Everything You Need to Know about Employee Performance Assessments
Evaluating employee performance can sometimes prove a daunting process, especially if you’re a new manager. You may wonder what the best approach is to obtain and deliver constructive feedback on their performance.
No doubt, but most supervisors struggle with employee assessment reviews. You have to strike a balance between delivering adequate feedback, establishing future goals, and evaluating your employee production or contribution. Even more, you have to come up with a strategy to help manage various assessment pitfalls that may demoralize your employees.
The good news, this article covers most of the employee assessment techniques to help you find the most appropriate performance and interaction feedback. You’ll be able to identify which goals have been met, exceeded or not met and how you can manage your employee relationships.
What is employee assessment and evaluation?
Employee assessments are reviews or performance appraisals managers use to evaluate employee productivity and performance. The tests assess employees’ aptitude, personality and skills. In most cases, companies would have a regular employee evaluation, often once a year.
But why would organizations conduct employee performance assessments?
Importance of employee assessment?
Employee performance assessments are usually done for various reasons, including to help;
Point out the employees’ strength and weakness
Companies must continually evaluate their employees' strengths and weaknesses. This helps the managers better match their employee qualifications to various tasks and assignments. Even better, it helps employees identify areas they need to improve on or put more effort into success.
Provide a basis for compensating or rewarding workers
Employee performance assessment is a measurement tool many organizations use to compensate their employees. Evaluation would give managers and supervisors a chance to recognize employees’ hard work, efforts or commitment levels.
The supervision and ratings the employees get can directly impact their amount. Depending on their level of commitment, companies may decide to increase their wages or even assign the most proficient more tasks and even promote them to leadership roles.
Motivate employees to put more efforts onto their tasks
Once employees realize that the company uses the performance as the basis to promote, reward or increase their salaries and wages, in that case, employees would put more effort, so they get considered for various roles or rewards. So, a continuous evaluation would ensure employees are always motivated to handle their multiple tasks, increasing their production levels.
Identify employees’ training and development needs
Employees' development needs are a significant reason companies want to conduct an evaluation. Through evaluation and assessment, firms can know their employers' current level of job performances, their weaknesses and strengths.
From the employees' weaknesses, the organization would identify their employees' training needs. The training programs would ensure employees get a new skill built on their current performance to improve productivity.
Organizations should, however, ensure they have provided effective training programs that would help boost employee self-assurance and morale. Form the weakness and strengths. Therefore, firms would know the best type of training to suit them and their employees.
Set new goals and objectives
Every organization has some standard performance or company goals they want to achieve by the end of every financial year. Conducting performance assessment help companies their un-achieved and met goals.
If most of their goals and met, then they have the opportunity to set new ones. If the plans are not completed, the managers may reassign the task and assign new achievable targets.
Refocus the employees
Performance evaluation provides an opportunity for managers and supervisors to refocus their teams. This is the best time to clarify or articulate the vision and objectives you want employees to meet. It’s also an opportunity to reshuffle employees to various departments where you feel they can do better.
Conducting employee performance assessment
Employee assessment comprises various stages and processes. Before you evaluate performance, you need to create a system to help measure the performance. Therefore, before evaluation, develop performance standard goals or objectives and create a survey.
Performance standard goals
Every employer has goals they plan to achieve, and for effective employee evaluation, such dreams must be met. Therefore, performance standard goals describe what the employers want their workers to accomplish and how they want the task done.
These goals should apply to employees across the board. The managers or supervisors must be clear about the workers' expectations and the desired output they need. However, you must ensure that the goals set are achievable and that they directly relate to the task assigned.
Once you have outlined the common goals for various positions, you have to make your employees aware of what you expect them to achieve to get a positive evaluation. It would even be better to negotiate the goals with them to ensure you all get committed to collectively have the desired goals.
Employers should create and send surveys to their employees with the performance standard goals in mind. The survey questions should ask about the employees' strengths and weaknesses, performance level and areas that need improvements.
Surveys give the employee a chance to fill the questions as they self-evaluate themselves. This makes managers aware of their employees’ performance and gauges how hard or easy it might be to improve. Most importantly, performance quizzes help evaluate the needs and results of any employee training.
Once the employees have filled out the survey questions, check for commonalities between the feedbacks and take notes of important keywords. The good thing with surveys is that they would bring all types of feedback, and you can get both helpful and those that may not help your company grow. However, give priorities to common constructive feedback and openly discuss it during evaluation meetings.
