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Fair Evaluation of Employees

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In my capacity as a manager, I once had to evaluate my team members during an annual appraisal. I was bit anxious as I had just been assigned to head their project a month ago. Nevertheless, it was an experience. The next time around, I was in a better position to evaluate my team members.

The very first question that hit me when I was asked to evaluate them was: How does one do a fair evaluation of one’s team members? After the first evaluation, the HR department gave me a checklist of measurable performance criteria that applied to members of my team. And I kept these criteria handy during my own appraisal with my boss.

Below is a fairly common set of measurable performance criteria that help me with annual evaluation of my subordinates.

  • Initiative or Ambition: Are your team members ambitious in the sense of taking initiative to perform or improve the process, product or work environment?
  • Cooperation/Attitude: Is your teammate a pleasure or bore to work with? What is his or her opinion towards you, peers and overall work? Is he or she cooperative and flexible with his or her peers by performing job functions outside his or her normal duties?
  • Attendance: Is your team mate’s regular absence having a negative impact on the morale of other members or on the department’s productivity? Regular attendance of any one employee can set an example for peers to be punctual towards work.
  • Communication Skills: Is your team member capable of communicating with his peers, managers and clients? Has he or she ever been involved in any issues due to communication skills?
  • Focus: Is your team member able to maintain focus on the task assigned? Does he or she prefer to finish personal work while still at work?
  • Loyalty: Does your subordinate understand his or her job responsibilities? Does he or she feel proud while talking about the project or Company?
  • Improvement: Has your team member shown a marked improvement in his performance from the previous appraisal?
  • Integrity: Does your subordinate display morally upright behavior at work? Does he or she respect the privacy of his or her peers and clients?
  • Knowledge: Is your subordinate technically sound enough to perform his or her job responsibilities?
  • Productivity: Is your subordinate responsible enough to meet productivity requirements and project deadlines?
  • Quality of Work: Do you receive more positive or negative feedback from the client regarding your team members’ quality of work? What are your observations on the quality of work your department produces?
  • Reliability: How reliable is your subordinate? Does he or she demonstrate dependability? Is he or she the one you rely on when someone makes a mistake?
  • Stress Management: Is your subordinate open to changes in the work environment? How does he or she interact with other members when the project is nearing its deadline?
  • Team Work: If one of your team members is on leave, does his or her peer willingly pitch in to finish the tasks assigned of the absentee?

Alongside the above mentioned criteria, employees’ performance levels need to be measured in these ways:

  • Has your employee mastered the requirements of his or her job and able to perform in a way that reflects an understanding of his job duties?
  • Does your employee meet minimally acceptable standards in terms of technical know-how of the job requirements?
  • Does your employee exceed your expectations in some aspects of the job while being an average performer in other matter?

Do share your thoughts with me on the same.

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  • Steve

    Attitude is all important too, since this demonstrates committment.

  • Mam Cor

    The reference document for performance appraisal is the Job Description.
    During this meeting with your employees, they must also know the areas they feel weak the area they feel strong.
    During this appraisal you and your emplyees will be honest regarding there qualifications etc……

  • I think it’s important to evaluate performance. the most effective boards I’ve sat on have done self evaluations, peer evaluations and board’s evaluation of ED and vice versa.

    I’ve just written a book for non-profit directors and list these criteria as being key to the evaluation process:

    1) Attendance and promptness at meetings
    2) Effectively contributing to discussions at meetings
    3) Being prepared for meetings (reading/doing your homework)
    4) Willingness to take on roles and duties
    5) Willingness to help others (mentoring)
    6) Interacting well with fellow directors and staff
    7) Ability to think independently and without bias
    8) Demonstrating sound judgment
    9) Being consultative or a team player in nature
    10) Being knowledgeable of the organization’s issues

    More on this and plenty of other useful info available in the book, “Before You Say Yes …”
    http://www.dundurn.com/books/you_say_yes

  • Ankita

    This is useful information. Although some of the parameters I feel depend on an individual’s personality and the amount of inspiration the head of department can give them. I think it is important for leaders to understand personalities and try and get the best out of them.

  • Innovation, Work Ethics and Leadership are important as well. I also like people with can-do attitude and instead of complaining, suggesting ways to improve.

  • steve b

    Now that you have a list of attributes or characteristics of a given employee, what do you do with the list? Can you assign numeric scores for each attribute with the higher score indicating a better performance, then add up the scores? In doing so, how would you know how good the total is unless it is compared to scores of others? Then you would have to have a personal assessment that employee A who scored 50 is an average employee, team member B who scored 25 is under-performing, and team member C at 85 is top notch. However, you already decided the quality of the employees before doing the numbers.
    In other words, it’s all comparative. You compare the results of your evaluation with the performance of others and moreover with your preconceived notion – usually from experience – of how a “good team member” should be. And there are also biases at work, for example, if the team member has a string of acronyms after his or her name, you might expect the person to have a high rating (however you rate) in the categories of initiative and knowledge. A more damaging bias is that of extrovert. You might automatically score an extrovert high in the area of teamwork and communication skills because of their style. Whereas an introvert may actually communicate more by saying less but with higher precision and may be the silent linchpin of the team.
    Perhaps a better evaluation is of the entire team’s performance rather than an individual member of the team. Peer pressure is a powerful prescription for high productivity. And teams tend to be self-regulating. Score the team low and the members will take action to improve, improving those on the team who are not performing. Is it possible to have high performing team members on a low performing team?
    That said, I wonder what the criteria would be for team evaluation?

  • Judith Meyer

    Attendance goes hand in hand with accountability. Poor attendance negatively impacts the remaining team members in many ways.

