Employee evaluations are an important part of what we do as business owners. Giving employees feedback on how they are doing benefits us and the employee in several ways. If an employee is performing well, an evaluation is affirming. For employees who are struggling, it gives direction and a roadmap on how to move forward. For those employees who are not doing well, an employee evaluation also provides written documentation and protection for the business should an employee have to be terminated.
Evaluation policy and process
Having an employee evaluation policy in place is important for any business. However, having a written policy that is ignored because you don’t make the time to do evaluations is perhaps worse than not having a policy at all. It is a recipe for frustration for your employees who value feedback and want to know what to expect in their role moving forward.
There are several ways to accomplish evaluations or reviews. Some companies will choose to review employees after six or nine months of work. Other companies do annual employee evaluations. If there are annual reviews, make sure employees know to expect them either based on the date of hiring or in a particular month with the entire company. The biggest key here is consistency. Choose a time, put it in writing, and follow through.
Another option we often encourage is creating continual feedback loops in your company. Rather than putting off conversations until a particular month, you set up a system of regular feedback between employees and their supervisor. This is particularly useful when affirmation or praise is warranted immediately, as well as when a problem needs to be corrected. Some basic documentation of items noted in continual feedback loops can later be used to add depth to an annual evaluation as well.
Once you have determined the timing of evaluations, the next step is looking at the format you will use. There are several ways of accomplishing evaluations, each with positives and negatives. The goal of evaluations is to give employees a roadmap of how to improve, with specific goals and things to work on. Don’t hesitate to bring up areas in which employees struggle, as that is the purpose of the evaluation. Give feedback on what is going well, what is not, and ways the employee can improve in their role.
Options to consider here include a supervisor evaluation plus a self-evaluation, using a rating system of 1 to 5, or using commentary to give feedback. These can all be combined in various ways. If having employees do a self-evaluation, send the questions to them in advance to give them time to prepare their responses. If your evaluation includes a rating scale and comments, be sure the comments and the ratings align. If an employee is below average in an area, provide specific comments on how to improve and what you are looking to see.
The written component is important for employee evaluations, but a good evaluation process should also include a meeting to discuss the evaluation with the employee. Whenever possible, we recommend conducting these meetings in person rather than on video, though a video call may be the only option for some remote employees.
As business owners, we want employees to succeed. Employee success directly impacts the success of the business. Use your evaluation time to engage the employee and move them toward success. Create a policy around when and how your evaluations will happen, then be sure to consistently follow it and provide clear feedback and direction for employees.
If you need help developing an employee evaluation process, reach out to the WhyHR team to schedule a consultation.