What should managers do during employee evaluation and assessment?
Employee evaluation and assessment should encourage production but not discourage other employees who might have performed dismally. Therefore,
Avoid focusing entirely on the negative aspects
There's no doubt, but negative feedback always has a higher emotional impact than positive feedback. Studies show that those who receive positive feedback achieve greater success in their subsequent tasks. Still, those with negative feedback would perform worse.
Though that would also depend on the motivation level of the employees, some poorly performed employees may not want to get the same feedback, so they'll strive to make more significant changes.
Therefore, you must avoid giving all the positive and constructive employee feedback at once. But, it's important to point out what's not working well while mentioning positive results. Remember focusing on negative feedback may leave your employees unmotivated and overwhelmed.
Here are tips to help give negative feedbacks that are emotionally intelligent:
Simultaneously give both praise and criticism. View criticism the same way you do to praise. So, once you notice something wrong or the employee has done something you like, tell them as soon as you see it.
Don't forget to correct wrong behavior, again don't fail to mention success or good deeds by the employees. Of course, you have to balance your feedback, but that doesn't mean you to sandwich any input. Set a reminder or make a note to ensure you don’t forget.
Be sincere and specific. Even when you praise an employee, you don’t just tell them “excellent work”; mention what they do right and why it pleases you. Please do the same with criticism and tell your employees what they are doing wrong. Also, try giving them room to respond to your concern as it helps you notice what you may have missed. Most importantly, try and tell them how best they can improve the damaged situation.
Don’t associate constructive feedback with specific individuals
You must avoid mentioning the names of the employees who provided constructive feedback. Instead, leave the feedback unanimous. This would ensure a safe space between employees and give feedback freely.
Research shows that employees would be more engaged when an open line of communication between them and the managers. And leaving feedback unanimous ensures your employees feel safe to contribute without retaliation.
You must avoid using second and third-hand information to deliver constructive feedback as it may be impossible to verify. Worst is, you may lose your credibility, or workers may perceive your assessment as biased.
Better still, create a summary of the most common constructive feedback and incorporate common themes. Elaborate the themes in your own words and ways to hide the identity of individuals. This ensures any constructive feedback remains anonymous.
Give employees time before evaluation meeting
Being evaluated is not an easy task. It often creates some tension and anxiety for most employees. Therefore, you should give them some humble lead time between the evaluation date and when you schedule the actual meeting.
Most studies suggest that employees give their workers at least a month to answer their surveys. This also gives your time to analyze the various feedbacks and prepare your list of questions and concerns to address.
Make the assessment a dialogue
Most managers make a one-sided assessment discussion where they dictate everything. While listening is good, workers also need to be given time to speak out.
So, when you take time to review the employees' performance, please give them space to discuss how they view their tasks. It would help you know what they think about the organization and your management.
You must also avoid venting frustrations and talking about your personal concerns with employees. Balance your communication back and forth and ensure you run through all the improvements and needs your employee needs. Even better, invite various questions or concerns during the conversation.
Also, know your workers and beware of some careless and destructive employees who will always provide excuses for failing to complete a task in time. However, be compassionate to employees who work themselves to meet your goals.
Avoid comparison and check on your biases
It's very tempting to judge people, especially if you know what they think. But as the supervisor, you must check your biases to ensure your evaluation is equitable and fair.
Also, you must avoid comparing an employee's performance to others. That would only build resentment, creating conflict with employees being compared. Comparing employees to others may also make some feel less valued. So, ensure to strictly concentrate on the employee at hand and provide their growth opportunities.
Ensure clear, concise and effective communication
It’s important to be clear about your goals and expectation during employee assessment. If you don't directly speak your objectives, you risk employees leaving the meeting when they are more confused about your goals. Instead, they would wonder and create misconceptions around your expectations. Therefore;
Be specific. Specify and spell out exactly what you want your employees to know or do to achieve the set goals. You can do better by giving specific examples of what the employees should do. Also, ensure every goal you set has a time frame for completion with a measurement method so that workers know how you'll know when they succeed or fail.
Be honest with your reviews. Leniency error is a common mistake most managers make; they tend to overemphasize the positive to avoid getting into conflict with some employees or make them happy. This would significantly damage your relationship with other employees. It would also lower your organization's performance as employees would have no or little incentive to produce their best since they know they’ll get positive reviews no matter the effort they put in.
Make your expectations for improvement known. When addressing areas that need improvement, ensure you outline all your expectations for improvement, plus mention how you intend to help your workers better them.
