If you struggle to write annual performance evaluations, you may be overlooking the most valuable source of data you have: the employee. Asking for the employee’s feedback before you begin writing can provide helpful and specific input. Here are some tips for asking for and using employee input in the performance evaluation:
- Remind the employee that while you have kept records about his/her performance, you may have missed something along the way. You are providing an opportunity for the employee to highlight his/her accomplishments.
- Ask for specific examples including a list of accomplishments, process improvements they recommended and/or implemented, letters or emails of commendation, training completed, and anything else that the employee feels is important to share that will give you a complete look at their performance.
- DO NOT ask the employee to fill out the evaluation form on his or her own and submit it to you. This approach leads to the employee feeling as if the evaluation duties are being delegated. Employees want your opinion, however you convey it. Those managers who ask employees to complete their own evaluations and who do not add significantly to the content of the employee’s evaluation are seen as lazy, as cowards, or both.
- Present the self-evaluation as an optional exercise. While it is recommended that managers ask for input to ensure that performance events and details are not overlooked, if an employee chooses not to provide input to the process, he/she should not be required to do so.
- Use a standard format for soliciting feedback from an employee about his/her work performance. The following example could be used to ask the employee for his/her input and ideas:
Employee Self-Evaluation Form
This is to confirm our meeting on _________________ to discuss your performance over the last __________ months/year and to create a plan for your performance for the coming year.
Your input is essential to the success of our meeting and I value your ideas. Please respond to the following questions in as much detail as possible. I will use this information as I prepare the performance evaluation documents.
Please respond to me by _______________ so that I can incorporate your perspectives into the evaluation.
- What do you consider to be your most significant accomplishments since your last performance evaluation?
- What were your greatest challenges since your last performance evaluation?
- What new challenges or goals would you like to pursue in the upcoming rating period?
- What can the organization or I do to help you improve your performance over the next rating period?
- Please tell me about anything else that I need to consider in preparing your performance evaluation.
Writing a performance evaluation doesn’t have to be painful. By focusing on specific accomplishments and involving the employee in the process, you can use this opportunity to enhance communication between you and the employee.