Dollars and Sense: Employee evaluations can be helpful

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 15, 2005

When supervisors are asked what aspect of their job they like least, firing employees is usually first, but right behind it is the evaluation interviews. To make this interview meaningful and productive, both parties should approach the meeting with the feeling this is a constructive exercise.


Effective appraisal interviews must be carefully planned.

Before sitting down with your subordinate, study the appraisal itself.

Make a list of the major areas you wish to cover.

Note all the positive aspects of the performance &045; not just the areas where improvement is needed.

Recall all that you can about the employee’s behavior. Does he or she have any special problems or idiosyncrasies? If you know this person is belligerent, negative, emotional or in any other way will make the interview difficult, be prepared to deal with it.

Schedule the meeting a few days in advance.

Suggest that the employee review his or her own performance before the meeting.

Discuss performance

Once you have established rapport, point out the areas of the job, which the person has excelled and those in which the standards were met. Encourage the employee to comment.

Listen attentively, and then discuss those aspects of performance or behavior, which did not meet your standards.

Be specific. Performance standards should be clearly understood. It should be no surprise to them to be told that they are not meeting those standards. In every instance concentrate on the work, not the person. Never say, &8220;You were no good.&8221; Say, &8220;The work did not meet the standards.&8221;

Get employee’s suggestions

Once you have presented the situation, instead of you making recommendations for improvement, ask the employee for his or her suggestions.

Set goals

If goals have been set at the review conducted last year, review them. If they were not all met, find out why and determine what can be done to meet them over the next period. The appraisal interview is not just a review of the past, but a plan for the future.

Ask, &8220;What would you like to accomplish over the next twelve months?&8221;

Elicit production goals, behavioral changes and plans for advancement.

This could also include personal goals such as obtaining additional education, participation in professional or trade association activities or other off the job endeavors that will enhance his or her career.

You, as the manager, should be supportive, but do not make any promises or give false hope for advancement or career growth that may be beyond what you can deliver.

Have the employee write down each goal and next to it indicate what he or she plans to do to achieve the goal.

Give one copy to the employee and keep one copy with the employee appraisal form.

Next year you can use this as part of the appraisal interview.


At the end of the meeting, ask the subordinate to summarize what has been discussed.

Make sure that he or she fully understands the plusses and minuses of performance and behavior, the plans and goals for the next period and any other pertinent matters.

Keep a written record of these points.

Unless the employee is doing a poor job and this evaluation is a &8220;last chance&8221;

before termination, end the meeting with a positive note.

&8220;Overall, you have made good progress this year.

I am confident that you will continue to do a good job.&8221;

The employee evaluation process, if properly managed, can be a highly stimulating experience for both the employee and the supervisor.

Most of all this interview should not be a confrontation, but a meaningful two-way interchange that leads to commitment of the employee to reach out for improvement and set and implement goals for the coming year that will lead to a more productive and satisfying work experience