How do employees really feel about Performance Evaluation?
Prime the pump
August 29, 2023

How do employees really feel about Performance Evaluation?

For many employees in lead positions, annual performance evaluation is considered one of their least favourite times of the year.

Most lead workers do not like having “hard conversations”, especially the ones that address subpar performance with employees who are also considered friends. In many cases, the conversations are delayed for as long as possible and in some cases they never happen. After all, everybody likes to be the one to deliver good news but few lead workers are comfortable telling someone that they are found wanting.

I know of people who, instead of having a direct conversation with their direct reports, would make general statements in front of a group of people hoping that the person that the message is intended to, will get it. Others write to everyone in the department so as not to offend the person who really should be written to.

Recently, I had a conversation with someone about the circumstances surrounding a reprimand and he started the conversation by saying, “Well, this is really a case where Peter pays for Paul and Paul pays for all.” It is fair to say that lead workers are sometimes just as uncomfortable managing employees’ performance, as direct reports are uncomfortable receiving a reprimand.

A couple weeks ago, I began sharing the employees’ perspective on issues that they want heard and understood. Since the beginning of the series, we have covered “On change” and “On Recognition”. This series was inspired by the book “walk awhile in my shoes” real-world, gut-level message from employees to managers and from managers to employees, written by Eric Harvey and Steve Ventura. In the series, I am the voice of the employees and today, we are looking at the employees’ perspective on Performance Evaluation.

Believe it or not, we look forward to performance evaluations because in many cases they are the only times that we get detailed feedback, and in some cases, any feedback about how we are doing. When the feedback is constructive and positive, it gives us a boost, at least for a couple weeks. When it is negative, we are left feeling dejected and usually ask ourselves why we had to wait until the end of the year to find out that our performance was not up to standard.

We get nervous as the conversation day approaches because the evaluation is based on your opinion of us and that is subjective. We worry that the evaluation will be based on an isolated incident that happened at the beginning of the year or at the end of the year and it concerns us that you do not consider our input when determining your final scores.

We understand that performance evaluations may not be something you enjoy doing but they are important to us. In some cases, our bonuses, salary adjustment and promotion are dependent on how you rate us, so we beg you please not to just remember what happened last week but to consider the year’s performance. It would mean a lot to us if you were to have informal conversations periodically throughout the year instead of just one formal conversation at the end of the year. This will help to keep our performance on track and avoid any surprises on the day of the formal evaluation.

As you can see, you are not the only one that has strong feelings about performance evaluations, try walking awhile in our shoes.

If you are interested in the managers perspective on “walk awhile in my shoes” gut-level, real-world messages to employees, you can listen to them on my YouTube channel karenhearttalk.


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