Doing a Better Job of Performance Evaluation - Part II

Among human resources professionals, it is generally agreed supervisors everywhere need to do a much better job of evaluating their employees. It has to begin by identifying the trouble with the way many job reviews are handled today. So what is wrong with performance evaluations? The most common complaints include:

Employee evaluations are only as good as the knowledge, objectivity and memory of the supervisor who writes them. Unfortunately, none of these factors is ever perfect or complete. Supervisors can't know everything that goes on. What they think they know has been filtered through their own biases and values.

Periodic employee performance evaluations are, by their very nature, untimely. They look backward. More than anything else, they are historic documents. The "teachable moment" is often long gone. Most evaluations ignore the more important questions for workers such as: What have you done for me lately? and What can I expect from you today and tomorrow?

Many evaluations contain too few facts and too many opinions. What the evaluator believes to be true (opinion) is frequently accepted as truth without question, challenge or reservation. Corroboration backed by facts is often missing. Opinions are important to all appraisals; but they should be clearly identified and labeled - not passed off as established fact.

• Too often, evaluations dwell on extraneous characteristics. The important consideration, however, is whether or not the worker produces results.

Job reviews can be unduly influenced by peaks and valleys in performance. Supervisors tend to remember break-through successes and/or devastating failures. When this happens, the evaluations don't tell the whole story.

 What's important is the employee's average performance over time. Successful careers aren't made out of isolated, singular events. They're built on taking care of business every day!
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