Did a manager ask you to develop a performance evaluation process from scratch? Or maybe you would like to update your existing process to fit the company’s new vision.
This task might seem daunting, but by tackling a project like this one step at a time, you will be able to implement it with great success!
First thing’s first. You have to be sure that you understand a few critical things: your company’s needs in terms of performance evaluation, who you will choose as your collaborators for this project, the estimated deadlines, the tools used by competitors, the content used for meetings, then test them, deploy them, manage them and keep a record of them.
Analyze the past to plan for the future
Take a closer look at the existing employee evaluation process. If there isn’t one, consider how you keep employees productive and motivated. As yourself a few questions:
- How often do you meet?
- Who is in charge of the performance evaluation process?
- Who meets with the employees?
- What happens during these meetings?
- What is the goal of the evaluations?
- Is performance directly linked to remuneration?
- How is your employee evaluation process different from that of your competitors?
Now do the same exercise for your ideal situation. What would be the perfect answer to all of these questions?
Identify key players and set a timeline
Advice of the day: don’t commit do completing this project on your own. You can, of course, lead the project but you will need the help of collaborators: directors, managers, and employees.
Target people who can help you through each step of the process. Focus on collaborators who have different interests and backgrounds so you can gain a broader view of your organization’s reality.
Set a realistic timeline for yourself, but also for the other team members who will be helping you. Ask everyone involved to approve your timeline before getting started. They may have time constraints that you don’t know about.
Use your competitors as inspiration, but don’t copy them
It’s easy to use other organizations’ performance evaluation template or criteria as examples to follow when you’re creating your own. However, in doing so, you risk developing a process that isn’t tailored to your organization or its mission. It’s a great idea to stay abreast of what your competitors are doing in your industry, without imitating them.
Here are some simple ways of staying up-to-date with regards to performance evaluations:
- Contact the human resources departments at various companies that inspire you. Ask if someone from the company could meet with you so you can better understand and analyze their evaluation processes.
- Read books about human resources or management techniques like How Google Works, Radical Candoror Management 3.0.
- Subscribe to online news columnists who cover topics related to your industry, like Olivier Schmouker from Les Affaires.
- This may seem obvious, but even a good old-fashioned Google search could help you find some innovative ideas.
You just have to be sure that the method you choose is consistent with the mission and values you’ve identified. You can always change and adapt some concepts to fit your specific needs and reality.
Define your ideal evaluation process and its contents
In order to choose the approach and content for your evaluation process, schedule a meeting with your project team. If you involve the employees in the creation process, they’ll adapt more easily to change. You need to hear about their on-the-ground experiences and realities to get this type of project up and running.
To learn about these experiences, you can send out a survey to your employees about what they would like their performance evaluations to include.
Then, you can hold a brainstorming session with your organizing committee to decide on the content.
We suggest reading this detailed article on the best criteria to use when evaluating employees for inspiration.
Spread the news about the new evaluation process
Before implementing your new initiative, make sure you clearly explain to employees what it entails.
Here are some ideas on how to communicate its contents to employees:
- Why the organization has chosen to implement or improve these meetings and what management hopes to achieve with them
- What the content will be and the types of criteria
- The frequency of meetings
- Who will be in charge of meeting with employees: the immediate supervisor, management or HR
- How the company plans to follow-up on the evaluations
- A resource person that employees can contact if they have questions about the process, who is on the organizing committee and how they can be reached
In an ideal world, you would meet all employees at the same time and make your announcement, then ask managers to gather their teams to give them more details about the meetings.
Information about the employee recognition process should be accessible for employees on the company’s intranet, in your virtual employee manual or on an internal bulletin board. Staff members must have free, easy access to information about the process.
Deploy, test and oversee change
If your company has a large number of employees, you can start out with a pilot project and test your ideas on a small group of employees.
One thing that you can’t overlook is training your managers. They will be responsible for disseminating the information to employees during the meetings.
Are your managers able to handle difficult conversations? Have they demonstrated courage in their position? Do you they know how to give feedback and set their employees on the right path?
If you don’t feel comfortable coaching managers on these kinds of topics, feel free to ask for outside help.
Ask your employees what they like about the new evaluation process, as well as what they feel could be improved. Be ready to manage their expectations and remain available to answer their questions. Afterwards, you can easily adapt your performance evaluations accordingly.
Review and follow-up
Meet with the team that managed the project and perform a feedback exercise to analyze the project’s progress after gathering the comments you got from the employees. You should also ask for management’s opinion: Were the desired results achieved? Are they happy with the process you implemented? What would they have done differently?
Conducting a follow-up on whether objectives were attained is a step that is often neglected. And yet, it will guarantee the success of your initiative. Make sure that managers use the data you collected during their meetings to plan future evaluations.
A good way to keep track of discussions that take place is to write them down in a place that is accessible to everyone, preferably online.
Keep a written record of each meeting
Don’t forget to keep track of the information that was discussed at your meetings. There is HR management software that allows you to view your data whenever you like. This type of tool is even more useful when employees change managers.
If the evaluators find it tedious to record everything that was said during the meetings, you can use other methods.
Some companies prefer to take notes by hand to maintain a more personal and informal atmosphere with the employee. This is definitely a more pleasant option than using a computer (which does hinder the human connection).
To keep track of your notes, you can just take a picture of your handwritten notes with your cell phone and import them into the employee’s file.
This way, your managers won’t waste time having to transcribe their notes and won’t have any reason not to update an employee’s file!
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to question your process
The method you chose could work great today, but tomorrow’s reality will probably be different. Be open to modifying and adapting your evaluation process over time.
With an open mind, you will be able to keep your practices up-to-date and you will actively contribute to everyone’s career development. Don’t be afraid to try new practices, it’s better to try and fail than accept the status quo that’s been in place for ages.