The last phase of the performance management cycle is delivering a performance evaluation. The best managers use performance evaluations as a means for communicating with their employees and strengthening their relationship. The goals for a performance evaluation should include:
- A review of feedback provided throughout the year
- Highlights of areas of excellence and opportunity
- Time for the employee to share their perspective on their performance
- Discussion of what an employee needs to be successful
In the Office of Student Life, performance evaluations should reiterate both areas of excellence and opportunity. This is feedback an employee should be receiving throughout the year and not just as the performance management cycle concludes. Keep in mind, feedback delivered in a performance evaluation should not be a surprise unless it is a recent problem or concern.
Many supervisors and employees use performance evaluations as a time to set the stage for the upcoming year and reiterate organization goals. It is a great time to talk about how a role contributes to the unit or organization.
A performance evaluation is a two-way conversation and needs to offer the employee an opportunity to share their perspective. This should include achievements made, talents used in new and different ways, feedback capitalized on throughout the year as well as challenges faced, regardless of whether or not they have been overcome.
It is natural for supervisors and employees to have anxiety due to their anticipation of this conversation. This anxiety is the reason it is important to prepare thoughtfully and set the stage for this conversation. Supervisors and employees should provide ample time to prepare for the evaluative conversation. Utilize these performance evaluation resources to ensure you are ready for a performance evaluation conversation.
Preparing for Evaluative Conversations
While delivering a performance conversation can be challenging, ensuring you have done all you can to prepare yourself and your employee will make this a little easier.
As you prepare, review job descriptions, employee goals and determine the areas of excellence and opportunity. Regardless of similar job descriptions, each employees' evaluation should be different and thus, the conversation will differ as well.
Preparing the employee for this conversation is equally important. Think back to the initial performance planning conversation and the importance of why - As the evaluation approaches, be sure to convey why performance management is valuable to the individual, team and organization.
Tools and resources, such as the Student Life Employee Self-Assessment below, are helpful in preparing for an evaluative conversation as they allow the employee to reflect on their performance. If past conversations have been a struggle or one-sided, the sample conversation starters below can be used to engage an employee.
While it is not easy, difficult conversations are a reality of performance management and employee supervision. Often, difficult conversations are viewed as an instance in time. Instead, both supervisors and employees need to see these conversations as a function of the relationship they have built.
The Office of Student Life Human Resources offers upon request instructor-led training aimed at providing managers and employees with the skills they need to make having a difficult conversation easier. Additionally, the Office of Human Resources provides trainings to practice these types of conversations in a safe environment.
Common Mistakes of Performance Evaluations
This document outlines common mistakes made by managers and supervisors in conducting performance evaluations.
Employee Self-Evaluation (accessible)
The Student Life Employee Self-Assessment is a document managers should provide to their employees when preparing for a performance evaluation. It is intended to be utilized by the employee as a means for reflecting on their performance throughout the past year.
Employee Self-Evaluation (Word)
A Word version of the updated Student Life employee self-evaluation.
Sample Conversation Starters
This document provides managers and supervisors will examples of ways to start a performance evaluation conversation.