Every company regardless of size should have an evaluation process for employees. There’s no single best practice for how to conduct evaluations, but they are a critical part of employee communication and company growth. It’s important to first know your company culture and your workforce and then create an evaluation process that fits both.
In some companies, a straightforward rating scale may be useful. In other companies, a more narrative approach with open discussion and no rating at all is a better fit. Regardless of whether you choose a rating scale, a narrative exchange, or some combination of the two, the process and outcome should be consistent across the board. Each employee should walk away from an evaluation with a clear understanding of how they’re performing in the company, where they need to improve, and what’s expected of them going forward.
So how often should evaluations happen? In most companies, evaluations are an annual process, but we recommend additional evaluations as part of the onboarding process for new employees as well. This three-part evaluation process helps ensure success for both the employee and the company.
After 45 days, the employer knows whether or not an employee follows company policy and how they are fitting in with the organization. Do they show up on time? Do they have the soft skills needed for success in the company? This 45-day evaluation provides an opportunity for a narrative exchange where the employee can ask any questions they may have, whether about policy or job tasks, and the supervisor can provide feedback and suggestions for future success. Let’s face it – starting a new job can be intimidating, and some employees may be unsure of when to ask questions and when not to ask questions. You don’t want to wait for an annual review to find out they don’t understand which Dropbox folder to use when sharing materials with clients. The 45-day evaluation provides an opportunity for conversation and a specific place to ask questions. This evaluation doesn’t include a rating, but rather focuses on ensuring the employee has everything they need for success in the company.
At the 90-day evaluation, most companies should be able to clearly identify whether an employee is going to be a good fit and ultimately be successful in their job. By the 90-day mark, an employee should have a better grasp of their job duties, so this evaluation is a little more focused on job performance and goals for the position. It’s still important to ensure the employee has everything they need and answer any questions they have, but it’s also an opportunity to provide constructive feedback on their job performance thus far. As with all evaluations, the employee should walk away with a clear understanding of how they are performing and what the company expects from them next.
Now it’s time for the annual evaluation and an open discussion about job performance and goal setting for the future. Every single employee should leave their annual evaluation with a clear vision of where the company is going and a clear understanding of what they need to do to continue being successful. It’s also important to note that employees shouldn’t be surprised by feedback they receive during their annual evaluation. If an employee is performing poorly in any area, that should be addressed through a performance improvement plan or write ups throughout the year. Don’t wait a year to tell someone they’re underperforming at their job. Deal with poor performance issues on an ongoing basis and focus the annual review on setting goals for the future.
Is your performance review process focused on the right things? Is it consistent from one employee to the next? If you need help evaluating your existing performance review process, call WhyHR today.