Positive & Negative Effects of Assessments in the Workplace
Assessments provide employees with important feedback regarding performance, expectations and goals. While assessments are a valuable tool, employee evaluations can trigger both positive and negative reactions. Understanding the possible effects on employees can help you ensure that your assessment process encourages your staff to succeed and grow with the company.
A good assessment provides detailed feedback on past performance and recommendations to improve performance in the future. Tone is particularly important when providing feedback. While there might be deficiencies in an employee’s performance, providing information and suggestions in a positive way can motivate the employee to improve. Most employees want to do a good job and will respond with enthusiasm if you note the positive aspects of their work, offer your support in helping them improve and thank them for their efforts.
Keeping the assessment as positive as possible can help encourage employees, but a negative focus can have the opposite effect. Employees do need to know if they aren’t meeting expectations, but an overly negative assessment that doesn’t provide a plan for improving performance can demotivate the employee. If you concentrate on negatives and don't acknowledge any extenuating circumstances, the employee might feel as if his hard work is not appreciated. For example, if an employee is struggling to keep up with an increased workload due to a reduction in staff, failing to acknowledge his efforts can result in a lack of motivation and decreased effectiveness.
The Center for Association Leadership notes that one benefit of assessments is the opportunity for two-way communication regarding goals and performance. In a busy office, it’s not always possible for supervisors to spend much one-on-one time with employees. The assessment allows employees adequate time to discuss their goals and concerns and also provides the opportunity for the supervisor and employee to develop a plan to ensure that employees meet goals. During the meeting, you also might discuss departmental plans and goals for the next year and how employees will play an integral role in meeting the department’s goals.
The way you handle assessments affects the way employees regard the entire process. Employees can become dissatisfied if the same evaluation standards are not applied to all employees, particularly if they feel that certain employees are favored. Dissatisfaction can also be an effect if assessments are not scheduled on a timely basis and focus on the past several months, rather than the entire year. Failure to accurately note an employee’s achievements and deficiencies can eventually cause problems, particularly if you must later write up or fire an employee. The ''Forbes'' magazine website advises that when you don’t note problems during reviews, employees never have the opportunity to improve performance.