Employee evaluations, also called performance reviews, are mutually dreaded by employees and employers in many organizations. The pesky worksheets are considered a necessary evil by most companies, however. Employee evaluations can do a world of good in dispersing feedback, but a few tactics can help them go from annoying and minimally helpful to painless and productive.

1. Tailor Evaluation Points to Fit Objectives

Many companies make the mistake of hanging onto outdated employee evaluations that are no longer in line with the company’s goals. By tailoring the evaluation areas and questions, companies can help to groom employees and make goals more transparent. It only makes sense that an evaluation would help an employee figure out what to strive for and how to go about improving performance.

2. Keep Evaluations Future Focused

While it is not possible to perform an employee evaluation without looking at the past (hence the term “review”), keeping a future focus in mind can help the evaluation to feel more motivating and to be more successful in driving productivity. Part of the reason that evaluations are viewed so negatively is that employees feel that they are being beaten up as their performance is meticulously analyzed. By using past behaviors and achievements as a springboard for future expectations, the focus shifts.

3. Don’t Overcomplicate Things

Using “Yes” or “No” questions and five point scales is a time-tested way to keep evaluations simple. As long as the right questions are asked, employees can quickly figure out how to use the feedback that has been given when it is in a simple format. Some companies have developed other simple but unique methods, such as writing down five words that describe the employee and then asking the employee to discuss whether they agree and what words they would use to describe themselves or what they would like to see.

4. Consider More Frequent Evaluations

In the past, most employee evaluations were done once per year. This system has shown to have many flaws, as a lack of timely feedback can inhibit growth and allow employees to persist for long periods of time with certain behaviors and performance without knowing whether they are on track or not. More frequent evaluations can have much better results, but can feel like an even bigger headache for those that dread performance reviews already.

One alternative is the 360 degree performance review. When used properly through an HRIS, the 360 degree review tool can make it easy to capture information about an employee’s performance from many sources such as peers, managers, customers, and even analytics. By communicating about the information that is captured on a frequent basis, perhaps once a month or once every few weeks, employees can grow and develop at a faster rate.

5. Make Evaluations Actionable

Making evaluations actionable is no easy task, but can dramatically improve the success of evaluations in improving employee performance. What an employee does with the information provided in a performance review is ultimately up to the employee, but giving recommendations for next steps can transform the evaluation from a stagnant review to a teaching tool.

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