7 Tips to Pump Up Your Business’s Performance Evaluation Process

Ah, performance evaluation season. Some people love it. Others dread it. Whichever side you’re on, evaluations are essential for driving performance and motivating employees.

If it seems like your performance evaluation process is falling flat these days, bring it back to life by pumping up your process.

Performance evaluation tips

A performance evaluation is the process of reviewing how effectively employees are fulfilling their job responsibilities and contributing to the business’s goals. During an evaluation, managers, supervisors, or business owners give feedback to employees as well as listen to employees’ feedback.

To ensure your performance evaluation process is productive and goes smoothly, utilize these seven tips.

tips for a better performance evaluation process

1. Know the elements of an effective evaluation

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all work performance evaluation process. But, there are certain elements you should keep in mind. To have an effective employee performance evaluation, you need to:

  • Have consistent and frequent evaluations (e.g., quarterly, biannually, etc.)
  • Be transparent
  • Focus on the future in addition to the past
  • Have two-way conversations

Processes vary from company to company. Find out what does and doesn’t work for you and your employees. Incorporate different elements into your review process and tweak if necessary.

2. Understand the importance of performance evaluations

Performance evaluations are the prime time to find out where your employees stand and how they feel about their work. And, employee reviews are a crucial part of engaging and retaining employees.

If you don’t understand the importance of performance evaluations, your team and business may suffer in the long run.

So … what’s the big deal about performance reviews, you ask? Ongoing performance reviews can boost employee success by:

  • Helping employees identify their needs, goals, and challenges
  • Giving you insight into the obstacles employees face in their roles
  • Allowing employees to openly discuss feedback
  • Celebrating and recognizing employees’ accomplishments

Performance reviews can make or break trust. Done right and taken seriously, an open and honest dialogue can build trust between you and your employees. Done wrong, they can disengage employees and even decrease performance.

3. Prepare ahead of time

No one enjoys the feeling of being unprepared, especially business owners and entrepreneurs. And going into performance reviews, this is definitely not a feeling you want to have.

To avoid being unprepared or underprepared during performance review time, prepare notes ahead of time. Come up with an agenda for each employee. What day are you going to meet with the employee? What time? What key points and topics are you going to discuss?

Along with preparing notes and establishing a plan that fits each employee’s needs, you should also encourage employees to bring ideas and topics they want to discuss. That way, both you and the employee are roaring and ready to go for the review.

4. Take your time evaluating employees

As a business owner, you know it’s never a good thing to rush a process or idea. Otherwise, things could wind up sloppy and unsuccessful. Just like any other process in business, your performance evaluation process should not be rushed.

When it comes to performance reviews, take your time with each and every employee. Plan on spending at least 15 minutes with each worker to discuss things like past projects, areas of improvement (if any), and future goals.

Remember, performance evaluations are a time for employees to share their feedback with you, so don’t scurry them out the door as fast as you can. Also, keep in mind that every employee is different and one employee may need more time to talk to you than another.

5. Be a good listener

As an employer and co-worker, you must always keep your ears open and listen to employees. This is especially important when you’re meeting with employees for a performance review.

Yes, performance evaluations are a two-way street. Both you and the employee should be actively listening and communicating. However, a performance evaluation is the ideal time for employees to speak their minds.

When it comes to performance evaluations, be an active listener. Listening to your employees shows them you care about what they have to say. Not to mention, it can help you learn and understand any issues employees may have.

6. Focus on the future

Performance evaluation season is a time to reflect on the employee’s performance over the last few months. And, it’s also a time to focus on the employee’s future at your company.

When you’re evaluating an employee during their review, cover not only the past, but also the future. Take time to discuss the employee’s past performance as well as your expectations and their goals for the future. Make sure your employee leaves their review knowing what they can pat themselves on the back for and what you expect of them moving forward.

7. Keep the conversation going

Part of the performance evaluation process is keeping the conversation going even after review season passes.

Yes, performance reviews should happen on a regular basis. But, your communication with employees shouldn’t end there. In addition to discussing performance and feedback during evaluations, you should also set aside time to meet with employees outside of performance review time.

To keep the conversation alive and well year-round, you can establish things like:

  • An open-door policy
  • Weekly 1:1s
  • Daily standup
  • Mini meetings

Whatever you decide to do, try to keep things consistent. Setting a regular cadence shows employees you are invested in their growth and employee career development.

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This article has been updated from its original publication date of March 1, 2010.

This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.

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