Making the Most out of Employee Evaluations

I recently came across an interesting article that gave me a new understanding for why giving effective performance evaluations can be much more difficult than you would think. The idea in this article that resonated with me is that there are three pieces to a performance evaluation that if not properly defined and expressed will lead to a communication disconnect between supervisor and employee. These three pieces are appreciation, coaching, and evaluation.

Appreciation should be clearly and appropriately expressed so that the employee feels motivated and encouraged to build on strengths and improve in areas of weakness. If appreciation of the employee’s work is glossed over, the employee will quite possibly feel that his or her work is being under-valued, creating less of a desire for self-improvement. However, giving too much praise during an evaluation could undermine the coaching that needs to take place.

Coaching is the portion of the process aimed at skill development and personal growth. As with appreciation, this needs to be stated clearly and strike an appropriate balance of encouragement and constructive criticism.

The evaluation is an assessment of where the employee currently stands and what will be expected of him or her going forward. It takes into account the employee’s strengths and weaknesses, and should provide a realistic plan of attack for the employee to progress from where they are presently, to where they should be in the future.

When these three attributes of the performance evaluation aren’t properly balanced or expressed, miscommunication will occur. Finding the right balance of each will depend largely on the strengths and weaknesses of the employee, and will almost certainly take some practice to execute.

+Tim Peters is a consultant with Morrison, providing business valuations, business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, strategic planning), feasibility studies, interim controller services, competitive grant writing and special projects that don't fit into any conventional category. You can contact Tim directly at tpeters@morrisonco.net or via telephone at 530-893-4764 ext. 208.

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