managers and supervisors will increase their understanding of their employees’ needs. At the same time, by listening to your employees and encouraging them to express new ideas and solutions to problems, you expose your organization to a vast and creative pool of new ideas and resources. Ideas and resources that may make you more productive and profitable.

To improve employee weaknesses in job performance. When conducting employee reviews, it is necessary to address areas in which employees can improve. This helps staff to grow, and allows them to set goals more easily.

When discussing weaknesses, it is important to be honest and to the point. Sugar-coating the issue will not help solve the problem. However, as we will discuss later, it is important to give employees the tools, resources and means by which to improve. This may be as simple as giving them a book, article or videotape that addresses the problem and suggests solutions. You may even determine that enrolling them in a class or seminar will be helpful.

Whatever the case, by directly addressing and correcting weaknesses within your workforce, an organization can continually move forward, improve competitiveness and strive to be its best.

To encourage ownership, accountability and employee involvement. Employees must know that you and your members are counting on them; after all, their actions directly influence member perception and level of satisfaction.

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