An Effective Performance Evaluation System Begins with Employee Input
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An Effective Performance Evaluation System Begins with Employee Input

Involve Employees in your performance evaluation system

There are three forms and steps to consider if you’re going to involve catalytic coaching in your performance evaluation system. The first is the coaching input sheet, or the yellow sheet. In terms of process with the coaching input sheet, if you’ve got a direct report, you ask them to fill it out and you’re going to coach them. There are three big questions on the form. This section, as well as the performance evaluations system in general, should look informal and conversational.

The first question in this performance evaluation system asks what the employee has done for the company lately. The question is broken down into two parts—accomplishments and disappointments. You will find most people even your really good performers that you think are your stars have the easiest time with one half of that equation. If you’ve been around for a while—if you’ve ever seen anybody do anything like this, you will know that the really good people actually have an easier time talking about their disappointments.

Now, if somebody comes across that really high-performing profile, it teaches you something as a coach. It teaches you to be careful with them. It teaches you to be very careful with your constructive feedback, because they’ll take anything you say slightly negative and they’ll amplify it. You need to build them up. You need to be very careful how you focus your energy in your performance evaluation system.

There are some people who come in with a different posture. They will come in very aggressively and tell you everything they’ve done and try to take full credit for things they only had partial responsibility for. They don’t take any responsibility for things that were massive failures that they have a lot of responsibility for.

So what we need you to do when that’s happening is we need to understand when it’s your turn to talk to them, you’re going to have to hit them right between the. With that first question as part of your performance evaluation system, you’re learning a lot about how to work with this person.

The next question the form should ask is what have you done to yourself lately? What new products do you know? What new systems can you operate? What new relationships have you built? How are you more valuable this year than a year ago when I talked to you last? By asking that, we’re asking an employee to tell us about intellectual inflation. We’re also telling them that it’s your responsibility to grow you, not my responsibility to grow you. So even though the language there is kind of casual, this performance evaluation system points at some profound things.

The final question on the employee input sheet is “What would you like to be when you grow up?” People try to fix it and say, “If we ask it the way you’ve got it, it means somebody might come in and tell us about – I don’t know, their personal life or something.” The key to their motivation lies on the answer to that question. Some of you will say, “I don’t want to ask this because somebody is going to start thinking about other things they can do with their time that would be more interesting and valuable.” It’s better to have somebody for eight good years then eight good years and six years of them scraping by. If they’ve got to do something else with their life to give them inspiration, have them talk about that. You will find if you can talk to people about what’s real for them and what’s valuable and important to them, you will attract wonderful people who will be energized and engaged. And that is what you’re after when devising a performance evaluation system.

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