A Different Approach to Performance Evaluations

mature businessman and young work colleague discussing business while sitting together at a table in an office boardroomBusiness professionals understand the purpose and value of performance evaluations. Most large businesses offer employees an evaluation once per year. Executives often claim the benefits of conducting evaluations revolve around career development and work achievement recognition.

It is a fine method for setting expectations with staff and opening a dialog which may result in increased employee productivity and confidence.

As the process is effective for managers to evaluate staff (top-down), why don’t more companies ask their employees to evaluate management (bottom-up)? Isn’t that relationship and onus of responsibility a two-way street?

If companies want to keep their top performers, and shift resources into positions where they will get the best bang for their buck, they need to be actively asking and listening for feedback from the very staff members they evaluate in the traditional sense.

Here are three questions managers should be asking their team/staff. They then need to implement the feedback into operations and management style.

  1. What do you find most satisfying about your work?
  2. Where do you feel the greatest sense of accomplishment in your current position?
  3. Is there anything that management or corporate could be doing differently that would give you a greater sense of accomplishment?

People in management positions may be tempted to ask employees what factors motivate them to work hard. This is not favorable word choice because it will often lead employees to think more about their compensation (i.e. salary) when answering, and less about elements which can be tweaked to better suit their unique needs.

We would love to hear your feedback on this subject. How important do you think it is to encourage staff to voice their opinion to supervisors in a professional, formal and candid way? Let us know on Twitter or LinkedIn.

—Lee Sumner, Sr. Research Manager