As a way of gauging how employees are performing, employee evaluations seem like a natural solution. By providing a time for the employee and their supervisor to sit down and discuss performance, it can give employees a better sense of how well they are performing and where the company’s standards are in relation to their performance.
However, employee evaluations need to be handled professionally — otherwise, they can lead to dissatisfaction amongst employees or, when done poorly, litigation. Managers should follow any written best practices a company has regarding employee evaluations, if any, and the process shouldn’t be shrouded in mystery to employees. Evaluations work best when employees are given clear goals and expectations to meet. Human Resource Executive Online recommends supervisors and managers receive training on how to conduct effective employee evaluations.
To determine if and how your company should conduct evaluations, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of the practice.
Pros of Employee Evaluations:
- They provide a setting for managers to identify areas of excellent and poor performance. This also allows the reviewer to outline constructive ways the employee can improve weak areas with a deadline to make these improvements. Use specific examples instead of general statements, especially when addressing problem areas.
- If disciplinary action is required, the documentation from employee evaluations can provide the details to help determine the appropriate action.
- Employees can complete a self-evaluation before sitting down with the reviewer, which may highlight accomplishments the reviewer was unaware of or had forgotten. This also gives employees a voice in the process and a way of discussing any potential issues they may have.
- Written notes the manager completes during the review can provide insight later on, especially when an employee continues to not meet company goals.
- Employees become better acquainted with a company’s expectations, as well as with their supervisor’s expectations, when honest and valuable feedback is provided.
- Annual evaluations can provide a company an overall picture of an employee’s progress over several years.
Cons of Employee Evaluations:
- Objectivity is difficult to achieve, especially with managers and supervisors are not trained to give evaluations. Two different managers may give two very different reviews if there are no specific goals or parameters outlined for a review.
- Evaluations can be time-consuming. Aside from the time reviewers need to prepare the appraisal, most evaluations for a single employee take about 40 minutes to an hour of discussion.
- If not done regularly for every employee, staff will learn to dread when they are told they have an evaluation coming up.
- Evaluations can lead to litigation if the reviewer discusses the employee’s sex, age, race, national origin, religion or membership in any other protected class. A professional manner should always be used during a review, as sarcasm or humor may be misunderstood.
- Managers may skew employee evaluations, even unintentionally, because they do not want an employee to become emotional or for their department to seem poorly run.
- If specific examples are not used and written down when discussing performance, it can be difficult to substantiate ongoing concerns.
- Some managers may allow employee evaluations to replace two-way feedback between employees and their supervisors, which should occur on a regular basis and not just once per year.
While regular employee evaluations can have a positive impact, the process needs to be handled professionally and as objectively as possible to be effective.
The information provided in this blog is intended for general information purposes only. Readers should seek the help of an HR professional for guidance on specific issues.