Evaluation & Assessment- Have You Pulled Back the Curtain to Reveal Your Expectations?

CurtainWhen it comes to board processes, a critical yet often overlooked process is employee evaluation. Most people refer to behavioral traits when evaluating an employee, are they on time, is their work done timely, is their work error-free? While these are necessary parts of an evaluation, they are just that, a part of the evaluation- not the whole. Employees should be evaluated annually in a formal process but they also should be continuously assessed to encourage peak performance.

This leads to measuring peak performance. Do you really know what you expect or are you often disappointed by actions. There are so many moving parts to understanding and defining expectations. I have divided them into four areas: Empowerment, Culture, Performance and then finally Behaviors. Often employees do not act the way we think they should because they are simply not empowered to be peak performers. This is where systems play a critical role in the organizational performance as a whole.  You empower employees, not by giving them free reign to do whatever they judge appropriate, but by having systems in place that define their power. Every job/position should have a corresponding policy and procedures manual that defines what the employee has authority to do and how that authority corresponds to the mission of the organization.

Your employees should also be assessed by their contribution to the culture of the organization. Have you defined or created what a successful employee looks like in context to your organization? This profile should also be used during the interview process, looking for fit within the organization. Is innovation important or customer service. Define what your customer service standard is and ensure your employees know it and then reward it as well as document activities where the employee has demonstrated the standard. Perhaps one of the most powerful tools an association can put to work is an Organizational Cultural Statement which defines behaviors (such as we respect differences in other’s work styles) that are expected; prominently display it in the lobby or break room.

Next assess work quality in accordance to the strategic plan. These are very quantifiable objectives. Do your employees know how many tech support calls they should be reaching each day? Several years ago, I began tracking the tech calls of my MLS help desk. I quickly learned that one employee took significantly less calls than the other two, yet their average call time matched the others (in other words they weren’t spending more time with each customer). I realized the employee simply let the phone ring until another employee picked up. First by using the tracking, I established an average call rate and time on call. This then became the standard for performance and was reviewed both quarterly as ongoing assessment and at the employees’ annual review. Do your employees know what your strategies are and how they are directly tied to their jobs? If not, it is unlikely your employees will perform to the plan. Employees have to know what is expected of them.

Finally I assess the behavioral traits, do they show initiative, are they on time, what is their absence rate, etc. I do not use a numerical scale because it can be demeaning and not represent the true picture, especially if an employee is struggling in one area. Instead I prefer the meets or exceeds expectations, this is objective only if the expectations are defined, not a nebulous “do a good job”.


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