Employee Evaluations Lead to a Better Workforce


Communication between managers and their employees is vital for maintaining a successful and productive work environment. Managers must be clear about their expectations and employees must be fully aware of these. One of the most commonly used tools to keep communication channels open are employee evaluations. These evaluations help managers track the performance and progress of each of their employees. They then serve as a professional way for managers to discuss this information with their employees one-on-one.

There are various types of employee evaluations that can be applied depending on the information that management teams want to be able to obtain and review about their employees. These different processes involve the input of different individuals that work with an employee on a regular basis. Companies can utilize one evaluation type for all employees or may use one type for a certain group of employees and another type for others. Management must consider what information is important to measure, track and discuss for each of their employees. Many companies find it fair and easier to administer one type of evaluation across the board. Others may determine that the type of information they want to track on one department is not the same or is irrelevant to another department. Likewise, evaluations of managers may differ than evaluations on their subordinates.

One of the most traditional and widely used evaluations is the top-down performance appraisal. This process involves an employee being assessed by their immediate supervisor/manager. The supervisor/manager should be someone that oversees the employee on a daily basis and can, therefore, point out strengths and areas in need of improvement.

The top-down performance appraisal becomes even more effective when combined with a self-assessment. Self-assessment employee evaluations are tools that allow the employee to reflect on their own work progress, achievements and downfalls. Then supervisor/managers can make their assessment. This opens up room for a valuable conversation as some employees may find they are too hard on themselves or may be blind to issues that need to be resolved.

A more involved yet powerful evaluation process is the 360 performance assessment. This process is called a 360 because it captures a full circle of input from those that work with an individual including peers, managers, subordinates and the employee's self assessment. These become very effective to assess management as this evaluation allows subordinates to give upward feedback about those that oversee them. 360 evaluations have the potential to reveal gaps and blind spots revolving around an employee. For example, an employee may rate very well among their peers yet receives low scores and comments from their subordinates or an employee may receive poor ratings from their manager but score highly among peers and subordinates. The 360 takes more time to manage but can help identify underlying working relationship issues that may overlooked on a daily basis yet need addressing. Like a self-assessment, the 360 also has the potential to show an individual if they are too critical of their own performance or if they are not aware of existing or potential problems.

While there are many options for developing an effective employee evaluation process, management must invest the time to identify which tools will best engage their workforce in productive and open communication. Evaluations may also include goal setting and tracking, but must include an effective frequency of measurement. Furthermore, many companies like to tie monetary incentives to their evaluation processes. This should be done carefully and fairly to avoid potential discrimination or favoritism and should be incorporated in a way that does not take away from productive communication.

'While there are many options for developing an effective employee evaluation process, management must invest the time to identify which tools will best engage their workforce in productive and open communication.'