Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
Employees don’t work in a vacuum. In many businesses, managers want to periodically conduct performance evaluations to monitor quality of work. Performance evaluations can cause stress for managers and workers alike, but establishing formal procedures can help demystify the process and make results more effective. Understanding the purpose of performance evaluations and their effect on work quality can help structure evaluations in your workplace for increased efficiency and effectiveness.
Performance evaluations can take on other names; a business may also refer to evaluations as employee appraisals, employee evaluations or performance ratings. The same process could also be called an employee performance report or employee review. All refer to categorizing an employee’s quality of work.
There are numerous reasons why employers might want to implement performance evaluations. Meeting with employees for periodic reviews helps formalize assessment, so managers can recognize strengths and suggest strategies for addressing weaknesses. It also helps quantify employee behavior when considering promotions and raises. Making promotions more objective can help firms avoid legal problems if employees feel slighted, since you’ll have evidence of employee performance. Performance evaluations also increase accountability, since employees know that supervisors will review their actions. Reviews can also increase motivation, as employees strive for high-quality work in the hopes of positive evaluations.
Performance evaluations can cause worry for managers and employees alike. Employees might have concerns that managers will unfairly assess their work performance, assigning negative ratings and comments to prevent them from receiving raises or promotions. Managers might feel uncomfortable pointing out areas for improvement, fearing that critical assessments will result in hostility or coolness.
Performance evaluations on the quality of work involve multiple factors. Employees may be rated on their knowledge of duties, competency, accuracy and thoroughness. Other characteristics included on employee reviews might include cooperation, collaborative ability, efficiency and flexibility. Decision-making ability, reliability and responsiveness to requests for service are other areas that could be evaluated. Managers might complete forms evaluating these characteristics of quality work by checking boxes marked "excellent," "average," or "unacceptable." They might also choose to add comments expanding on rankings.
Increase the effectiveness of performance evaluations by providing employees with ample notice of when they will be reviewed, how reviews will be conducted and what factors will be evaluated. Managers should avoid making comparisons between employees. Keep evaluations professional by avoiding personal comments or apologizing for less-than-ideal reviews; assigning fair rankings for work quality means that employees have earned them, so managers don’t need to make excuses for negative evaluations. Bolster evaluations with specific examples, including incidents, dates and personnel involved, to give reviews added legitimacy.
Morgan Rush is a California journalist specializing in news, business writing, fitness and travel. He's written for numerous publications at the national, state and local level, including newspapers, magazines and websites. Rush holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.