While employee performance evaluations are rarely any supervisor’s favorite task, there’s no getting around the fact that employees’ performance, or lack thereof, can make or break any company. Not reacting when employees are underperforming puts a company at risk of failing to meet its goals and ultimate objectives.
Employee performance appraisals, when used effectively, can be tools for identifying and alleviating potential obstacles for and inspiring employees to aim for new heights in performance.
Should your company conduct employee performance appraisals?
The responsibility for ensuring that performance evaluations are structured and used effectively almost always sits squarely on the shoulders of human resources personnel. But before that, companies must make the fundamental decision about whether even to have performance appraisals at all. When horribly flawed, performance evaluations can be costly, time-consuming, and may provide employees with damning evidence for an employment claim of some kind, such as discrimination or retaliation.
When designed and implemented correctly, employee performance evaluations can help keep the worker and the company focused, avoid potential problems down the pike through increased communication, inspire and reward employees for their achievements, improve employee morale, help arrive at decisions regarding compensation adjustment, and provide a documented history for succession planning or a legal defense for corrective discipline actions with problem employees.
HR Guide to Employment Law: A practical compliance reference manual covering 14 topics, including documentation issues such as performance evaluations
Employee performance evaluations and progressive discipline
Employee performance evaluations and progressive discipline go hand in hand as tools supervisors and managers can successfully use to correct behavior, motivate employees, and set employee goals.
Employee performance appraisals, used correctly, can be an effective means of preventing employee lawsuits.They keep employees apprised of how they actually stand with the employer and prevent surprises in the future. An employee who has consistently received low ratings should not be surprised when she is ultimately fired for her poor performance.
Generally, most employers conduct written performance reviews annually or semi-annually. However, all companies should consider conducting unscheduled reviews if changes occur in an employee’s performance or duties. Some important considerations in written performance reviews include: job-related criteria, supervisor training, effective ratings, comments, honesty, objectivity, review, and raises and bonuses.
Basic Training for Supervisors guidebook series, including a guide on documentation and evaluations