Are end-of-year performance reviews on your holiday agenda? I know, I don’t enjoy them either, but employee evaluations are as important to the company as they are to its personnel. You may think everyone is on the same page, but chances are one or two of your employees are not even in the same book! An annual review gives you an opportunity to identify where each employee excels, needs improvement, and meets your expectations. And if an employee has to be fired down the road and files a grievance, a written evaluation serves as evidence that you had just cause and discussed it with the employee well before the termination.
Here are a few things to review as you prepare for evaluations:
The evaluation form – Go over the form yourself and then be sure your managers know how to use it. Some employers provide the form to employees before the review, so they, too, can prepare.
Ratings and comments – Numerical ratings or point systems may be difficult to understand, so be sure to provide written comments that explain the ratings. Be honest and accurate with favorable as well as unfavorable comments.
Time frame – Include the entire period covered by the review, even if performance has changed. If the employee had problems early in the year which are now resolved, talk about performance before and after resolution.
Employee feedback – An evaluation meeting ideally is a conversation between manager and employee. Some employees need time to think about how to respond, so allow time for another session or ask for written feedback – and then fairly consider the feedback. This is an important way to promote good employee relations.
Goal setting – Be ready to make a plan for the next evaluation period, including action to improve problems, if necessary. Work with the employee to make the plan reasonable in content and timing.
The law around performance reviews and their role in litigation is complex, and an employment lawyer can help ensure that your evaluation process and forms will stand up to scrutiny. We’re happy to address your questions or concerns.