Ah yes, that magical time of the year that managers, HRs and employees alike are always looking forward to… Except that they’re not.
While HRs might see the value in employee evaluations (it’s their job after all, isn’t it?), some managers and business owners consider them pointless, some think they’re a necessary evil and yet some decide not to engage in them at all. On the other hand, employees’ reactions can vary from indifference to disapprovement of their ineffectiveness to stress-inducing discomfort.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are so many benefits that employee evaluations can bring about for office productivity, team and company management as well as overall employee engagement.
In order to get you to enjoy all these goodies, we’ll discuss what makes good evaluations, what you can get from them and how to use computer tracking software to help you in the process.
What Makes a Good Evaluation?
As a manager or HR, you might believe that providing evaluation and one-on-one feedback on a yearly basis is enough to give employees some general guidelines for improvement and a couple of praises and critiques. Well, as it turns out, employees don’t necessarily agree with you.
Last year’s research commissioned by Reflektive found that more than 50% of office workers want their performance feedback at least once a month and as much as 94% of them would like to be given comments and guidelines in real time.
So the first factor you need to consider in planning the evaluation process in frequency. The more frequent, the better! Maybe weekly evaluations aren’t feasible for you, especially if you have a lot of employees, but carrying them out on a monthly basis will give you the opportunity to make them more relevant, even if you decide to make them shorter.
Next, they need to be specific, honest and objective. Handing out generic ‘Good job’ or ‘Needs more work on productivity’ reports isn’t going to help anyone. Your feedback needs to be based on specific data and observations for each employee. ‘The outreach you did for XYZ marketing campaign really made a difference for our client’ sounds a lot better than ‘satisfactory performance’, doesn’t it?
You also need to be honest and objective. Don’t resort to all praise for fear of hurting employees’ feelings, but don’t crush their will to live either. In other words, always be polite and understanding.
Another important thing is letting employees provide their side of things. Maybe their performance was off this week because of family issues or they lost that client because they got insulted by him. Not everything is in data and numbers, so always allow for elaborations.
And one more thing, when conducting evaluations, have progress in mind instead of dwelling on the past and hanging onto every tiny number. After all, the point of performance evaluations is future improvement, not shaming employees for every mistake.
The last thing we need to answer is how to make employee evaluations objective. While you can use a variety of methods, such as peer surveys, supervisor observations, client reviews and revenue reports, the most detailed and objective form of performance estimation is using productivity tracking software.
How to Turn Employee Tracking Data Into Basis for Evaluation
Provided that you implement an employee tracking app right, with consideration to employees and a solid and fair monitoring policy in place, you can have abundant data you can use as a basis for objective feedback and suggestions for improvement.
First of all, tracking productivity gives you an idea of how much time is wasted or used productively. While you shouldn’t expect productive apps and websites to account for 100% of anybody’s time, looking at productivity trends within your activity tracking software can tell you whether each employee is improving and by how much.
You can also use time tracking for productivity boost. Use the software to track time spent on projects and see who is capable of more serious work and who needs some time management training. These are some great points to include in your feedback.
Now, tracking employee productivity is a good start, but that’s not all employee activity tracker is capable of. You can also use it to keep an accurate record of attendance and overtime. Employee evaluations are a good time to draw attention if you notice that someone is constantly late or praise (and pay) if someone is working overtime.
Finally, performance feedback is all about improvement, right? This means discovering areas that your employees need support with. Employee work monitoring software can help you figure out which apps, platforms and tasks employees are struggling with (hint: typically they’ll spend an abnormal amount of time on these). From there, it’s up to you. Are you going to assign one of your senior staffers to supervise them or are you going to enroll them into an online course? Your monthly evaluation is a perfect time to discuss this and present your plan to the employee.
What Can You Get From This?
Evaluations can be highly beneficial to employees if done right. Getting regular praise and suggestions for improvement can positively affect their motivation. They’ll be more motivated to keep up the good work or improve their performance if they get individual feedback on a regular basis. This will significantly improve their productivity too.
Evaluations are also your roadmap to future progress. Going about them seriously will give you not only ideas on how each employee can improve, but how your entire organization can be more effective and better managed.
Rewarding high-achievers is both a way to motivate them to be even better and a way to strengthen your employee retention strategy.
And lastly, regular one-on-one sessions with personalized and detailed feedback will give your employees a clear indication that you value them and see them as individuals. This is another factor that is sure to make them care about the job more and, consequently, give their best.
Conducting frequent, objective and customized evaluations aimed to drive future improvements in employee performance is a powerful strategy for increased productivity and optimized organization. Using work tracking software can help with data collection, but what you do with them will be up to you. Make sure you use evaluations to make your employees more productive professionals and your company a better place to work in, and who knows? Maybe it will turn out to be a magical time after all.