As the year comes to a close, most businesses are evaluating their progress and growth, and making projections for the next fiscal year. At a high level, this kind of goal setting and company planning is necessary for a small business to scale.
At the ground level, employees are the gears of a business, working to keep the operation moving in a forward direction. While managing a group of employees is often a task in itself, sometimes assessing their individual successes and offering ideas for improvement can be a greater challenge.
Here are some ways to conduct a successful employee evaluation for the benefit of both you and your employee:
Offer constructive feedback
The whole purpose of employee evaluations or reviews is to give your employee good, honest, and constructive feedback so they can improve their performance and contribute more efficiently to the company. Be clear and concise in your tone, and avoid accusatory or negative language. If there are issues in his or her performance, address the situation realistically and offer solutions. Don’t use this moment to air grievances, but rather work together to improve work habits.
Prepare your employee
Let your employee know that they are due for a performance evaluation. If you require them to fill out a self-evaluation, give them enough (paid) time to do so.
Be open to suggestions
This evaluation may be for your employee, but it’s also a time when they can give you feedback on the company, and even provide insight into what might make their job more enjoyable or satisfactory. Approach the review as two-sided, and listen to your employee’s feedback as it could give you important information on how to enhance workplace efficiencies in the New Year.
Don’t go overboard
Most business owners may feel the pressure to conduct lengthy evaluations that are unnecessary and take time.
There is no magic length to how long an employee evaluation should be. The best evaluations are just long enough where you feel that you have addressed the strengths and weaknesses of your employee in enough detail to suggest areas for improvement, commend them on good work, and set goals for the next year, as well as allowing time for questions and feedback.
While a formal evaluation is good practice when you are thinking about your business as a whole, don’t make the performance review the only communication you have with your employee all year. Talk to them regularly about their progress to see immediate improvement. Spot mistakes as they occur and capitalize on successes as they happen. Reserve the evaluation for goal setting and written feedback.
Avoid talking about other employees
It’s important to keep the performance review focused on the person being reviewed. Avoid bringing up other employees during your meeting. If the employee mentions someone, positively and/or negatively, steer the conversation back to how it affects them, if at all. It’s vital to maintain professionalism in these situations and stay on track. Talking about others can cause problems for you and your employees. Dedicate this time to each individual and save issues with other employees for that employee’s evaluation, or a different time entirely.
Nurture employee success
Employee evaluations are great tools for monitoring employee progress and setting goals.
Sitting down with your employees to discuss their future is an excellent practice because it shows you care about their individual contributions and support their personal and professional growth.
To make the process easier on both of you, try to have a positive attitude throughout the meeting and encourage open dialogue not only during the review, but consistently throughout the year. Using this approach, you are sure to make the impending evaluation less daunting and stressful, and more constructive and helpful for the both of you.
Have you ever conducted an employee evaluation, and what made it successful/unsuccessful? Share your experiences in the comments below!