Appreciate, recognize and reward employees for good work
A reward is one of the effective ways to motivate employees. So, during evaluation, ensure to reward or recognize the top-performing workers. You can do that by providing bonuses, raining their wages and promotions, among other forms. Better still, make their efforts known to the entire group.
By doing this, you stand a chance of motivating other employees to work hard to get the same treatment. While they strive to prove themselves, they would increase their production and that of the organization.
Develop disciplinary and termination procedures
Sometimes even after adequate employee evaluation and discussions on required expectations, you’ll still have some dismal performances from some employees. So, how do you handle such situations?
Simple, create a well-defined disciplinary and termination process in place. The process should outline actions and steps taken by employees whenever a decrease in performance is noticed. You can have a written, verbal warning and a termination letter if the situation is not resolved.
Verbal warning. This involves having an in-person and private talk with employees about their performances or actions. You must, however, allow employees to respond but ensure the conversation is brief.
Written warning. How managers handle the written warning would play a critical role in your success. Make it known to your employee (s) how serious their problem is; ensure to include;
· A description of their behavior and measurable actions and changes expected from them
· The support you as the manager would provide to help improve or change their actions and performances
· A description of what will happen if no change is noticed and when it will occur
Termination letter. If a solution is not reached, you still have to explain your reason for termination to your worker. Just ensure you make it brief to avoid starting discussions that would put you in a defensive position.
Types of employee performance assessment or appraisal
You can deploy various ways to gather information used in evaluating your employees. Based on your company preference, you may decide to have the following performance appraisal techniques:
This is the most commonly used method of employee performance assessment. It's an advanced method where assessment is done by various groups including, peers or colleagues and superior personnel. The employee also has the chance to self-evaluation.
Self-appraisal- here, an employee looks at their own achievements and weaknesses and judge their performance based on the successes. The employees' responsibilities and performance are rated with their superiors for superior appraisal.
Subordinate or colleague appraisal gives opportunity to other workmates to review or give feedback on a particular worker's ability. It depends on an employees' leadership, relationship, and communications skills in most cases. And how well they value or motivate their colleagues. This method of assessment provides a comprehensive evaluation of an employee.
This is an assessment technique where workers are evaluated based on their project completion. Though it may take time, this method is effective and result-oriented. This appraisal is usually conducted in a meeting of members with their project managers or supervisors.
Employees' expectations, roles, and responsibilities are covered with a project-based appraisal. Still, the performance must be compared to performance standard goals and expectations or targets placed.
Manager Performance appraisal
Manager appraisal is evaluating managers' and supervisors' performances in the organization. This evaluation is based on professional conduct, teamwork and the managers’ ability to handle or complete projects with the expected output.
The assessment defines the role and needs of team leaders in the company. It helps the supervisors and the organization reach common work grounds and development. It also aims to increase the productivity of the managers and company to the optimum level. Organizations often use manager appraisal to base promotions, rewards and wages or salary raise.
Here are additional benefits of manager appraisal:
Helps identify and analyze managers’ competency. Through the assessment, the company can understand employees' proper potential work level. In other words, it helps the organization judge if they have the right fit for the managerial position.
Give insights on managerial areas that need improvement. It helps managers identify areas they need to update to improve their performance. Also, the company gets to know what skills and factors are lacking in their executive department.
Technological performance appraisal
Also, now as the organizational performance. This assessment technique focuses on the technical skills of the employees. It helps judge employee performance based on specific skills and the amount of work they can compete within a particular time. The more output an employee produces, the higher the positive reviews.
Sales performance appraisal
This is the most straightforward but most painful assessment. Here, employees, primarily the salespersons, are evaluated to achieve specific targets or goals set. For instance, the company may demand that a salesperson makes 50% sale of the products assigned per day.
The employee is then reviewed based on their performance, whether or not they have achieved the 50% target. If the expectation is not met, the salesperson and manager must find ways to reach the goal.
General performance appraisal
This type of assessment involves continuous communication between the employee and their managers. Through the interaction, employees would know about their performance and contribution to the organization. Employees have the responsibility of justifying their roles and assistance during the evaluation.
This method allows the employees to evaluate and rate themselves. They have to define their roles and contribution to the organization.
Employee performance assessment is not fun. But adequate communication and set performance standard goals to be met from the evaluation. So, be willing to understand and listen to your employees' needs and provide them with opportunities to improve their performances and workplace productivity for quality evaluation.