It’s challenging enough to evaluate all the employees who report to you once a year. Surely you don’t have to do it more often.

You might. There are at least two times when you’ll be doing yourself and your employer a favor by giving an employee an interim evaluation:

  • If the person manifests a sharp drop in performance or worsening of conduct
  • If you come in and take over a team or department, and discover you have a problem employee.

Undocumented
In both cases, the employee’s issues might not have been documented in their last annual review – because the problem has arisen since then, or because the previous boss didn’t have the heart or the smarts to give an honest assessment. So you want to get the employee’s issues down on paper ASAP. Two reasons: 1) You may able to turn the person around, and 2) If you can’t do that, you can at least prepare the ground for necessary discipline.

What should you say in an interim review? Tell the employee that:

  • You’re doing an unscheduled review because his previous evaluations don’t accurately reflect his overall performance.
  • You intend to rate him as “not meeting expectations” or similar. You know this going in because there’s a serious problem (which you’ll explain).
  • You may review him again in, say, 90 days to see what progress has been made. And of course, you’ll want to devise a performance improvement plan for that period.

(P.S. Keep in mind that performance reviews don’t have to be tied to salary reviews. In fact, there’s a strong rationale for keeping them separate.)

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