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Have Performance Evaluations Become a Dreaded Event?

It happens more often than we’d like to admit. Joe Employee walks into an office for his annual evaluation, sits there for 20 minutes and listens to all the negative things he has done over the course of the year. Joe leaves the meeting feeling frustrated and deflated because he’s gained nothing from the review. Joe’s supervisor is frustrated as well because Joe was surprised by the conversation and seemed disappointed by the less-than-average score he received. These are common issues that stem from two things: inadequate documentation and ineffective communication.

If you don’t have transparent performance documentation, here’s why you should

One of the biggest benefits of transparent documentation is that it eliminates surprises. Performance evaluation time is much less stressful when employees come into the office with their eyes wide open; meaning they know what to expect. Employees know where they stand within the organization and aware of their strengths and weaknesses. While employees can’t control the documentation itself, they can surely control their own behavior! As you probably know, the more positive the documentation, the more likely employees are to continue positive behaviors.

On the opposite side of the desk, supervisors are less stressed knowing the employee is “in the know”– and has been all year! With transparent documentation, the performance review is more thorough, accurate, and beneficial to both parties. It is also less likely that “middle of the road” scores will be assigned since supporting documentation is readily available. Supervisors are also confident when making tough personnel decisions because their consistent documentation supports and protects them. Should a problem with an employee arise, documentation will show that supervisors have made every attempt to coach and counsel employees for success.

Turn this “event” into a productive process

Ask yourself how effective your agency’s evaluations really are. Is everyone just going through the motions of a “dreaded event”? Or is there real value being exchanged? Ultimately, the goal of a performance evaluation is to communicate how an employee’s role contributes to the big picture and demonstrates they are important and valuable.

We encourage you to try a new approach to make performance evaluations an ongoing and interactive process rather than a once-in-a-while event. Of course, we are always happy to help with this.