Employee evaluations can seem like something of a necessary evil within the workplace. While they provide the opportunity to take an honest look at a team member’s performance, they can also eat into valuable work time. On top of everything else, depending on the person and their individual situation, employee evaluations can be awkward. The truth is, setting aside time to ensure team members understand what is expected of them and how they stack up can help foster team member growth and keep the entire company moving forward successfully — together. It can also help you spot and address potential red flags before they affect the business in negative ways. Here are a few tips to ensure your company is making the most of your employee evaluations.

Go in with a Plan
Having a set structure in place can help to alleviate some of the inherent awkwardness associated with the process and keep things on track. Lay out a timeline for regular reviews — perhaps every three or six months — and make sure both the team member being evaluated and the manager doing the evaluating understand the issues and traits that will be addressed. Consider creating a form for both individuals to fill out beforehand where they can assess performance in key areas, set goals and think through other ways they can be of benefit to the team. By getting some of the legwork done ahead of time, you get everyone on the same page and streamline the evaluation itself. Our Employment Evaluation Best Practices Overview offers other easy-to-implement ways to improve the process.

Encourage an Honest, Constructive Conversation
It’s important for everyone involved to keep in mind the overall purpose of such reviews. Not only are you aiming to see how well a person performs their duties, but to find ways to encourage individual growth and keep the entire team working together in a healthy, constructive way. Provide accurate, specific feedback that not only lets a team member know that they need to improve, but what exactly they should work on to bring about that improvement. If they’re missing too many project deadlines, point it out. If they aren’t clear when communicating with the team, let them know. Just do so in a way that points toward improvement, instead of attacking their work ethic. Our Sidestepping Supervisor Mistakes Sheet can make the process easier.

Take Targeted Action When Needed Changes Go Unresolved
No one is perfect, and even the best team members have areas they can improve upon. Still, certain actions can have a more substantive impact than others. Team members who display passive-aggressive traits, for instance, can create friction within the company, throw off timelines and create rifts with clients. Meanwhile, a history of out-and-out misconduct, or ongoing issues brought up during evaluations, but which go unchanged, can even result in losses on the company’s behalf. Make it a point to “make good” on requests for team members to make improvements. If something mentioned during one review hasn’t been righted by the next, it might be time for some form of disciplinary action. Of course, such action should be carried out in a way that shields the affected team member from embarrassment and protects the company against potential legal action. Our Progressive Discipline Information Sheet offers advice that can help.

The employee evaluation process can do great things for a company when gone about in the right way. If you have questions on any of the above — or on any other risk management, business insurance or employee benefits issue — please feel free to contact BCH. We’re glad to help!