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HR

6 key elements to consider when evaluating employee performance

Posted by Tasnim Ahmed

December 14, 2021    |     4-minute read (762 words)

Once or twice a year, most businesses conduct assessments in which managers and HR personnel evaluate employees’ performance against a certain set of criteria. However, those criteria may not adequately reflect every employee’s capabilities and competencies. 

Now, a growing number of businesses are changing assessments to make them more beneficial for both the employee and the employer. HR leaders at these companies are redesigning the process to preserve an employee’s unique identity, while also aiming to foster a conversation between manager and employee about the subject’s expectations and aspirations. This enables a more positive interaction that in turn engenders loyalty and a happier workplace.

Every business should consider designing an evaluation framework that supports learning and develops a more agile and future-ready workforce. Listed below are six important pillars that should underpin your employee evaluations.

  1. Standards in performance: These should be uniform for a particular role, irrespective of the individual subject’s qualifications. If a less-qualified individual is doing something that a highly qualified individual is not able to, then the former should be appreciated, and the latter counseled and trained to produce optimal work. Likewise, the standards should be achievable and not intimidating.

  2. Individual goals: Every employee is different. Categorizing everyone in the same bucket is an inefficient and outdated way to manage resources. It is up to people managers to recognize individual talent and get the best out of each team member. In this regard, setting individual goals that are specific and tailored to each is the right way to go in a complex work environment. This ensures that you are recognizing the individual as a person and also giving them an opportunity to showcase their talent.

  3. Observe the entire duration: Managers and overseers tend to only remember and analyze incidents and performance spanning only a few weeks or months in the recent past. This is completely off the mark. The employee has not only worked for the immediate duration of the assessment period, rather they have put in their effort year-round, and this needs to be taken into account judiciously. Perhaps the employee has gone out of their way to ensure that deadlines are met, or maybe they overcame a big obstacle. Observe and analyze the entire year to compile a balanced assessment.

  4. Be ready: Prepare yourself for the talk. When the time comes for managers and employees to sit at the table and discuss performance, there tends to be a certain apprehension from both sides. Most of the time this stems from the fact that the parties are unprepared or have not given it enough thought beforehand. Mentally preparing yourself, making notes and being ready for different scenarios tends to have a better outcome than rather going in with no forethought.

  5. Honest criticism/employee differences: A person in a managerial or senior position may or may not have criticism for subordinates. If they do, care should be taken that criticism is specific and not presented as a blanket critique of the person. Never comment on an individual’s appearance, outlook or anything that is not associated with the work at hand. On the other hand, embrace constructive criticism regarding anything at the workplace. Another important point to remember is to refrain from comparing employees, whether they are performing the same role or not. Respecting individuality is a key component of human resources.

  6. Have a conversation: Most managers tend to be just discussing points during the review process, but the key is to have a conversation and an understanding of the situation, or the kind of person they are dealing with. Remember that the conversation should focus on performance.
Fine-tune your assessment with these six questions

The above pointers give you a head start on how to conduct and assess employees who work for and with you. But there are some other basic questions, which coupled with the pointers above will make your life easier and give you a sense of control during the evaluation process. These include:

  • If given a chance, would you promote this individual?
  • What does the future hold for them?
  • How can you make this individual a better employee, and through which tools?
  • Where does a specific individual stand in the team? Can they be replaced?
  • Do they deserve the highest remuneration?
  • Would they fly off or leave you in the lurch?
The correct employee performance evaluation method is more important than ever as it indicates your attitude toward your employees and how concerned you are about their morale. These questions are intrinsic to the process and can help close performance gaps.

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