Employees are the face of our businesses: The way they dress, speak and act toward customers can make or break us. But once you’ve hired and trained your frontline, how do assure each member represents your business in the best way possible?
Regular employee performance evaluations access individual performance, of course, but they are also a great way to improve communication between superiors and subordinates. Most employees have a desire to do a good job; by evaluating their job performances regularly, they are motivated to do so.
In short, evaluations give the supervisor the opportunity to discuss the employee’s performance, give guidance in the areas that need improvement and, just as important, offer a pat on the back for a job well done. It doesn’t cost an employer a cent to give encouragement; however, it goes a long way to cement good employer/employee relations. Positive feedback builds loyalty to the company. Moreover, happy employees are usually productive employees who’ll contribute to improving your business.
Employee evaluations can be used as a good counseling tool. If your employee doesn’t know he needs improvement, has never been evaluated or told how to improve, how can an owner expect a different job performance other than the one given every day? No feedback at all can be debilitating to staff. If no one ever shows/tells you a better way of doing something, you will keep doing it the same way and getting the same results.
In this respect, employee evaluations hold supervisors accountable. If you have an employee who keeps making the same mistakes, perhaps you need to take a long hard look at yourself. Do you lack the expertise or communication skills to train your staff? Looking at the evaluation’s results can be like looking in the mirror. Maybe it’s time to train yourself to be a better leader or hire a consultant who can. The industry has plenty of resources; don’t overlook them.
Evaluations can be an invaluable means of assessing staffing needs. Your assessments will give an overview of who needs further training, which employees are good candidates for future growth and which need to be replaced.
Evaluations become vital documentation for meeting Equal Employment Opportunity requirements or for human resource purposes, too. If you have an employee who’s been evaluated, counseled, re-evaluated and still falls short of a passing score, termination may be imminent. Evaluations can become the backbone of defense in a wrongful termination suit or determining eligibility of unemployment benefits.
Timing and Preparation
There are no rules about evaluation scheduling, but professional human resource directors typically slate the first one at the end of a 90-day probationary period. This is a good time to assess if an employee has achieved initial goals and is performing at expected standards. Retrain, if necessary, and always provide constructive criticism in areas needing improvement. If you don’t, how does an employee know where he stands? More important, how can you ever motivate an employee to succeed if you don’t point him in the right direction? Be clear and encouraging with your directives.