A recent article by the consulting firm McKinsey showed that 84% of companies who prioritized employee-performance and invested in their managers the skills needed to accurately assess their employees, are viewed by those same employees as a fair employer and feel that these assessments improve the quality of their work (McKinsey 2019).
Employees are the foundation stones that make up the company, and their management and training constitute a central factor in leading the company to success (or failure) as well as determining the direction the company will head in. This emphasizes the importance of periodic employee assessments which make sure the employees are aligned with the company’s objectives and are wisely spending their time based on clear and well-defined standards.
To achieve this, managers should employ the following steps.
Step 1 - Role-analysis and abilities & skills clarification
The process begins by analyzing the different activities that each employee is responsible for, which then forms the basis for determining the objectives and targets for each person. Based on this, a set of more tactical tasks can be defined (together with clear performance metrics), which will better guide the employee to achieving these goals.
Based on this analysis, an assessment form can be created that is tailored specifically to the roles and tasks of this individual employee. Because this employee’s work has been distilled to clear and measurable tasks, the managers are much more able to evaluate the quality of their employees' work much more accurately, even more so since not all tasks lead to results that are easily measured.
In addition to the analysis of the employee’s role, it is important to keep in mind that each role itself requires a set of abilities, skills and competencies. Defining these factors according to the type of job and its different tasks will allow the evaluating managers to examine the employee's performance in a holistic and more encompassing manner.
Step 2 - Giving Feedback
Engaging in employee performance evaluation consumes time and energy from the managers, and I know many who believe it to be a bad investment of their - and their employees' - time. As a result, they will conduct these sessions with little to know effort, simply to comply with the company's regulations.
Additionally, any form of evaluation that is not carried out objectively and with care can lead to negative results and create unnecessary friction between the employee and their manager, which can be based on fear of negative feedback or also a sense of discrimination when compared to other employees.
Therefore, this step requires the preparation of each evaluating manager to be able to support their feedback with concrete examples, objective metrics, and just as important - empathy for the employee being evaluated.
Step 3 - Product Analysis
At the end of the process of evaluating the performance of the employees, the managers and the organization should strive to help their employees develop their strengths and work on their weaknesses, thus maximizing the process even further. The company can also incentivise workers by rewarding those with outstanding performance, building programs for training and development of employees and so on.
For the above to happen, an in-depth analysis of the evaluation results is required. This analysis should focus on the employee's personal performance over time, as well as examine the performance of the entire team, department, division or the entire organization. For example, if service representatives in the department were sent for dedicated training, we could analyze the impact of the training on their performance.
To conclude, a properly performed employee appraisal process will bring many benefits to the organization, far beyond the increase in employee satisfaction.
Occupational analysis and quality performance metrics will help:
To better define and measure each employee's tasks, abilities and skills, and enable guidance from the managers by setting clear quantitative and qualitative goals.
To identify gaps that exist among employees and thus build plans for the learning and development of the company’s human capital.
To more efficiently offer salary raises and other forms of compensation based on the progress the employees are making, thus motivating them even more.
In the absence of existing experience within the organization or for the purpose of upgrading existing assessment capabilities, it is even possible to enlist the help of an external expert who accompanies the process. Beyond assisting with role-based analysis and creating accurate assessment forms, a skilled organizational consultant will support the managers by being an external and neutral factor in cases of strained relationships and when it comes to building and delivering the employee feedback - a delicate and sensitive process in and of itself.
Instead of viewing the assessments as a burdensome task, the organization can view it as a valuable opportunity to propel its activities forward and increase profitability and productivity.