All employees should receive an evaluation or review throughout the course of their employment. Most companies will give one after the first ninety days of employment, which is typically after he has passed an introductory period. This timeframe gives ample time for a fair evaluation. Additionally, it is customary to give a review to everyone at the end of the year, or on the anniversary of each employee's hiring. Preparing reviews during a time of year when business is slow is a good idea. This will give you time to put more focus into the evaluations.
Employees should know when to expect a performance appraisal, and they should be conducted on time. It is frustrating for an employee to anticipate a date when he expects to receive your feedback, only to have the date, then weeks and months, pass by without an evaluation. This sends the message that he is not important to the company and you don't have time for him. Don't make the mistake of giving this perception to your associates.
A performance evaluation is not to be used to inform an employee for the first time that there is an issue with his performance. Problems that require corrective action should be addressed immediately, as discussed in Chapter 15. However, if the problem persists, indicate this in the evaluation as you rate the employee in that particular area.
Use a performance-evaluation form to rate each employee consistently and fairly. There is a sample of one in Appendix A or you can find one on the Internet or through one of the associations that you belong to. A generic form can be used for all positions, but you may find it helpful to use a different format for supervisors and managers since they have different responsibilities and expectations. To ensure that everyone is evaluated fairly, use the same evaluation form for everyone, especially when evaluating people in the same positions. It doesn't mean that you can never change your evaluation form, it just means that there should be consistency. So if you change the form, don't change it just for one person; make the change and stay with it for a while.
Preparing for an evaluation is something that you should be doing at all times. Keep a running log for each employee and jot down things they do that go above and beyond the expectations for the job. Also, keep copies of any commendation forms, awards, or comment cards or letters from customers that mention the employee. Things like this should be acknowledged in a performance review.
Schedule a date and time to give the employee his evaluation and stick with it as you would any important appointment. If your policy is that employees are eligible for a pay increase based on how well they score on their evaluation, this makes it even more important to do the review on time. Receiving a raise is very important to your associates and they have every right to receive it on time. Additionally, giving raises late will result in processing a retroactive pay adjustment, which is more work when payroll is processed. It is much more effective and sends a positive message to the employee to give him a performance evaluation on time and start his new salary on the effective date.
When you sit down with the employee to give him an evaluation, turn off your cell phone and transfer all incoming calls to voicemail to avoid distractions. This is an important meeting and whether an employee is getting a rave review or there are ongoing performance issues to discuss he deserves 100 percent of your attention.
Give him a copy of the completed evaluation form and go over each entry with him individually. He should have the opportunity to give his input as well. However, if there are performance problems addressed in the evaluation and the employee becomes defensive, put a stop to it. This is not the time for a debate, or to let an employee blow off steam. As long as you have evaluated the employee fairly and have documentation and backup to verify performance problems, the score of the evaluation is final. If the employee wants to further discuss any deficiencies, schedule a time to meet in the next day or two to discuss them.
Your evaluation form should have space at the end for the employee to include his input and goals for the future, as well as a signature line. If an employee received an unfavorable review and refuses to sign the document, call in a supervisor or manager as a witness and document with her signature that the employee refused to sign. Give the employee a copy of the review form once all signatures have been obtained. The original should be kept in the personnel file.
Some companies use a self-review program. An employee is given a blank appraisal form and he evaluates himself. The manager also fills out an evaluation form and the two meet to compare ratings and notes. This helps determine if the manager and employee are both on the same track regarding performance.