Doing a Better Job of Performance Evaluation - Part I

In the vast majority of factories and offices across the country today, the most dreaded and despised supervisory function of all is the periodic written employee evaluation.Supervisors don't like to write them because it puts them on the spot. Workers don't like to receive them because they think they are artificial and unfair. In fact, no one in the organization completely trusts them. Nevertheless, writing periodic job reviews continues to be a basic responsibility for most managers, supervisors and foremen. Formal written performance appraisals are universally disliked; but remain universal anyway.

To make matters even worse, these much-maligned job reviews continue to carry enormous clout in organizations of all sizes. No matter how unscientific or untrustworthy they may be, written evaluations still determine wage increases, bonus amounts, promotion possibilities and even job security in a large proportion of businesses and industries nationwide.

Entire lives and careers can be shaped or shattered by a single written evaluation. It's no wonder formal performance appraisals are feared equally by those who give them and get them.

About the only thing supervisors and subordinates agree on regarding written job assessments is they don't work. Supervisory personnel rarely receive training on how to write effective evaluations. Somehow, it is assumed anyone worthy of becoming a manager or supervisor has the innate ability to appraise the work of others accurately and to reflect their assessments in writing. This is one of the business world's more fallacious assumptions.

Despite all these flaws, written employee evaluations are not going away. For the foreseeable future, supervisors are still going to have to write evaluations and these assessments will continue to make a difference in the lives and careers of large numbers of workers.
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