Tips for Productive Employee Evaluations

Tips for Productive Employee Evaluations

By the time W-2s are distributed and W-3s are filed with the Social Security Administration, the heavy lifting of January payroll will be mostly done. Come February it will be time for HR personnel to begin the annual performance reviews that could determine whether employees get raises or not. Employee evaluations are almost a rite of passage at some companies.

Though evaluations are not directly related to payroll, they are indirectly related in that they partially determine how much workers get paid for the coming year. So in light of that indirect relationship, we thought that it might be appropriate to offer readers some of the things we've learned about employee evaluations. We present our knowledge as tips for conducting productive employee evaluations.

Bear in mind that BenefitMall assists clients with benefits administration in addition to payroll processing. Some of the services we offer, like employee background screening for example, go hand-in-hand with HR functions.

Establish Goals and Expectations

The most proactive thing HR managers can do to guarantee productive employee evaluations is to establish goals and expectations. Here's the rub: they have to be established a year in advance. In other words, evaluations being conducted this February will be looking at whether the goals and expectations set last year were realized in 2017.

If your HR department does not routinely set goals and expectations during employee evaluations, make this year the year to start doing so. The goals and expectations set during this year's evaluations will determine how productive next year's evaluations are.

Document Employee Performance

It is important that employee evaluations do not become a "he said, she said" affair. Throughout the year, managers and supervisors should be documenting employee performance in anticipation of the annual review. That documentation will record the worker's successes and failures alike. It is the evidence that proves whether an employee reached his or her goals and met company expectations.

Listen Throughout the Year

Managers and HR personnel can learn more about an employee by listening throughout the year than can be determined in a 30-minute evaluation. By 'listening', we mean paying attention to what workers are saying about their colleagues. Even innocent conversations at the coffee machine can yield valuable information, both positive and negative.

The only caveat here is to not pay attention to hearsay. You can get a general impression by listening to what employees say, but you should not give credence to documented complaints, accusations, etc.

Have a Conversation

When it comes time for evaluations to actually begin, make them conversational. An evaluation should be a give-and-take in which both parties have an opportunity to ask questions, express ideas, voice concerns, and so forth. Conversation should also be as upbeat and lighthearted as possible. An evaluation that seems negative from the start will only cause an employee to be defensive. That is not productive for either party.

Concentrate on Supporting Employees

Lastly, the main thrust of the employee evaluation should never be a "what have you done for me lately" sort of thing. It should be focused on supporting employees to help them get better at what they do. An evaluation conducted in the right spirit and with the right motives solicits a positive response from the one being evaluated. That is how you improve performance.

At BenefitMall, we believe we perform extremely well on behalf of our clients. We hope your evaluation of our service and support bears that out. If not, don't be afraid to let us know how we can improve payroll processing and benefits administration for your company. We want you to be happy with our service.