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Dear Workforce How Could We Ensure Employee Evaluations That Avoid Subjective Measurement?

How do we go about grading our employees properly and objectively?

September 7, 2011

Dear Fair-Minded:

Ensuring your evaluations are fair and objective requires a little planning.

Fully understand and communicate expectations

Many supervisors don't effectively communicate performance expectations to their employees. Misunderstandings about expectations result in diminished focus on the important aspects of the job, lower productivity and quality, and perceived (and real) unfairness in performance evaluations.

A job description that lists specific activities to be performed, the measurements to be reported, the time allocated for each task—and the required results—helps eliminate many potential misunderstandings. By making result expectations clear to your employees in advance, the evaluation process becomes fair and balanced.

Focus on data

If you've developed a good job description, you've already outlined the measurable outcomes you expect. Next, you need to consistently measure and record these outcomes. One of the simplest ways is by keeping a performance "plus and minus" log on each employee. Simple forms are available from numerous sources, or you can create your own.

Have your supervisors carve out 10 minutes a day to record the performance results of their employees that either exceed or fall below expectations. (Since it's unlikely that every member of your team will do something noteworthy each day, 10 minutes should be more than enough time.)

At the end of the appraisal period, it is very easy to roll up your notes and complete the appraisal form. Keeping detailed, regular notes on performance helps supervisors objectively rate performance and provides employees with better, more credible input.

Involve the employee

Asking the employee to be involved in measurement and record keeping of their results will further improve the perceived fairness of those results. Give your employee a plus-and-minus log and ask the individual to note significant accomplishments, misses or extra value added.

Periodically meet with employees to go over the log together, and use the employee's log as one of the inputs for the annual performance appraisal.

Telling your people clearly what you expect and measuring and providing specific comments on performance results help supervisors offer evaluations that are objective. Employees will be more appreciative of the performance evaluation they receive.

SOURCE: Richard D. Galbreath, Performance Growth Partners Inc., Bloomington, Illinois

LEARN MORE: Please read "Six Steps to Successful Performance Appraisals" for additional advice.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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