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Employee Performance Evaluations – Yippee!!

I’ve met few people that look forward to the annual employee evaluation process. The typical employee dreads it, resents it, or could care less. The typical manager dreads it, resents it, and avoids it. The HR manager wishes there was a way to make it either go away or make it useful. They typically dread it, and are frustrated trying to get the managers to get it done. They also hope that there is no negative fallout; like hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and even unwanted employee departures.

So why would I place the word “Yippee” in the title of this article? It’s not sarcasm! Employee performance evaluations actually can be a wonderful joyful blessing for your organization. For that to occur, the process and mindset around employee evaluations must be reinvented. This reinvention begins by asking a key question; What is the purpose of employee performance evaluations? Your answer will drive the system, practice, and culture.

If the purpose is to merely fulfill an administrative requirement, then I advise you to minimize the process, downplay the significance, and make it as quick and painless as possible. First do no harm! Make it simple and sweet. This approach lacks integrity, but it may currently be your only option if you are in an organization that is unwilling to confront the issue.

The purpose of performance evaluations should not be employee discipline. If an employee is having serious compliance issues and/or violating company values, I recommend a simple process that quickly leads to correcting the problem or dismissal of the employee. This discipline process is for confronting and documenting non-negotiable behavior and attitudes that must be immediately corrected. This disciplinary process should be separate from employee performance evaluations.

The best purpose for employee performance evaluations is to improve team member results. Consequently, for team members and managers to embrace evaluations, they must value and support a performance driven culture. The following is an example of core values that support a performance driven culture:

• Excellence – Team members that want to be great at what they do want frequent, honest, objective feedback. It has been well said that feedback is the breakfast of champions.
• Accountability – An accountable person wants their performance to be objectively and regularly measured so that they can improve.
• Teamwork – A winning team wants to help each other improve and fix problems. Performance evaluation and diagnosis precedes prescription and remedy.
• Proactivity – High performers want frequent feedback so they can stay ahead of the problems.
• Communication – An effective evaluation system provides a regular schedule and context for communication.

Feedback provides the basis for effective performance coaching. Leaders and managers must be skilled communicators and coaches for employee evaluation to be edifying, encouraging and welcomed. Organizational excellence is a product of continuous improvement, and improvement is positive change in response to objective evaluation.

Champions love feedback. Yippee!!

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