Streamlining the Employee Assessment Process – Easy, Low Cost Fixes

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Streamlining the Employee Assessment Process – Easy, Low-Cost Fixes

One of the most complicating problems with an employee assessment system is that it becomes so darn bureaucratic over time. Paper-reliant approaches teach managers to rely too much on forms to communicate supervisorial desires rather than just communicating them directly to employees. Supervisors learn to hide behind forms for safety rather than keeping their own records on how staff need further development. To reverse this problem, over-burdened evaluation systems need to be brought back down to earth to a usable format again.

A couple of steps can be easily implemented to cause a quick change:

  • Stop Relying on the Form to Communicate– As mentioned earlier, assessment forms become a crutch for line supervisors. To reduce this bad habit, the form needs to be reduced in size so that it covers just objective metrics. Below that, a paragraph size space should be available for any specific comments. This approach makes the supervisor have to communicate in speech what needs to be said. They can’t hide behind boilerplate language or ambiguous statements. By making managers communicate, it makes them better supervisors and they begin to connect with their staff.
  • Spell Out Expectations Early – Again, evaluation processes communicate to staff what’s expected of them when it’s too late. This is just chatter that falls on deaf ears when someone is being criticized. Instead, a lot of direction can be spelled out early with an employee development plan when the employee first starts a job. Then, the evaluation later on can be a simple review of whether spelled-out objectives were met or not over time. This avoids having to explain metrics after the fact when they have little effect.
  • Virtualize Review Filing – Automation is frequently quoted as a general savior to less-than-efficient offices, but it doesn’t do much good if the method of automation isn’t spelled out in detail. To make the evaluation process work, the electronic recording of reviews needs a process that captures the documents and saves them for easy reference later on. This avoids errant copies of forms kept in paper folders from getting lost. Instead, a manager can quickly pull up past reviews, look at what patterns are emerging, and add a new review to the file system for the current status. Later, the same documentation can be packaged as detailed support for a disciplinary action if it is necessary for a poor-performing employee.
  • Eliminate If Not Used – If performance appraisals are simply filled out as a matter of practice but nothing is ever done with the reviews, a business should get rid of the work entirely. There’s no point in having managers waste valuable time, potentially disrupting the morale of staff, if the reviews aren’t used for anything in terms of staff development and improvement. If reviews are to be used, then their purpose should be clear to managers and tied directly to a following action of employee improvement.

When streamlining an employee assessment system from Halogen, business management needs to be ready to accept that some “traditional” approaches aren’t useful. Such employee review process should be limited to their specific benefit and no more. This keeps the activity focused and saves energy and time for productivity.

With 11 years of working as a supervisor and manager, Tom Lutzenberger has written over 3,000 articles on multiple business and legal topics. He’s also filled out a performance review or two in his time, having worked into both private side and public agency organizations.

  • Andrew Guild October 18, 2013, 1:18 pm

    Thanks for the tips. We use reviews to assess and to set expectations at the same time. Doing both at the same time is a natural fit.

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