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EVALUATING EMPLOYEES AND MANAGEMENT

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 21, 2014

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Two valuable forms for evaluating both management and the workers.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Employee Evaluations

It has long been customary in business to periodically evaluate employee performance, such as 30 days after hiring, or at regular intervals, such as annually or bi-annually. The purpose is to have the manager assess the employee’s strengths and weaknesses, and make recommendations for improvement. Such analysis can represent a source of consternation, particularly if it is a negative review, but the intent is to help the employee improve as a worker as opposed to assassinate his character. Reviewing an employee with malicious intent is just plain wrong, as is giving a rosy review, both are detrimental to communicating to the employee where they stand in the eyes of management and how they can improve themselves.

A variety of “Employee Evaluation Forms” have been devised over the years to document the review. We have used the same form for many years and have found it to be particularly useful (you can download it HERE). There are two ways of implementing the form; first, by having the manager prepare the form and review it with the employee. The second, it to have both the manager and employee complete separate copies of the form and compare the two. Inevitably, a disparity in the answers will emerge which will differentiate the manager’s perspective versus the employee’s. I personally prefer the latter approach and recommend it to my clients as it will cause the employee to think about the discrepancies.

I consider an “Employee Evaluation Form” an essential management tool regardless of the type or size of company, large or small. Such forms are also useful for keeping you out of employment lawsuits. If you prepare the form properly, and have the employee sign it to acknowledge its contents, the employee can never claim he/she was unaware a problem existed when terminated.

I admonish employees not to take the employee evaluation personally. Regardless of what the manager says, learn from the experience, and do not dismiss it as irrelevant. It is one of the few times you can have a heart-to-heart talk with your boss on the record.

Management Evaluations

Recognizing the benefits of the employee/manager comparison I devised a similar form to evaluate management, a “Management Evaluation Form.” If the employee is willing to succumb to a personal evaluation of his/her job performance, it seems reasonable to have the employees evaluate management thereby representing a “bottom-up” approach for evaluating a particular manager or management in general. Such a concept though is somewhat avant-garde and controversial in the world of business, but I think a good one. Not long ago, I reported on a recent Gallup study entitled, “Why Great Managers Are So Rare.” In it, Gallup found companies pick the wrong person as manager a whopping 82% of the time. So the need exists to consider the manager’s abilities.

Like the employee version, the “Management Evaluation Form” should be performed routinely, but on a confidential basis. If you ask employees to identify themselves, it is unlikely an accurate analysis will be prepared as workers will tend to flatter the boss, as opposed to criticize, in fear for their jobs. As such, it defeats the purpose of the analysis. Therefore, they should be prepared anonymously, preferably with an outsider who has no axe to grind and can guide them through the evaluation. Under no circumstances should the employees be tricked into submitting an evaluation with secret embedded codes which will reveal their identity. This violates the confidentiality and ultimately severs trust between workers and management. After the forms are summarized, they are destroyed to prevent the analysis of handwriting.

As in the employee version, the “Management Evaluation Form” is intended to provide sincere feedback to management for improving management and the work environment. It certainly should not be used as a form of payback. The form includes questions aimed at defining the manager’s style of management, his/her ability to motivate people, the corporate culture, and the manager’s ability to get things done. It considers such things as leadership, ethics, fairness, professionalism, housekeeping, personal appearance, knowledge of business and industry, and much more.

If a particular manager is being evaluated, he/she is asked to complete the form as well to define how they perceive their skills. This will be used for comparative purposes. After the forms have been completed, I summarize them and review the results with either the manager or the company management in general. Either way, the results prove to be most illuminating and causes management to rethink their policies and procedures. In some cases, it helps determine the need for additional management training. This analysis is useful for unearthing problems before they arise and provides management with an opportunity to address them. At the very least, management will understand the mood of the employees. It’s just plain good business to understand your management capabilities.

The response to the “Management Evaluation Form” has been positive. Given a good understanding of the purpose of the form and resulting analysis, this becomes as beneficial as the “Employee Evaluation Form,” maybe more so as it tends to promote trust between management and workers.

