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Three Simple Steps in Preparing to Write a Performance Review

October 12th, 2015 by Inspiring HR

Writing an employee’s performance review or an evaluation is one of the most important responsibilities for a manager. Why?

This commitment helps motivate employees, increase engagement, enhance accountability for results and support professional and career growth. However, do you find yourself to placing the task of writing an employee’s performance evaluation at the bottom of their priority list?

There are various reasons for this type of reaction:

  • The requirement to meet other departmental and/or organizational project deadlines;
  • Participation in organizational functions and/or events;
  • Conflict with training and development programs;
  • It is more important to respond to customer, client and staff needs;
  • And, the list goes on.

Some reasons may be very personal:

  • You don’t feel like you have gained enough experience writing performance evaluations, or
  • Deep down, you don’t feel confident about your writing capabilities.

In turn, you are experiencing a writer’s block and you simply do not know how to get started—this task has become very stressful and a big hassle to you. Sound familiar?

Here are three simple steps on how to prepare to write a good employee’s evaluation without any hassles. The key to writing a good employee evaluation is in the preparation and planning.

– Start with the Job Description. If there isn’t one, create one. Meet with each employee individually to review and answer questions pertaining to their job description on or near their first date of hire, transfer or promotion to your department. Make sure the employee understands his or her essential duties, job requirements and expectations in his or her role.

– Create a file for each employee that reports directly to you. This file folder is commonly called a “working file”; completely separate from a primary or main employee file. During the review period, you should document the employee’s performance. Example: If the employee exceeds expectation for a writing assignment, document this information in the employee’s working file–make sure you include the date, the project name and your evaluation rating (“good”, “excellent” or “outstanding”). If you determine areas of weakness, you should document this information as well.

– Meet and provide feedback with the employee throughout the performance evaluation period. If the performance evaluation period is initially 90 days, and then annually, you should meet with the employee routinely during these review periods to answer questions and address any concerns. As a reminder, the written evaluation is only the end of an ongoing process—not a finish line. An effective Performance Evaluation system is a constant, interactive, year long process. It is recommended that you can set regular 10 – 15 minute “Employee Development Meetings”, also known as one-to-one, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

As a manager it is your responsibility to make sure your employees are successful in their roles. Great leaders help other people succeed. You may determine in your evaluation that you can help improve an employee’s performance rating from “good” to “excellent” by providing mentoring, training and/or development. In doing so, this is a win-win situation for you, the employee, your department and the organization.

Communication and documentation throughout the employee’s performance evaluation periods, eliminates the need to rush at the last hour gathering information about your employee’s performance. Preparation throughout the year, allows you to be well organized and effective at writing a good performance evaluation. You have plenty of information to support your rating of the employee’s performance, you can determine if mentoring and training is needed, and if the employee and the job are a good fit. In other words, there are no surprises for you, the organization or the employee—it is a hassle free process!

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