Why Employee Performance Evaluations Are Critically Important

There’s no doubt that many employees don’t like receiving performance evaluations. Quite frankly, most supervisors don’t like writing or giving them. There is something inherently uncomfortable about the situation that has to do with people not wanting to be judged. Instead of performance evaluations being viewed as an opportunity to provide feedback for growth, they can feel condemning and unproductive. In most cases, it’s because the supervisor has not been properly trained.

One of the best types of feedback that an employee can get is with something like 360 degree feedback. That’s because it enables the person to hear from everyone they work with and not just the supervisor. It’s something that has grown in popularity over the past decade, but it’s hard to believe that it didn’t always exist. This is because receiving feedback only from your supervisor who doesn’t see your interactions with others seems incomplete. It’s valuable to hear from team members with whom you interact daily.

Feedback from peers and direct reports is imperative for personal and professional development because it gives the employee a chance to truly consider areas of improvement and make the necessary adjustments. When that doesn’t happen, there is little to no growth. Its why feedback gathered should be incorporated by the supervisor into the formal performance evaluation in a manner that’s appropriate and judicious. It’s truly about growth and taking the time to assess opportunities for improvement. It’s something that’s important for all professionals.

The ultimate purpose of a performance evaluation is to gauge whether an employee has lived up to the requirements of the job. It gives them a chance to discuss areas of improvement and create strategies for overcoming obstacles. Instead of the supervisor being the sole provider of feedback, they should be the person that develops a document with useful information in consideration of all feedback. The supervisor’s role from that point is to ensure the necessary adjustments in performance are made to meet or exceed expectations.

Performance evaluations are not just about figuring out where an employee needs to improve. It’s also about identifying the things that they’ve done well and acknowledging accomplishments. Focusing only on the problem areas can have a negative and psychological impact on an employee that might hinder them from excelling in the future. It’s been proven that confirming what a person did well is a good way to support the continuation of positive behavior.

Regardless of whether a company chooses a top-down review, peer review, self-assessment or all three, it’s imperative that they conduct annual evaluations in a way that’s balanced. However, when the schedule for evaluations is annual, that shouldn’t be the only time performance is discussed. It should be a topic of conversation on a regular basis. This should happen in the format of coaching during weekly meetings. It’s a good way to gauge progress to ensure there are no surprises during the annual evaluation.