Both forms are valuable management tools for improving the corporate culture, the employee, and the manager. Again, I admonish the subject of the evaluation to take a cool and careful look at the results and try to put it in perspective. Do not get angry if the results do not turn out as you expected, as they usually do not. Instead, try to understand why the answers were different and how you can improve yourself.

If you are interested in trying the “Management Evaluation Form,” please do not hesitate to contact me for consulting.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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10 Responses to “EVALUATING EMPLOYEES AND MANAGEMENT”

  1. Dolphin, Cynthia (DOP) said

    Good morning Mr. Bryce,

    Excellent write-up on Evaluations. Thanks for Sharing.

    Cynthia Dolphin
    Pace University Alumni

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    A K.S. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma wrote…

    “Excellent article Tim. This “manager evaluation” seems to be quite a novel idea? I wonder if it will catch on? Not likely given the current state of many of our businesses however those to are in the top of the “Good to Great” list, probably had this implemented from the start. This is WHY they are great & others are not.”

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    An S.C. of Polokwane Area, South Africa wrote…

    “Some managers use this form for purposes not meant for i.e. 1. Annual salary review , increase or lack of. 2. This should only be used for performance and swot analysis with the intention to correct bad behaviour or performance. Also should be used for performance management and assessing employee training needs however often this is used very incorrectly by managers.”

    Like

  4. Tim Bryce said

    An S.W. of Seattle, Washington wrote…

    “Nice post. I believe any entrepreneur would be benefited with this post. Monitoring employee is one of the best part to get them working on a right track.”

    Like

  5. […] EVALUATING EMPLOYEES AND MANAGEMENT […]

    Like

  6. Tim Bryce said

    An H.Z. of Johannesburg, South Africa wrote…

    “Evaluation is meant to assess the workers performance against a measurement which we assume to en-grain some sort of value. The challenge, however, is that the performance standard is mostly unknown to the employees and often not trusted at all by employers. Mostly, it is viewed as a punitive double edged sabre meant to trim inefficient behaviour while it rewards inefficient employees and managers on the reverse cut. Unless the standard assessment is truly homogeneous employee evaluation just becomes a near normative exercise. In fact, assessments happening in most companies are no different from those that we see informal traders and buyers use to gauge the weight of live chicken in the market place. Lifting two chickens… One on the left and the other on the right to determine the weight of the preferred chicken does not usually result in the correct determination of the weight. Either the buyer or the seller is always left with a sour test in their mouth… ‘I have been cheated!’

    Evaluations therefore become a forced ranking order that compares employees to each other instead of measuring the actual performance value of each employee against the desired standard. Human factor therefore plays a crucial role in the outcome of the evaluations. There are a lot of environmental and personal factors that drive even the most calibrated employer to take a biased outcome towards an employee during performance evaluations.

    In Southern Africa there is also a worrying trend in which the budget of the company is determined before any performance evaluations is done leading to the apportionment of performance based bonuses on the whims of the managers. It is very normal to find the average performance of a department to be lower than that of the managers-the manager performing better while the department he or she leads is average and no one raises an ounce of shame on the evaluation process. Employees therefore do not care about the outcome of the performance measurement as they know that the results are inconsequential to their pay rise

    I therefore agree that that performance evaluation should not only be used for salary reviews but for many purposes including skills development, work climate improvement amongst others. The intent of the whole evaluation process should be clearly enunciated to employees while the actual tool should be developed with the end users input. Having said this, it is crucial to note that performance evaluation remains the most crucial tool for salary reviews as there is no other tool in my view that can used to link performance to salaries

    Spot on views Tim.”

    Like

  7. It’s only fair that employees be allowed to offer performance feedback to managers. Managers need to learn how to manage, and how are they supposed to do that if they don’t see how their management style affects their teams?

    Like

    • Tim Bryce said

      Dan – I agree, which is why I came up with the Management Evaluation Form. As Gallup points out, we do not have enough properly trained managers. There has to be a mechanism put in place to get feedback from the workers. As I wrote, at least you will understand the mood of the employees. Let me know if you want to discuss this further.
      All the Best,
      Tim Bryce

      Like

  8. […] EMPLOYEE REVIEWS […]

    Like

  9. […] Evaluate employee performance, through a standard review process. Perhaps some counseling or additional training is in order. […]

    Like

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