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Effective Performance Evaluations:

Step 1 - Preparation

By Raymond E Smithberger

An employee performance evaluation is often one of the hardest tasks a manager must tackle. In fact, many managers are simply not prepared to provide their employees with information vital to professional development. Why is giving good feedback so difficult?

In today's fast-paced work environment managers become wrapped up in their day-to-day tasks and often have little time to monitor the progress and performance of employees. The subsequent lack of awareness and general lack of readiness to conduct a thorough evaluation can be the cause of multiple problems - absence of employee appreciation leading to lower productivity is just one. The good news is there are ways to combat this growing trend without involving too much time. The keys to preparing an effective evaluation are preparedness and information gathering -- the following five steps make it easy.

  1. Benchmark. It is difficult to create an evaluation without a benchmark. In order to create and plan for an effective employee evaluation, you must begin with a job description or written expectations. This information will provide you with the criteria to perform the employee evaluation and also provide the employee with a clear set of job expectations.

  2. One-to-One. Monthly or quarterly "one-to-one" sessions are an effective method in monitoring an employee's progress and performance. The "one-to-one" is a scheduled meeting, lasting less than one hour, which provides a confidential setting for the employee and manager to review past objectives and professional development. These sessions allow you, as the manager, to be more aware of the employee's strengths, accomplishments and areas of development. This information will assist you in becoming better informed which will make the annual evaluation easier to complete.

  3. Progress Report. Another effective tool is the monthly progress report. This may remind you of that piece of paper we once brought home from grade school, but it is actually an effective way to gain information on the employee's development and allows them to track their own progress. At the end of each month, the employee should submit a short report stating their major accomplishments, major tasks that are still in progress, any training they received and areas they would like to improve. Your job is to review this report, discuss it at the "one-to-one" session and keep as a reference tool for the annual evaluation.

  4. Self-Evaluation. Provide the employee with the opportunity to draft his or her own evaluation. Many managers do not ask the employee to present feedback on their own performance. Most employees will provide valuable information and craft their own development plans according to their personal and professional goals.

  5. 360-Degree Feedback. Solicit feedback from others. Ask customers and co-workers about the employee's performance. This is often one of the best tools to find out how the employee is performing. You must be careful with this information and ensure that you are receiving accurate information. Also, you want to ensure your sources that their names will not be used when speaking with the employee. If you do want to use a name, you should first ask permission.

These five tools will not only assist you in creating a meaningful employee evaluation, they will also help save time when you sit down to create the evaluation. Preparing for the evaluation is only the first step in an effective evaluation process. Stay tuned in the coming months for helpful information on how web-based products can assist you with effective employee evaluation.

Author: Raymond E Smithberger, Founder and President of Evaluate Performance, Inc. (

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Ray Smithberger is owner
and president of Evaluate
Performance, Inc.
Evaluate Performance
provides web based employee
evaluation tools via
its web site
. Ray
has a Bachelor's
degree from Ohio
Northern University and
is currently finishing
his MBA at the
University of Central Florida.

During the past two
years, Ray has focused
his efforts on creating
effective web based
evaluation tools. He
has designed and created
web based pre-evaluation
questionnaires and employee
evaluation tools. Ray also
provides consulting services
to organizations
on how they can
provide their employees with
more effective employee


The opinions expressed in articles by this author do not necessarily represent the opinions of MindData. These articles are provided as a means of informing you of current events and opinions that impact employers and the workplace.

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