Take the Stress out of Performance Evaluations


It’s that time of the year again! Get ready to conduct year end performance evaluations for employees and prepare goals for your team. It can seem like a daunting task, but if you’re well prepared the process shouldn’t be tough. Performing employee evaluations aren’t always fun, however there are ways to help this meeting run smoothly.

Preparation is essential

Schedule a date well in advance so that your team can have time to draft a list of their accomplishments and future goals. Be aware of year end benchmarks. Put serious thought into how the meeting should flow. Before the meeting begins, be sure to have the proper forms and notes needed. You may need to review the previous evaluation to help jog your memory since the last discussion. Have the goal objectives ready to reference if needed and a few copies of performance evaluation form handy.


Employees may already be anxious and even a bit nervous about this meeting, so it’s important that you make it comfortable for them. Have open-ended conversations. This allows the employee to elaborate on the topic at hand instead of giving simple yes or no answers. It introduces a genuine conversation where both sides can express ideas and opinions. Remember, this evaluation is more than reading questions from a prepared list. It’s a time to get to know your team more so that they can share highlights throughout the year as well as concerns.

Be Confident

Sharing positive feedback is always easy, but what happens when you have to iron out issues and shine a light on unfavorable details? Try softening the blow with positive comments first, then share the items that need improving. Choose your words wisely; you don’t want your employee to feel attacked. Also, listen to understand, not to respond; and stick to the facts, not emotions. Having your notes prepared helps frame the conversation. Once you’ve given them a chance to respond, provide coaching tips, and work together on a resolution.

Not all employees will take negative feedback well. When this happens, listen effectively to their concerns and reassure them that you are here to help in order to reach necessary goals. Reiterate the support you’re willing to give and ensure accountability.

Honesty is key

Having a clear and honest message is essential. Being transparent concerning successes and shortcomings is necessary in the development of their performance & ultimately affects the outcome of your company. Give them the opportunity to provide solutions to issues. Being inclusive reinforces a good team environment. The review should not end until both parties are on the same page. The evaluation will be ineffective if the expectations are not clearly defined. If business goals are explicit throughout your organization, you are sure to have a successful year ahead.

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