Conducting Performance Evaluations

Man at iPad

Employee evaluations help organizations accomplish four main goals:

  • Allow the staff and supervisor to communicate about performance expectations
  • Identify training needs
  • Direct and counsel staff about performance improvement
  • Determine compensation and position changes

The general timing of performance evaluations should be identified in the personnel policies although actual timing can be decided as needed. Language in the personnel policies could include within one month of the end of the calendar year, at the time of the annual meeting or semi-annually.

While supervisors may not be enthusiastic about delivering performance evaluations, they are important both because inadequate communication can result in negative consequences, and because they represent a valuable opportunity to exchange feedback.

There is no set of rules that determines what should be included or excluded in an evaluation. The evaluation process can be formal or informal, it can reflect input from only the supervisor, or it can include information from staff members’ peers or external colleagues. It can be based on staff job descriptions, annual work plans, or the organization’s strategic plan. The executive director, with the assistance of the personnel committee, should establish a format that allows for an exchange that strengthens staff effectiveness. Following the evaluation, employees typically sign the evaluation, indicating that they acknowledge of review; the signature does not necessarily indicate that they agree with the evaluation. The evaluation process may include the opportunity for the person being reviewed to respond in writing to any points of disagreement.

Staff evaluations should address the following questions:

  • What was the employee expected to accomplish?
  • Were they provided the tools necessary to accomplish these tasks?
  • What did the employee actually accomplish?
  • How did the employee achieve these accomplishments?
  • What was expected of the employee that was not accomplished, and why?
  • In what performance areas does potential for improvement exist? As a best practice, none of the information in the evaluation should be a surprise; supervisors should make a practice of giving performance feedback on a regular basis.