  • Dr. Omer,

    My comments to you on Linkedin.com are summarized here:

    To effectively gain insight with respect to performance appraisals there is no better judge than with those whom an employee works. However caution must be used in doing this type of appraisal. A 360-degree peer to peer analysis in anonymous format is perhaps a strong method of letting others as a group know about their individual strengths and weaknesses. When asked to complete a series of questions in a neutral format, such that they have to evaluate
    1) themselves, 2) individuals in the group and 3)

    The group as a whole a true sense of group dynamics will result. An experienced guide or facilitator will lead the process (can be done online – where results are collated) the findings are then presented to the group as a whole……(with no identifiers) in reality, most people know what their capacities and behaviors are; to hear how others wish to be perceived, professionally and personally, is not too far removed from their own desires…..

    When a positive comment has been presented to the group as a whole, they choose to identify with it, and emulate the behavior that elicits the response (Pavlov) similarly, when a negative behavior is attributed to either of the parameters in 1,2 or 3 as above; individual and group reactions (visual and auditory) allow others to adjust their behaviors accordingly so as to not be perceived as one who achieves this negative result.

    Greg Jensen MBA, M.Ed

  • Hi,

    The process of performance appraisal starts at the organizational level. A strong performance evaluation mechanism setup by the HR can give fruitful results.

    Performance management system must be based on the SMART Principle ( Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result oriented and Time bound.

    Over and above what Ayesha has said, I feel these are the key points to do a fair rating analysis:

    1) Captures and track employees’ Personal Development Plan(Includes the total training done in a year)
    2) Collect all Ongoing performance feedback related to job.
    3) Capture KRAs against the met or exceeded goals.
    4) Link competency framework with performance management .
    5) Give scores on awards collected.
    6) Assessment of the employees’ readiness for the next level role.

    Cheers!!
    MAMTA

  • Dan

    In addtion to performance criteria there needs to be a well defined way of measuring the results.

    What does teamwork mean? How do you measure it?

    To make performance management fair there has to be a clear well communicated set of standards that everyone that is being evaluated on understands and agrees to (that is they must understand what they are being evaluated against).

    To make it very fair (or at least as fair as you can get) you would need sample the work being done pretty regularly and providing the necessary feedback so that performance improvements can be made throughout the period being measured.

    Dan
    Personal Development and Empowerment Coach
    web: danweigold.com
    blog: coachwithheart.wordpress.com

  • One of the biggest gaps in measuring performance actually is rooted in the setting of the expectations. Most managers unknowingly do a poor job of setting clear & specific expectations because they were never trained to do so. This fact allows subjectivity to play a significant role in the evaluation process on both the manager & employee’s side of the equation. Simply put, vague expectations = vague results. And when this happens, the perceived quality of the evaluation process drops dramatically, which is why most employees perceive the performance assessment process to be one that is largely an exercise in futility and a game of politics and likability. So how do you solve for this? By stating expectations in observable terms. Sounds simple but I guarantee you most managers will flop at doing it without extensive practice and accountability to do so on a consistent basis. For example, the performance measure “Communicates Effectively” can be left to open interpretations affected by values, judgments, and cultural background. By stating a few specific behaviors that can be observed for this criteria, and measuring whether or not those behaviors were consistently demonstrated, a more accurate assessment can occur. So as you consider the performance criteria to use, consider training managers to set clear & specific expectations on the front end. If done effectively, this will allow for greater communication throughout the performance cycle, and it lowers the gap of perceived vs. actual performance resulting in an enhanced level of credibility for the performance assessment process. As I always tell my clients, often times the greatest sources of improvement and sustainable success are found in the simplest of solutions that are not commonly applied.

    We work with clients all over the world helping managers implement employee engagement strategies that reduce costs, increase profits, and retain productive loyal employees. This is what we do, ask me how we do it, and I’ll be happy share.

    Sardek P. Love

  • Hi
    The points that you have listed for measurement are OK, but what is most important of all is that Management must have are the KWAs [Key Work Areas-Job tasks-Primary and Secondary] and KRAs [Key result Areas-Goals to be achieved with time-lines and measure of completeness], covering both Job delivery and Potential for role-growth [behavioral & skills], with a focus on Value-addition to company’s knowledge/intelligence repository by way of Transfer of skills and technologies, Solution/Resolution database, Process / Quality framework, and reusable object libraries.
    Ananth, Head HR

  • We have made the appraisal process much more transparent and acceptable by all. The line manager is required to develop the KRA (Key Result Areas) in the begining of the year with the participation of appraisee. The weights of each KRA is also agreed and a performance contract document is prepared, which provides the details on what behaviour or performance on each KRA will entail an individual a particular rating i.e. O, E, C, S, U OR 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (where 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest). Both these documents are signed by the employee and appraiser (line manager) and countersign / vetted by HR Manager. The documents are reviewed every quarter and notings on the discussion / feedback is generated – again signed by both employee and appraiser. Final review i.e. at the end of the year detailed discussions takes place where all three previous discussion documents are referred in a summarized form (facilitated by HR Department). Finally the annual appraisal document is filled and completed including detailed T&D plan which has direct coorelation to the evaluation on each of the identified training areas. This system is in practice for past few years and not a single case of disagreement or dis-satisfaction on the process reported – I being the overall Head of HR of the group of companies do ensure my presence in few appraisal discussions and documentation (as an observer), which has also been appreciated by both employee and the line managers!

  • Nandini Friendsmoo

    Thanks for sharing you are experience. so that we can also learn something from you………….job posting sites for free