Stop Staring at the Computer!
by Marnie Green
Admit it. You've done it. You've stared at the computer screen endlessly wondering where to start. You have a performance evaluation due (or overdue) and the pressure to "get the thing done" is weighing on you. Here are a few tips for creating well-written comments on the performance evaluation document without all the pain:
• Refer to pre-determined standards and goals - List the outcomes you and the employee agreed to at the beginning of the year and describe what the employee did to achieve them.
• Cite examples of performance - If you have kept specific and detailed records of the employee's performance, these can be the basis for comments on the performance evaluation. If you have saved e-mails, letters of commendation, and actual work samples, you can describe these in the performance evaluation, and they serve as sound support for your ratings, whether they are positive, negative, or neutral.
• Be objective and specific rather than subjective and general -The more specific examples and factual evidence you can offer, the more likely the evaluation will be well received. It's easy to argue with opinion, but it's difficult to argue with facts.
• Write in a conversational tone - Do you write "about" the employee or do you write "to" the employee? The ideal tone to use in a performance evaluation is the more personal tone of writing to the employee.
• Strive for balance in terms of positive and constructive comments - Solid performance-related comments should be both positive and constructive. Even the very best worker can benefit from a suggestion for improvement for the coming rating period. And, even the worst employee has done something right. Make sure that both ends of the spectrum are mentioned in the evaluation comments.
The next time you sit down to write a performance evaluation, think about your approach. If you focus on specific examples and refer to previous discussions, you'll have plenty to write about. Good luck!
Marnie Green may be contacted at http://www.managementeducationgroup.com
Marnie E. Green is Principal Consultant of the Arizona-based Management Education Group, Inc. She is the author of Painless Performance Evaluations: A Practical Approach to Managing Day to Day Employee Performance (Pearson/Prentice Hall). Green is a speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations develop leaders today for the workforce of tomorrow. Contact Green at http://www.managementeducationgroup.com