Provide frequent feedback: Instead of doing a lone annual review, evaluate employees every quarter. It's more work, but it pays off, because it's easier to identify both successes and failures and put them in perspective when they're still fresh in the mind. More frequent evaluations enable employees and supervisors to adjust their goals and tune them more precisely to the company's current needs. And problems can be corrected before they cause too much damage.
Ask everyone's opinion: Employees don't just have to get along with their department supervisors. They have to be able to work with other employees and other departments, and with the customers. By soliciting feedback from several players, a company can help an employee get in better sync with others. And someone outside a department may add fresh insights that immediate supervisors may not see.
Tie in compensation as an incentive: Feedback is most effective if there is a clear, quantifiable reward for using it. Develop a system for linking a portion of bonuses to performance on evaluations, and you'll help employees keep their eyes on the ball. To accomplish that, you also have to develop a process in which you can assign monetary value to at least some of the feedback.
Put the evaluation process online: Create an electronic evaluation form and install it as a page on your company's intranet or Web site. It makes it easy to use, reduces paperwork, and creates a more powerful tool. It will be easier for supervisors to analyze and compare the data in new ways - either for one employee or for an entire group. And employees can see and respond to their feedback in a clear, easy-to-understand fashion on their computer desktops.
Teach the art of constructive criticism: Candor is a rare commodity, but employees need to learn how to use it constructively. It's crucial at the start of an evaluation program to educate employees on how to give constructive feedback (even if it's anonymous) . Once employees realize that getting the unvarnished truth can improve performance - and lead to higher compensation - they'll master the process quickly.
Workforce, March 2001, p. 65 Subscribe Now!