Having annual performance evaluations or appraisals should be part of your personnel policies. Taking the time for informal reviews throughout the year should also be part of your personal policy.
Employees need feedback
Performance evaluations are a valuable tool. It is an opportunity to discuss with an employee how he/she is doing on the job; to tell them what they are doing well, to build on their strengths, and to talk about what might be improved.
Performance appraisals are also used as a guide for determining pay raises, bonuses, etc. They can also be the time to initiate discipline or probationary procedures.
The owner/manager may also use evaluation time to encourage communication, determine needed trainings, or identify goals.
The job description is the foundation of an effective job evaluation. It is the groundwork between the employer and employee identifying the job role, requirements and expectations.
Improving Employee Performance with Constant Feedback
Dr. Bob Milligan
Dairy Strategies, LLC
The bottom line is that each of us continuously provides employees with feedback and that feedback impacts performance.
When, however, we use implicit and unplanned explicit feedback, we often provide inappropriate feedback often with negative performance consequences.
When you have a friendly, positive interaction with an employee who is performing poorly, what message do you think they receive? When you interact with an employee who is performing above expectations while you are in a bad mood, what message do you think they receive?
The absence of feedback and unintended or inappropriate feedback is a major barrier to superior performance.Each of us is constantly giving and receiving feedback, if not explicitly, then implicitly.
- Performance is influenced the most by consequences.
- Good performance should always be treated differently than poorperformance.
- Choosing the wrong form of feedback or communicating incorrectly can severely damage the supervisor-employee relationship.
From Improving Employee Performance with Constant Feedback [http://www.alearningedge.com/PDF Documents/Quality Performance Feedback.pdf]
The evaluation should not be the first time the employee receives constructive criticism, or is commended for a job well done. Generally, there should be no shocking surprises.
By having informal one-to-one meetings with your employees, you will know what is going on, review what needs to be done, and identify potential problem areas.
These conversations need to be part of your management plan, and, need to be a part of any other supervisor's responsibilities.
The Three "P's"
What type of information do you need? Gregory Encina Billikopf, University of California, suggests considering the three "P's":
Suggestions for successful performance appraisal
Kenneth D. Simeral, Ohio State University, offers the following suggestions in his publication Performance Appraisal of Farm Employees. [link]
The easiest time to begin the performance appraisal process is when an employee is hired. It then becomes an expected part of the job and is not something that the employee views as new and different or, perhaps, fears. This would be especially true on a farm where there has been a long-standing tradition of providing employees with little or no feedback about their performance.
In such cases, silence has often been taken by the employees to mean that everything is fine. The very act of breaking the silence by talking to an employee about his/ her performance may be misconstrued. The employee may feel the producer is unhappy with him/her and the relationship has changed. In this situation, the utmost care must be taken to ensure the employee does not feel threatened.
Here are some ideas to increase the chances of success in performance appraisal:
- Speak often with employees about how they are doing. Once a year is not often enough.
- Discuss things they do well along with those that need improvement.
- Don't be afraid to tell an employee of the good job he/she has done even if that job was routine in nature. This will make it easier for him/her
to accept constructive criticism.
- Address little problems as they occur.
Provide employees with preparation time
- Give employees a chance prior to a formal performance appraisal to think about their performance in relationship to the job description. This will help
motivate them to improve.
- One suggestion would be to allow the employee to fill out the performance appraisal form before he/she meets with the employer. This will give the employer insight as to how the employee views his/her performance and can be a point at which to begin discussion.
- Let the employee feel he/she has some ownership of the appraisal process by showing ideas and comments are welcomed by management. This helps the employee believe the performance appraisal is a constructive activity and not one-sided.
Judge performance, not personality
- An employer cannot change an employee's personality. For example, don't focus on a problem such as being grumpy in the morning.
- Keep the appraisal job-related with a problem-solving focus, the employee will be more motivated to improve.
Be an active listener
- By listening and being interested, the employer conveys a genuine sincerity.
- Being candid and able to discuss details shows an awareness of the situation.
Set mutually-agreeable goals, continue to assess progress
- While it is important to set goals with the employee for future improvement, it does little good if the goals are all one-sided or unattainable.
- It is important to apprise the employee of his/her progress in attaining these goals.
Make rewards dependent on performance
- Little is accomplished if an employee reaches set goals and no reward is received as a result of this achievement.
- Such a reward can be monetary or symbolic, but it must be of importance to the employee.
Informal performance appraisal
For employers who want to be informal in their approach to performance appraisal, a simplified format can be used to introduce performance appraisal to employee and employer alike. This appraisal may be conducted by the employer in writing or orally. The following format can be used even if there is no written job description.
- Here are three or four things I liked most about your last year's work.
- What do you like most about your job?
- What do you like least about your job?
- How can your job be improved?
- Here are two or three things that I suggest we work on to change in the future. (Try to have at least one less negative item than the positive items listed above.)
- What would you like to add to the list of things to work on during the next year?
- Are there other things you would like to discuss?
Formal performance appraisal
Once a regular performance appraisal has been established, the employee becomes comfortable with the process, and a formal written process may be added. Also, this formal written procedure may be used effectively with new employees. The following link [http://www.ohioline.osu.edu/hrm-fact/0007.html] presents a sample performance appraisal form. If some sections do not apply to the situation, they can be modified or deleted altogether.
|See [http://www.ohioline.osu.edu/hrm-fact/0004.html] for the complete fact sheet Performance Appraisal of Farm Employees by Kenneth D. Simeral, Ohio State University Extension.|
Training, Motivating & Evaluating, Section Four, in the publication Employers' Handbook for Agriculture and Horticulture [http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/grc796] on the Agriculture, Food and Rural Development division, of the government of Alberta, Canada web site.
Last modified February 28 2006 02:16 PM