How to Address Listening Skills in a Performance Evaluation
Addressing employee listening skills during performance evaluations measures an ability vital to business communications. Employees need listening skills to receive information and directives from you, and poor listening skills have business ramifications. For instance, if you hold a business meeting introducing a new procedure, employees need to completely comprehend what you are saying or the new process will fail. Periodic review of your workers listening skills provides feedback necessary to improve communications.
You can determine who has active listening skills by monitoring eye contact and responsive body language. Correctly following directions also shows active listening and concentration. Encourage workers to ask questions for clarification. Some of your staff might daydream, while others hear but may not comprehend your words. When you appraise staff on how well they listen, use these principles of active listening to judge their performances on a rating scale. Alternatively, implement a word scale using such descriptions as beginning, progressing and mastered. Average scores together for an overall value.
One section of your listening performance evaluations should be an area for comments. This space allows you to write specifically about an employee's performance in the skill. For example, you might note that the employee is able to focus for a short time and can only be given one task or duty to complete without struggling. You can also use this page to allow the worker to assess his own listening abilities. It is often useful to have the employee's perspective. For instance, the employee might cite he cannot concentrate when there is too much background noise. Eliminating distractions will then be a goal.
Managers who want to create better listeners of their employees can use the information in the review to plan a strategy. There can be a separate improvement plan for each employee and a comprehensive plan for the entire staff. As an example, you might determine a need for workshops concerning active listening skills. Alternatively, you might stress one skill at a time over several sessions. Fixes to improve receptive abilities can include practice scenarios, note taking, repeating back what is communicated and concentration activities to help employees improve focus.
Present your evaluations directly to your employees in individual meetings. This is your opportunity to use the appraisal to address specific issues with your staff. Use it as a teachable moment. For instance, with a certain employee you might relate during the conference that he is not looking at your directly and has his arms folder over his chest which indicates he is not open to your comments. The person might be startled to realize he is doing these things. You can describe that a good listener looks at the speaker, opens his posture and nods or smiles to show the speaker his attention. Do this as tactfully as possible and be sure to praise the employee for all his positive behavior.