Twelve Components of an Effective Performance Evaluation System
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Twelve Components of an Effective Performance Evaluation System

Narrow the focus of your performance evaluation system

If you’re going to design something from scratch, clearly define limits and prioritize desired outcomes of your performance evaluation system. If behavior change is the number one thing you ought to be going after, the question is, “How do you get more behavior change?” And the response would be that you narrow the focus of your performance evaluation system. Below are twelve keys to making your performance evaluation system more effective:

  1. You’ve got to unbundle your processes. In other words, we’re trying to do too many things with one process. Quit trying to do everything with one tool. Get some clarity of purpose. What are you really trying to accomplish with your performance evaluation system? Most of us are trying to do too many things with one tool.
  2.  Secondly, you ought to learn from coaches. And you ought to have your performance evaluation system focus on the future. Coaches know this really well. You can’t change behavior in the past. So why not put most of your emphasis on the future?
  3. Redefine the roles of participants. And you do that by making the manager or supervisor switch from being a judge or an evaluator to a coach. It’s more than a name change. It’s a way of thinking and a way of interacting.
  4.  The employee needs to change from an evaluation subject to an empowered career craftsman. In other words, you need to take some responsibility for your own career. Nobody else is looking out for you. You need to look out for yourself.
  5. The system administrator, the HR folks, they need to stop being the process police. It’s just such a ridiculous way to spend all your time.
  6. Break the direct link between performance and salary administration. You can’t go from last year’s performance to this year’s pay on a direct connection. So you need to have an adult to adult conversation with your people about pay. They need to understand where they are in the scheme of things, where they can go and what it takes to get them there. Make the messages that you give to your employees about performance are something they can remember. They can only carry around so many ideas. Limit and prioritize the improvement needs.
  7. Be unflinchingly honest in your performance evaluation system. Learn to say to somebody’s face what you say about them behind their back.
  8. Raise the bar for high potential employees that have advancement aspirations. If they are a hotshot and they really want to get somewhere in their career, that hotshot ought to be given a more difficult conversation than somebody who is just trying to tread water. Be honest as long as you don’t mess with their salary or promotability. So if your performance evaluation system allows you to do that, it’s going to be much more effective.
  9. Know what your employees want and value. Seek first to understand and then to be understood. Find out where that person’s coming from.
  10. A good performance evaluation system will review and approve performance messages two levels down. It lends gravity and importance to the message being communicated. And it allows the senior management to inspect the quality of the coaching process as it’s going along.
  11. Train each group of participants on their role in the performance evaluation system.
  12. Finally, follow-up or it simply won’t get done. Once you come up with a plan for that employee’s development just like you come up with a plan for the organization’s year, after that, you ought to look at your plan once a quarter and determine if you’re executing at it or not.

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