Reduce Your Stress Before Giving Performance Evaluations

February 27, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

The time of the year for performance evaluations is stressful for employees and managers alike. For most managers, stress is a result of not being prepared for these individual meetings. In addition, most managers forget to anticipate the possible reactions from employees who will receive less than glowing reviews. The best way to reduce your stress is to be well prepared before you meet with your staff.

Before you meet with your employees

  1. The first step you need to do is take each employee’s knowledge of their job, their ability to communicate and their initiative as an employee under consideration. In addition, consider how well they follow directives, and their adherence to accuracy and policy procedures. Think also about their attitude on the job and make your notes on each of these characteristics.
  2. Make a note of their strengths, as well as, their opportunities of improvement. Give specific examples of what they did right during the past year. This will let them know what they should continue doing. When referring to their areas of improvement, explain the problems, but also give details of how they can do better. Suggest courses they can take, or perhaps allow them to shadow another employee.
  3. Anticipate any possible reaction your employee may have as result of hearing of a poor evaluation. Take precautions to make sure everyone in the office is safe.
  4. While writing your evaluations, try not to let any personal friendships with your employees cloud your judgment. Make sure your evaluation is based solely on their work performance.
  5. Have your employees complete a self-evaluation. This will help you see where the two of you differ in opinion. It may also help you remember some additional achievements the employee had during the year.

During the meeting with your employees

  1. Meet each employee in a private office or conference room. It’s important to have all conversations regarding job performance in a private location. This includes verbal warnings that occur during the year.
  2. Don’t blind-sight your employee with a poor performance evaluation when you haven’t already spoken to them about their areas of improvement prior to the meeting. Blind-sighting the employee will only serve to demoralize him or her. You will not receive a positive response from your employee and it may cause the opposite result you want.
  3. Be conscience of your demeanor during the meeting. You don’t want to be too kind to the employee by sugar coating or glossing over areas where he or she may be falling short. This will lose the effectiveness of the performance evaluation. Also, you don’t want to be overly harsh either. When you are too direct your comments will not be received and once again the meeting will have little effect.
  4. Use the performance evaluation as an opportunity to discover if your employees desire to promote within the organization. Eliminate some of your company’s turnover by encouraging your employees to seek promotional opportunities. Give them suggestions for additional training or individuals they should get to know to grow within the company.
  5. Set goals and progress dates to review improvement in performance. This should be the last thing you do before ending the meeting.

After the meeting

Get started preparing for next year’s evaluations. Waiting until the last minute to prepare for performance evaluations is what adds to manager stress. Taking copious notes throughout the year on each of your employees on where they succeed and where they need to improve will help you next year. Most of the time managers try to rely on their memory when completing performance paperwork. By taking notes throughout the year, you can draw directly from your thoughts at the time. This responsibility will be much easier next time.

Angela Huffmon is a keynote Speaker and a Corporate Trainer. She helps management solve their 3 biggest problems, 1) employee retention, 2) productivity, and 3) manager/employee communication. If you would like more information regarding Angela’s programs you can visit her website at http://www.angelahuffmon.biz.

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