How to Write Effective Employee Evaluations

Effective performance management systems are crucial to an organizations succcess. The core component: employee evaluations.

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how to conduct employee evaluations

Employee evaluations have been used for decades to help employers and employees get on the same page in terms of expectations and duties. They provide an open line of communication to discuss future improvements for both parties to create a better foundation for organizational success.

The following guide will help you get the most out of employee evaluations, regardless of whether you’re an employer or an employee.

What are the benefits of employee evaluations?

Employee evaluations provide a multitude of benefits for both employees and employers.

Establishes structure

Employee evaluations provide and reinforce a performance review structure, as it allows managers to meet and openly discuss an employees performance within a given time frame. There may be a negative critique that needs addressing, which isn’t always comfortable, but often necessary.

Regular, consistent feedback is vital in aiding employees to perform in alignment with organizational objectives. In between employee evaluations, provide informal feedback so that employees have a general idea of where they stand prior to the evaluation.

Provides critical feedback

Employees often thrive on constructive feedback and employee evaluations provide an opportunity for managers to offer their reports just that. This dialogue often includes how well an employee met their goals or steps for further development.

Creates important documentation

Employee evaluation provides documentation of an employee’s performance over a given time frame, which can then be stored in an employee file for future reference.

Clarifies duties and expectations

It’s important the employees are well-rehearsed in what’s expected of them in their roles. Employee evaluation allows a manager to clarify expectations and discuss any issues.

Allows for annual planning

Employee evaluations allow a collection of data that can be used to strategize and plan the upcoming year in regards to employee goals.

Inspires motivation

Employee evaluations can motivate, inspire, and allow an opportunity to give praise and merit-based rewards to solidify employee job satisfaction.

How do you write effective employee evaluations?

Writing an effective employee evaluation is as comprehensive a process as you may think. Ultimately, it boils down to utilizing these four core principles:

Provide regular feedback outside of the employee evaluation

Regular, consistent feedback is vital in aiding employees to perform in alignment with organizational objectives. In between employee evaluations, provide informal feedback so that employees have a general idea of where they stand prior to the evaluation. No one wants to be caught off-guard with negative surprises.

Be open, honest, and show genuine concern for their success

Let’s face it, every worker will have some area that could use even minor improvements. Although it may be uncomfortable, and every person responds differently to criticism, it’s necessary for helping a worker establish success within your organization. Be open and honest, and assure them that your feedback is there to help them hone their strengths and talents for future career success.

Host your meeting face-to-face

Although it may be emotionally easier to deliver any bad news or negative critique over some kind of medium, an employee evaluation should always be done via face-to-face either in-person or over live video. It allows for easier, more direct communication, and it shows that you care enough to set aside time for this more formal meeting.

End with clear direction and positivity

At the end of the day, no one likes to walk out of an employee evaluation feeling like they didn’t get the direction they needed, or like they’ve just been reprimanded. Even if your employee has serious improvements to make, most people thrive on positive reinforcement and actionable steps on how they can improve.

How do you write a good self-evaluation?

Writing a good self-evaluation ultimately means that you must critique your own work, and be honest about how you’re stacking up to your company’s core objectives. Here are some tips for writing an effective self-evaluation that does just that:

  • Know how the self-evaluation is going to be used, as it will help you tailor the self-evaluation for optimal relevancy.
  • Write out your accomplishments. These should include items that have brought value to the company and items that you’re proudest of.
  • Provide metrics where possible, as analytics and numerical data help provide evidence of how valuable of an asset you are to your company.
  • Stay on-topic: yourself. Your evaluation is meant to critique your own performance, not your team, so if you didn’t quite reach your objectives, or the ball was dropped somewhere, don’t play the blame game.
  • Ask for growth opportunities. Even self-evaluations are meant to be an opportunity to ask for what you want, and how you can achieve your career goals.

How do I recognize an employee?

Recognizing an employee is easy, as even the smallest gestures of praise and recognition are appreciated more than we know. Here are a few ways you can recognize your employees:

  • Remember their annual start dates and congratulate them on X amount of years at the company
  • Remember their birthdays
  • Give them public recognition by sending a company-wide email blast or by recognizing their achievement in the next company meeting
  • Give small, tangible gifts such as gift cards for a cup of coffee, movie tickets, or something small that speaks to their interests and hobbies
  • Be aware of what goes on behind the curtain. A lot of employees do good work that isn’t seen, so try and be aware of little successes your employees are doing that are immediately obvious
  • Be specific when recognizing them. While we all love to hear a “thanks for being you,” specifically pin-pointing their achievement will motivate them to more like feats in the future

Overall, employee evaluations are an effective organizational practice with many benefits to both employees and employers. Utilizing them effectively creates further cohesion, which can only produce success for both parties.

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