In human resources, a periodic performance evaluation is both an evaluative process and a communication tool between employers and employees.
What is a Performance Evaluation?
Performed at regular intervals, this systematic process measures and evaluates an employee’s work and results based on their job responsibilities, and assesses whether the employee’s output aligns with and adds value to the organization’s overall plan for business success.
After tracking an employee’s performance for a period of time (for instance, a year or six months), their immediate manager will determine the employee’s performance quality with methods like surveys and face-to-face meetings.
Performance evaluations contribute to the lines of communication, providing useful feedback to employees and reviewing output, and establishing what needs to happen going forward. To be most effective, the completed evaluation should contain no surprises to the employee. Said differently, the written evaluation itself should reflect feedback delivered throughout the period through regular coaching and one-on-one meetings. This allows time for the employee to implement and demonstrate coaching that is received.
What is the Purpose of Performance Evaluation?
The employee performance evaluation process is a time for clarifying goals, measuring performance, providing feedback, and documenting employee progress and recognition. Please note the emphasis on it being a process… not an outcome. The actual written document is the culmination of the process, not the purpose of the process.
Acknowledging the work that an employee has done in a specific time period, the performance evaluation is an opportunity to clarify the goals and deliverables that both the manager and the employee agree generates a quality performance.
Scheduled regularly, these evaluations allow employers to:
- Avoid problems that can be prevented with communication
- Improve competence and efficiency
- Work to establish the scope of growth in an employee’s career
- Ascertain whether the employee’s motivation aligns with the success of the company
Employee performance evaluation are tangible evidence that employees were actively involved in understanding the requirements of their jobs and their performance. Setting goals together, communicating feedback, and documenting the meeting ensure that all parties understand expected outputs.
In addition to measuring productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness, evaluations help employers cultivate a company culture that best utilizes employee talent, and emphasizes satisfaction and engagement. When either are lacking, performance evaluations can uncover the reasons why and create a plan to rectify it.
Not only do evaluations establish a record of an employee’s job performance, such as efforts that have been made and milestones achieved, they also establish and record soft skills, like personality, behavior, and attitude. But evaluations do not solely benefit the employer. They are useful for the employee as well, establishing a baseline of where they stand at a particular time, where they are going in their career at the company, and how they are going to get there.
Ideally, employee performance evaluations should:
- Provide clarity of expectations and whether output met those expectations
- Clarify areas of weakness in the employee
- Identify training and developmental needs
- Lay out a career path, if applicable
- Determine promotions
- Identify areas of improvement and correction
- Determine retention and termination
- Decide salary and rewards
- Resolve/avoid grievances
- Maintain communication
- Motivate performance
Types of Performance Evaluation Methods
There are a few different kinds of performance evaluation methods that you can choose to use.
Self-evaluation is when an employee rates themselves using multiple-choice or open-ended questions, by keeping in mind some evaluation criteria. After conducting self-evaluation, the management has an opportunity to fairly assess an employee by considering his/her thoughts about their performance.
360-degree Employee Evaluation
This method includes input from direct supervisors as well as immediate peers and supervisors of different departments.
Graphics Rating Scale
This popular method utilizes numeric or text values that represent values from poor to excellent regarding employee performance.
This method establishes a checklist for employee development and behavior. Checking off the list clarifies areas where the employee needs improvement.
By now, you should have a better grasp of what an employee performance evaluation is and how it is used. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to The CTCS Group for HR assistance at (770) 282-2304.
Chris Thomas, SHRM-SCP is the Principal Consultant with The CTCS Group in Canton, GA. The CTCS Group is focused on providing HR Leadership, Behavioral Assessments, and Consulting to help small businesses grow and thrive. You can subscribe to this blog or request a free consultation at www.thectcsgroup.com.
Disclaimer: The information and recommendations provided in this document should not be considered legal advice and should not substitute for legal advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. Recommendations are provided based on good faith assessment and interpretation of the available legal and regulatory resources.