Job evaluation season can be an anxious time. Other people will be weighing your merits and your faults on a scale and will almost inevitably come back to you with criticisms. It takes confidence and a strong ego not to construe those criticisms as a personal attack. Adding to the tension, the people judging you are in control of your livelihood, your income. However, nerves aside, job evaluations are very useful for both you and your employer. In the long run they can benefit your career.
Align Your Performance with the Company's Needs
All relationships require maintenance, and your relationship with your employer is no exception. The key purpose of a job evaluation is for you to get feedback to help you tweak your modus operandi in any areas where you are drifting from the company's expectations or falling short of them entirely. Likewise, you'll also get feedback telling you about the parts of your performance the company appreciates.
Measure Your Worth to the Company
From the company's standpoint, job evaluations measure employees' individual worth to the company. A thorough evaluation will tell the company both how much money you cost them and how much money you earn or save for them. It will compare your productivity and reliability to that of other employees, as well as to the company's baseline performance expectations. It will identify areas of excellence and areas of deficiency, and provide this information to you in a way that will hopefully influence your performance positively. When job evaluations are conducted well, they make a valuable human resources diagnostic tool. For this reason, job evaluations often accompany a salary adjustment.
Discuss Your Career
Job evaluations are a good time to discuss your career path and ask for counsel on your long-term goals in the context of your present job performance. You might ask your evaluators to make suggestions or consider giving you projects or assignments that will help take you in the direction you want to go.
Opportunity for Communication
Job evaluations give you an opportunity to improve your communication with the company. They are a good occasion for you to ask about specific areas of your work where you would like feedback or advice. They afford you the chance to raise your own concerns and offer suggestions for what the company can do to help make you a better employee. If your direct supervisors are a part of the evaluation team, which is usually the case, a job evaluation is an occasion for you to tell them what areas you would like additional assistance with and suggestions as to what form that assistance might take. It's also an occasion for you to give them the opportunity to clarify their expectations for you so that you can work for them more effectively.
Josh Fredman is a freelance pen-for-hire and Web developer living in Seattle. He attended the University of Washington, studying engineering, and worked in logistics, health care and newspapers before deciding to go to work for himself.