How to Evaluate Your Employees
Posted on January 23, 2015
Let me preface this blog by saying, I’ve only had employees for two and a half years. I still only have a handful of employees so I’m still trying to mastermind how to handle employee evaluations in the best possible way. I can share some tactics that have worked and some that have not worked and what I plan to try this year. If you’ve just brought on employees or are starting to think about employees or would like additional insights on how to evaluate employees – this might be helpful for you.
- Evaluate Frequently. If you run a small business, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t make the time to interview your employees on a regular basis. With small businesses roles and positions and responsibilities are always shifting so quickly, that I think business owners have a responsibility to check in with their employees and give them honest helpful feedback about their performance. I also think it’s crucial to set goals for each employee and let them know if they are hitting their goals and if they are on the right track. I’d much rather have someone shift after three months than after one full year. I evaluate my employees every three months so after each quarter of the year. We only grant raises and speak about promotions once per year and that is on the date of their initial employment. At the six month mark, I bring the CFO in the conversation with my employees to provide some perspective on how the company is doing that year, if we are on track to hit our goals, and to let the employee know if their performance is helping or hurting the business.
- Prep For the Evaluations Ahead of Time and Use a Template. I’ve definitely been guilty of not preparing before an evaluation and trying to come up with feedback – both good and bad on the spot. It usually doesn’t work and makes for a very unbalanced and sporadic conversation. You also want to do the evaluation for the benefit of the employee (as well as the employer) you want to make sure the employee is clear on what the takeaways from the conversation are. If the conversation is all over the place it might be hard for them to grasp. As far as templates, I typically print out their job descriptions and rank them on each of their job responsibilities – needs work, good, and great. I also use a template that goes over attitude, overall skill, and execution. I found this one online that I’ve used in the past: Evaluation Template
- Put a Clock On It. When I first hired employees, I found that these evaluations would go on for hours. Now, I try to keep it to a minimum of 1 hour. I try to keep my feedback on the employee’s performance to 20 minutes (if at all possible). I also allow time for the employee to give me feedback. The phrase I like to use is, “What can I do to better support you in your position?” Try to walk the line between not letting these conversations drag out for days and also not having a “part 2” on another day. Evaluations should start, end, and then everyone needs to move forward.
- Always Ask For Feedback. I mentioned this briefly in the point above. It’s in your best interest as CEO of a big or small company to ask your employees for feedback. Try not to take it offensively and if you can – guide the conversation by asking specific questions about different parts of their interactions with you. Sometimes when you open the flood gates too much it’s a negative experience. Regardless, consider your employee’s feedback. They may have a point!