We posted a question on LinkedIn earlier this month and I thought I would share the highlights with you in this article.
The question we asked was “We are studying performance management and would love your opinion. Do you think there is value in employees doing a self evaluation as part of the performance appraisal process?” Turns out this was a “hot” question and we have received 89 responses so far. I think it is fair to say that people have very strong opinions when it comes to evaluating employee performance. A few things stand out from the comments we received:
- Almost no one likes to do performance evaluations.
- Even when performance evaluations are done, a lot of people do not follow through on what was discussed and agreed upon during the evaluation review meeting.
Overall, most respondents thought it is a good idea for employees to do self evaluations as long as proper expectations are set.
Below are some other thoughts and suggestions on performance evaluation provided to us through the HR & Talent Management Executive group message board:
- Performance evaluations should be separated from pay, bonuses and promotions. This is a hard one because it is so ingrained in business that performance evaluations are the trigger for pay increases instead of career development. Some people think this can never happen and that the evaluation process while not a complete waste of time is close to it. Maybe the yearly review can deal with pay and the midyear is the self evaluation.
- The self evaluation process may take a year or two to take hold in your company. You are changing the company culture. I think for the better.
Here are some of things to mention when setting expectations for the self evaluation process:
- Employees must give a truthful evaluation of themselves so you can work together to achieve both their goals and company goals.
- Do not tie pay or bonuses to the evaluation.
- Employees should not be hearing positive or negative feedback for the first time at the evaluation meeting. Informal feedback should be taking place all year. Also some suggest giving the manager’s feedback before the meeting allowing employees time to digest the information. Others disagree with this method.
- Encourage truthful feedback not only about the employee but also the company and its processes.
- Employees should be told in advance what they expect from their boss. For example, you won’t get more than 3 out of 5, on a 1-5 scale, in most areas from me because I expect a lot from employees and I would only give myself a 4 on a good day. There’s nothing worse than giving yourself a 4 and having your boss give you a 2 when both parties agree on the degree of talent involved.
- Constant informal feedback between employees and their managers throughout the year is the key to making this work. The informal process should be used throughout the year instead of waiting for the yearly or bi-yearly process.
- Managers should keep a log or document somehow that chronicles the accomplishments of their employees throughout the year so they are “armed” when the evaluation meeting happens.
The self evaluation process can be an eye opener if done correctly. Blind spots from both the manager and employee can be pointed out.
Other things to consider doing after the self evaluation process is set up and running are 360 evaluations and peer to team evaluations.The ROI on performance evaluation comes from how willing management is going to be to make changes based on the feedback from employees. Not just talk the talk but walk the walk. Self evaluations really show the manager if the employee is involved with their job, career and the company.
Make sure to tie the self evaluation process to your new employee 90 introductory period. Properly done, it contributes to a challenging, positive work experience and improved engagement. It is a micro interaction that achieves macro benefits on aggregate. Managers should be trained on how to administer the process. At the very least, remember this rule, “First do no harm.” To paraphrase Peter Djokovich, “Performance management is not a thing, it is an action.”
We would like to thank all the people in the HR & Talent Management Executive group on LinkedIn for their great feedback. From the feedback received, it appears that the consensus is that if done correctly, employee self evaluation is beneficial for all parties, the employee, the manager and the company. Self evaluations point out gaps in understanding, ensure that everyone is on the same page and shows that the company is ready, able and willing to listen to what their employees have to say.