As we enter the fourth quarter, you may be starting to think about writing annual employee performance evaluations for your employees. Just remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Soliciting the employee’s feedback before you begin writing can provide you with helpful and specific input.
I am not a proponent of having the employee rate him/herself. What’s the point, except to create conflict? Instead, ask the employee for an assessment of their performance in narrative terms.
Here are some tips for asking employees for their input into the performance evaluation:
Remind employees that while you have kept records about their performance throughout the year, you may have missed some important events along the way. A self-assessment provides an opportunity for the employee to highlight their accomplishments over the past year.
Ask for specific examples including a list of accomplishments, process improvements they recommended and/or implemented, letters or emails of commendation they received that have not been forwarded to you, training completed that you may have not recorded, and anything else that they feel 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 supervisors who ask their 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 as both.
Use a standard format for soliciting feedback from employees about their work performance. The following example could be used to ask the employee for their input and ideas:
Employee Self-Assessment Questionnaire
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.
Please return this sheet 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.
Here’s a final tip: Present the self-assessment as an optional exercise. While it is recommended that supervisors ask for input to ensure that performance events and details are not overlooked, if an employee chooses not to provide input to the process, they should not be required to do so.
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.