Performance evaluations are often dreaded by both the employer and the employee.  It does not have to be that way.  The period of the year when a boss has the obligation to sit down with his staff to tell them how they are doing should be beneficial for all.  And here is how you can do so.

The right way to do an evaluation

 For the employee, the annual review can be stressful but it can also be exhilarating if all goes above expectations.  Expectations is the key word here.  No employee should be left in the dark all year long.

Supervisors should make a considerable effort in delivering feedback, good and bad, on a regular basis to all their staff members.  This way, no one will be totally shocked when the annual performance review comes.  Each boss can manage the feedback meetings the way they want, perhaps monthly, bi-monthly or even weekly.  By expressing to their employees what needs to be corrected or what it is that they are exceeding at, employers keep the staff’s motivation high and surprises at the annual review to a minimum.

Although it is crucial to advise your staff of their mistakes or opportunities for growth, it is even more essential to recognize when they are being successful.  Point out the positive any chance you get, it will reinforce the employee’s self-confidence and will to continue the right path.  You can praise in public but make sure you do reprimand or address issues in private.  If you do consistently emphasize on the job well done when it is the case, it will be much easier for any staff member to take the constructive criticism you should offer.  It will be a win-win situation.  Your employee will cease any growth opportunity you did highlight and you will benefit from their excellent performance all year long.  No matter if you are delivering positive comments or improvements needed to your staff, be direct and concise.  No one can or should have to reach between the lines in these cases.

4 Steps to follow to smoothly administer a performance evaluation 

  • Perceptions: Finding out and collecting information on how the employee perceives their performance is as important then the performance itself. Ask your staff, with enough notice before a meeting, to write down their thoughts on how they are doing at work.  This way, you are not the only one preparing for this interview.  Most employees will have the review on their mind anyway, so writing down their perceptions and ideas will simplify the process for everyone.
  • Personalities: Beware of each individual personality.  Not every employee will respond the same to the type of review chosen or the way you address some issues for example.  Some people need to be put in their place more than others, while some others will totally collaborate and be positively involved in the discussion.  Choose your approach in function of each staff member you are evaluating and you in most cases have better results, better responsiveness.
  • Objectives: Setting goals is also a very important step in the review process.  Give your employee something concrete to look forward, to achieve.  By knowing exactly what is expected from them, individuals will be able to focus better on succeeding, achieving these realistic goals.
  • Honest feedback: The discussion should be open for both parties involved. Give the opportunity to your staff member to express their concerns, their opinions or successes.  This is the time to address anything that needs to be improved either on a management level or employee level.  This is the time for the supervisor to express their feedback, but listen and be receptive to their staff’s feedback as well.

 In summary, employers, supervisors, do aim to give feedback to your staff on a regular basis.  Do not only focus your attention on errors or underperformance, but point out any positive as often as you can.  And most importantly, do not wait until the end of the year or to the next review to address an issue that can impact your team or even your whole organization.

David Klein is a leading Executive IT Recruiter & Headhunter with over 15 years’ industry experience.  As Manager of Recruitment Strategy for KDS Staffing, Inc., he has achieved industry-leading success. David has successfully led, trained and introduced many in the art of Executive Recruitment and Headhunting. If you or your organization would like to discuss hiring needs, contact David at 646-650-2833 or