The Answer is YES! But Only If…

Evaluations can be reminiscent of tax season—you know, that forced commitment, that knot in your stomach, and that fear of confrontation. You know what it’s like. You want to call in sick on your performance review day, but it’s too late, your boss already has!

You’ll find any excuse to delay the inevitable. Whether you are the employee or the employer, the dread is equally shared! Why does it need to be so painful?

Evaluations hold a lot of clout. They can give power to an ineffective, disconnected supervisor, or they can be a great training tool for leaders who want to support the growth and development of their employees. Or they give too much power to Steve—you know Steve, he’s just that great laidback, get-along-with-everyone kind of guy, who certainly doesn’t want to ruffle feathers, the “things are cool just the way they are” kind of guy.

The Disenchanted Supervisor
We have all at one point in our careers had this scenario play out: the employer that uses your performance review for an opportunity to drive home “what you are not doing”! They seek out justifications in a professional setting to let you know they don’t particularly like you. Fortunately, they can put the formal spin on a personal dislike to soothe their own passive-aggressive behaviour.

You will find, more times than not, the disenchanted employer is fighting their own battles—lack of training, inadequate evaluation tools, poor past experiences personally, burn out, or maybe they simply do not like you!

Experiences with bosses such as this stay with us for a very long time, until we have the luck of crossing paths with that engaged leader and it changes our outlook on evaluations into a positive, engaging experience.

Laidback Steve
Okay, Steve, I’ll make this short and sweet! You’re not here to be their friend, you’re here to support the development of your people. You need to be disciplined, focused, and committed. Your employees are counting on you to be at the wheel of the ship, not chillin’ on the deck!

Use Your Powers for Good
When you are in a position of power, you have a great opportunity to create a rewarding and lasting experience for an employee. This is often discovered throughout the evaluation stages when you support an employee’s life cycle with you. In other words, you either play a part in the employee’s developing and growing in your organization or launch them into surfing the web for their next job.

Creating an environment in which employees feel heard, valued, and safe to communicate their views, concerns, and needs, along with applauding successes and milestones, will have people welcoming evaluation periods.

Listening to the Message—This is for You, The Employee!
As an employee, being receptive to an evaluation is equally important as the person evaluating you! This is a great opportunity for you to observe through someone else’s eyes your opportunities to develop and your accolades. What you do with it is your choice and ultimately your responsibility.

We Can Only Grow When We Acknowledge There is a Need for Growth.

The key is not getting wrapped up in the delivery of the message, whether it lacks lustre or is sugar-coated, your growth resides in the message itself. Listen. Pause. Reflect.

Let’s be honest, there is always a bit of truth in what is said. You know at some level where you struggle and what you rock at! The key here is addressing it and creating a plan to improve where you need to and take it to the next level in areas that you excel at.

Tools of the Trade
There are countless evaluation tools available. The key is being decisive in what type of evaluation serves your company best.

Traditional Evaluations
One-on-one reviews, focusing on overall performance, employee skills, company standard measures, and occasionally teamwork requirements.

Team Evaluations 3600
360 degree is when feedback is collected about your strengths and weaknesses from everyone around you, hence the name 360 degree.

Conducting and receiving performance reviews go anywhere from anonymous surveys to face-to-face meetings.

Whether you find a template online, create your own, or outsource to an expert, the key to success is follow-up! If you, the employer, or you, the employee, is not ready to commit to being disciplined about making a performance review a daily tool to utilize for development, then do everyone a favour and don’t waste your time.

Evaluations can be a great tool if executed and followed up on with diligence and commitment, with the number one objective of developing your number one asset—your people.

If you have individuals that buck the system and choose not to be part of the development process, well, that allows for you and them to look at an exit plan, which benefits all parties. Plain and simple, it serves no purpose wasting anyone’s time.

So you see, a performance review can be a great tool in creating transparency, as well as clear and concise dialogue with a plan to have a positive outcome.

Evaluations should support an accountability aspect. We all need the guardian of accountability; it serves as a guideline in moving forward in our growth personally and professionally.

Not-So-New News Bulletin
People want to be evaluated! We want to know where we excel and where we suck! Truly, we do. It is in our DNA to grow. When we are learning to walk, we fall countless times, but we never give up and think “Well, forget this, I’ll never learn to walk!” No, we forge ahead. I’m pretty certain we’re not trying to rationalize the pros and cons at that young of an age. It is naturally within us to grow, learn, seek answers, disassemble, reassemble, and question.

We want to do better and be better. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I want to do a mediocre job” or “I’m happy at coming in last.” We want to grow. The objective for employer and employee should be specific on the where, when, and how that growth needs to happen. Commitment is equally shared, and a partnership needs to be formed.

I want to arm you with the main Tips in Evaluating:

  • Company mission / Cornerstones/ Values
  • Actions align with company’s goals
  • Expectations
  • Company culture
  • Development plan
  • Goal setting
  • Skill sets
  • Action plan / Plan for success
  • Commitment from all parties
  • Timeframe/ Check-ins
  • Accomplishments
  • Opportunities
  • Resources available to employee
  • Partners available to support employee
  • Focus on behaviours, not the personality

End Result: Evaluations Matter!
The format, style, or disciplines you use is inconsequential; the follow-up throughout the entire process, the entire life cycle of an employee—and this is whether you are the employer or employee—is what is most vital.

It’s not that performance reviews are not successful; they are simply the tool. The key is active participation from the parties using the tool.