Managing and executing an assessment of an employee’s performance is an important role for managers and leaders, yet many find the process uncomfortable because it “judges” another person’s actions and behaviour. This is not the case; the goal is to objectively assess and review performance and offer feedback whilst agreeing upon areas of improvement.
Conducting an assessment of an employee’s performance is an effective way to ensure productivity and strong teams, so is a useful tool in performance management. Regular reviews means employees know what is expected of them, leads to the ability to recognise and reward good behaviour whilst coaching and improving weak performers, and ensures constant communication is occurring between managers and employees.
In order to ensure an assessment of an employee’s performance does not leave them feeling confused, like their work is unappreciated, or disengaged from the organisation and its goals, follow the below to help you prepare and make them effective.
1. Set specific and objective standards for employees
This makes it easy and clear to work towards achieving these throughout the performance review period. Suggested frameworks for this type of evaluation could be MBO or OKR.
2. Agree upon and set the frequency of performance assessments.
Quarterly or yearly are common time frames.
3. Constantly review the employee throughout the performance review period
It is easier to take note of examples and rank employees throughout the year. Specific examples are good to use in assessments.
4. Ask for feedback from others and ask employee to review themselves
This allows for more behaviour to be assessed and improved upon as it extends outside of the interactions you have with them.
5. Conduct the performance review and agree upon suggested future action
Have the employee and yourself sign the review to show that it has been shared and discussed. Provide the employee with a copy and send the original to HR for their employee file.
Key factors to consider before, during, and after the assessment of an employee’s performance
Here are some useful tips for your consideration:
- Understand the goal of assessment of an employee’s performance. It is to objectively measure an employee’s performance over a set period of time, with agreed-upon metrics.
- Don’t compare employees to each other, it is an individual assessment for each employee. Using a standardised evaluation form to ensure consistency could be helpful.
- Give your employees enough notice so they can prepare, review their role and it’s requirements, along with any objectives and goals outlined, then ask them to rank their own performance based on these. Encouraging self-assessment and reflection can improve the success of an employee’s performance review.
- Plan what to discuss in advance and how to manage any possible employee reactions, especially negative or resistant ones.
- Set up an appropriate meeting space and allow for enough time to discuss everything you need to.
- Set the tone of the meeting at the beginning. It should be positive yet professional and make them feel at ease, focus on job performance and objectives, highlight strengths, then discuss areas for improvement and how to achieve these, set new goals for moving forward, before thanking them for their time and commitment.
- Allow them to ask questions and when the employee is talking, be sure you are actively listening.
- Be conscious of your communication. Be clear and concise, ensure your language doesn’t appear to blame the employee, and offer specific examples and practical solutions.
- Manage any defensive behaviour, excuses, and lack of commitment to improving.
- Focus on the positive aspects of an employee’s performance to reinforce good behaviour, improve morale, and heighten productivity and motivation.
- Outline areas of improvement and focus on the future.
- Agree upon a plan of action and any required follow up meetings.
How managers can prepare for the assessment of an employee’s performance
An assessment of an employee’s performance can help to develop your management skills, identify training areas for your team, and build relationships with your employees. It’s important to focus on the employee’s effectiveness, efficiency, and if they are learning and improving. Keeping the review objective, specific, and constructive and within a structured framework will inevitably lead to the process running as smooth as possible.
When employees are performing at their best and constantly improving, it offers your team and organisation greater productivity and increased efficiencies. Higher performing employees means your organisation benefits from higher quality output.
If you would like to discuss how to conduct an assessment of an employee’s performance and how to hire high performing teams, contact us today.