If you are a manager who is responsible for annual reviews, incorporate all of the following elements into the process and watch your employees bloom.
1. Give your staff the opportunity to complete a self-evaluation prior to receiving your appraisal of their performance.
Ask staff to assess how well they have met their particular job duties and standards. Also include a narrative section that seeks their responses to questions like: How have you grown in your position over the last year? How do you want to grow over the next year? What resources do you need to excel at your job? How does this position fit into your personal mission and goals? What frustrations and constraints do you experience in your job, and how might they be overcome?
2. Meet the requirements of your human resources department or Board of Directors first as you prepare employee evaluations.
Avoid cutting any corners around these expectations to stay in compliance with organizational policies and procedures. Make certain that whatever process and forms you utilize are standard with each employee in any given year. This is not the time for getting creative and varying content among staff.
3. Discuss with employees the commonalities as well as differences that exist between the self-evaluation results and what you as the supervisor have written in the appraisals.
On the day of the formal evaluation offer the employee a few minutes to read what you have written while you go into another office or space to review his/her self-evaluation. When the two of you reconnect, both of you should highlight the areas where you are on the same page and the areas where you see things differently. This dialogue can be most revealing in regards to how the employee actually views his/her performance, perceives his/her attitude, and interprets his/her job functions.
4. Emphasize employee strengths and demonstrations of growth.
Focus heavily on the obvious skills and efficiency a staff person exemplifies. Start with these to kick off the appraisal on a positive note. Talk about how each specific strength enhances organizational effectiveness, builds employee morale, improves the workplace environment, makes your job easier, inspires others. Be sure to give lots of praise, and smile while doing so.
5. Frame weaknesses and poor performance in a way that employees can hear.
Nobody likes to be told what they do wrong. Nobody enjoys being told how they retard the progress of their team or an entire company. Nobody wants their boss to shine neon lights on what they yet must learn or swallow. Still, it has to happen during an evaluation. If it doesn’t, you aren’t doing your job as a supervisor and reviewer. Do it kindly but directly, using your normal voice volume and a reasonable tone. There is no excuse for rudeness, degradation, or cruelty.
6. Seek employee input around how and when needed improvements will take place.
While you as the boss obviously must take charge of ensuring necessary progress and growth, you are wise to enlist the ideas of your staff. Why? You get more personal buy-in to change if you avoid being a dictator in these circumstances. Make this part of the formal appraisal a real conversationâEUR”comprised of much give and take where possible. Allow yourself to step outside the box, to flow with possibility, and to be open to creative thought from your employees. Everyone wins.
7. Reach consensus on action steps for improvement.
Once all of the ideas are out on the table, utilize your leadership skills to bring about a practical, viable consensus around exactly how the employee Maine will move from where they are currently to where you need/want them to be three months from now. Together, list the steps involved. Attach a time line that works in the real world. Tell the staffer you intend to hold them accountable to what the two of you have agreed upon.
8. Define what improvement will look like three months from now.
Don’t skip this piece or you and the employee will pay a price. A person can’t work towards something if he/she is unclear about the desired endpoint. That sets up the individual for failure. And it sets you up for frustration. As the boss, describe specifically what you need to see pertaining to performance in a particular area. You can’t be fuzzy; you must be crystal clear.
9. Agree to meet after a certain amount of time to assess improvements made.
Discuss the benefits to periodic assessments: noting the progress, highlighting team and organizational growth as a result of that progress, boosted employee morale and confidence, cohesiveness between employees and supervisor, less fear and insecurity within staff, reduced frustration for both parties. Keep in mind that these mini check-in sessions also provide opportunities for staffers to request resources they’ve discovered they need in order to move forward.
10. Stretch the employee.
Credible evaluations motivate staff to develop a taste for looking beyond the horizon, for becoming dissatisfied with the old status quo, for yearning to grow into people they never dreamed they could be. Credible appraisals don’t pat people on the back and reassure them they should “just keep on doing what they are doing.” Credible reviews stretch employees to a place of excellence that far exceeds what they imagined was ever possible for them.