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Issue: 68 - Aug 15, 2014
Evals Gone Wild!
By: Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR
interFace Veterinary HR System

When you were first introduced to your current performance evaluation system (PES), you had high hopes!  The evaluation seemed fair, was a reasonable length, and had a manageable outcome. However, over the years you’ve known each other, your PES has taken on a life of its own. It hides around corners to pop out and scare you, when you remember, again, that you are late getting them done. PES sits on your shoulder whispering in your ear, saying “are you so sure that this low mark isn’t because you don’t LIKE so-and-so?” You are not its only victim, of course; it haunts and torments your team members all year long. This miss having PES when they want something in return (whether this is a raise, new position, or just some feedback), but fear PES when it’s been a bad day, or week, or month…depending on when the evaluation is due, and when it is done. 

But have you ever stepped back to see if your PES is achieving what a PES should achieve? Just like anything else, if you want to change a process that affects your team members, you need to get their buy-in, which means you need to get their input. Here is a sample of how to evaluate an evaluation with an “Evaluate the Evaluation System” survey!

It is very important that ABC's performance evaluation system achieve the following goals.  Your feedback will help us know if we are achieving our goals from the employee's perspective.

(Draw a circle around the number on this 5-point scale indicating the degree to which the evaluation system meets the particular goal.)

GOAL:                      1                2                  3          4          5

Always                            Occasionally         Never

 

  1. Increase employee's understanding of job role and employer's expectations……………………………………

 

  1. Improve employee morale………………………………….

 

  1. Uphold professional standards……………………………..

 

  1. Increase employee's self-awareness of job performance…...

 

  1. Maintain discipline…………………………………………

 

  1. Reward superior performance……………………………...

 

  1. Reinforce boss-employee relationship……………………..

 

  1. Improve employee performance skills……………………..

 

  1. Weed out inferior employees……………………………….

 

  1. Increase employee's self-confidence and self-esteem……...

 

  1. Inform supervisors/upper management of employee's performance………………………………………………...

 

  1. Provide basis for awards and/or promotions……………….

 

  1. Improve supervisor-employee relationship………………...

 

  1. Provide basis for changing financial compensation………..

 

  1. Other:__________________________________________

 

Thank You for your opinion!

A survey such as “Evaluate the Evaluation” fulfills a number of goals: 

Educate

Not everybody understands the importance of an evaluation…perhaps not the person receiving the evaluation, and, sometimes, not even the person who is writing the evaluation! By the sheer act of completing this survey, the team member learns what an evaluation is SUPPOSED to do, for them personally, and as part of a larger team. If you simply ask a team member if they agree with your current PES, they may not even know how they should be analyzing the system to be able to answer that question. This survey gives them that education as you collect their feedback.

Empower

Wherever there is change, there also needs to be the “buy-in” from the team FOR that change. By asking your team members to participate in this survey, you are giving them that voice that they want to be heard so badly. You consider their feelings, their thoughts, in this process of reviewing a system that intimately affects them once a year…at least…we hope, that often.

Inspire           

After completing this survey, your team members will believe that things CAN change. The evaluation meetings they dreaded may not be so bad after all, if we all understand what the evaluation is supposed to do, and we all determine if the current PES fulfills that expectation. Where they is change, there also needs to be hope…a hope that things can get better.

This survey can be used at the beginning, or at the end. In other words, you can start with this survey before you even contemplate what type of evaluation you would switch to, if indeed it turns out that you need to switch. It also works at the end, when you already KNOW you want to change the PES, and what new PES you want to implement. The team doesn’t need to know that YOU already feel the evaluation system is lacking, and you just need the rest of the team to discover why and join forces with you.

One last comment about evaluations…managers are not typically thrilled with doing evaluations. It’s hard to make time, it’s difficult to stay on schedule, there is feedback to gather, personnel records to be reviewed, some type of form to complete, not to mention the actual meeting with and presenting the outcome to the team member. However, keep in mind that an employee typically puts in at least 2000 hours of work during a calendar year. Does that employee then deserve to get two to three hours of your time once a year for a performance evaluation?  I thought so.