February, 1998 - Performance Reviews and Assessments
Performance Review and Evaluation
The beginning of a new year is often a time for reviewing the past and looking forward. In some companies (or organizations), employee performance reviews are all at once in January. In others, they are done when a person reaches some milestone (annual anniversary, semi-annually, quarterly or at project completion).
In general, managers tend to see review/evaluation periods as something they must do, rather than as something enjoyable. Employees tend to become very stressed in anticipation of learning something unpleasant or being disappointed in their manager's review of their work. If the people involved become stressed, why bother at all? Judging another person's qualities is difficult at best. Evaluating another person without a long history of working well with them means that managers must often make "guesses." Again, making this a less than ideal process.
How can managers do a better job with evaluations and how can employees do a better job of letting their managers know how they feel?
360-degree evaluation methods are gaining more attention. In 360 evaluation, people are reviewed by their manager, their peers and their employees (if any). The book, This Job Should be Fun, contains a sample Employee Evaluation of Supervisor Form, where supervisors/managers are rated on factors such as:
In addition to standard evaluation methods, an ongoing program of learning about personality traits (their own and those in their work group) helps people see themselves in different ways. For example, a highly popular tool is the Myers-Briggs model (or David Keirsey's version), which groups people into 16 categories. When used properly, this method helps people understand how they react and see themselves and others more clearly. The book, Please Understand Me, a valuable tool for the general public, can be purchased at any bookstore.
More complex tools include the Birkman method, which can be used individually or as part of a team exercise in learning how people can work well together. Talico has quite a few assessment instruments for evaluating: Leadership Effectiveness, Empowerment Management, Supervisory Aptitude and Skills, Team Member Behavior, and many more. The Johari Window is an effective tool for looking at how others view us, compared to how we view ourselves. Many companies, such as Crisp Publications, sell training programs and videos targeted toward human resources and management needs. Our Personality Game is a more complex look at personality traits, recognizing the uniqueness of individuals.
Regardless of the method) used in evaluation, the best results occur when both managers and employees feel comfortable with each other, have mutual respect and are willing to learn about each other's traits, needs and working styles.
The organizational culture plays a significant role in a person's ability to be highly productive, much more than most people are aware of. For example, a person who has spent many years in a military-style culture will often not be able to work well in an entrepreneurial environment. A person who is highly creative and needs a great of freedom in their work, will not usually be able to adjust to working in a government agency that requires very strict adherence to rules. In both situations mentioned, the employee's evaluation is likely to be less than enthusiastic if they are not conforming to the culture, even though in a healthy environment for them, they may be a shining star.
Instructions: This assessment has 2 parts:
1. Answer questions by assessing where your company (or organization) is now, using the choices following each question. The score for each answer choice follow in parentheses. Total up all your answers.
2. Answer the questions again for a company culture that lets you work at your best.
One way to use the questionnaire is to print it, then use an to show where the organization's culture is now, and a to show where you work best (or use different color marks). (Note: Some browsers will only print our web pages correctly in Landscape mode).
1. How much confidence do managers seem to have in employees?
2. Do employees feel free to talk to managers about their job?
3. Are employees ideas sought out and used, if worthy?
4. How predominant does management use: Fear, Threats, Punishment, Rewards and/or
5. Where is responsibility felt for achieving organization's goals?
6. How much communication is devoted to achieving the organization's objectives?
7. How does information flow within the company?
8. How is "top down" communication accepted?
9. How accurate is upward communication?
10. How well do managers know and really understand the problems faced by employees?
11. At what level are decisions made?
12. Where does the technical and professional knowledge used in decision-making
13. How much are employees involved in decisions related to and affecting their
14. What does the decision-making process contribute to motivation?
15. How are organizational goals established?
16. How much covert resistance to goals is present?
17. Is there an informal organization resisting the formal organization?
18. How are cost, productivity and other "control" data used?
19. How much cooperative teamwork exists?
20. Overall rating of corporate culture?
Scoring the results:
The higher the score, the healthier the organizational culture (in our opinion).
Total under 100: The company is not taking advantage of employee contributions, ideas and energy. The company may be experimenting by restructuring, down-sizing, reengineering or still trapped by overly bureaucratic procedures.
Total 101 - 200: The company is probably trying to improve communications and productivity; there may be departments and divisions that work very well and others that don't work as well.
Total 201 - 300: The company is productive and most people like working there, even though there may still be areas where things are not ideal.
If there are significant differences between your current company's culture and where you work best, you may be working in the wrong place. The greater the difference between the existing corporate culture and your ideal working situation, the less happy and productive you are. The less happy and productive you are, the more energy is wasted trying to conform to something unnatural to you or constantly feeling frustrated by fighting the culture.
If you are a manager or executive, you may want to consider how you can help people work more effectively. When people's goals are well aligned with the company's goals, jobs seem easier as well as enjoyable. The companies that have learned that lesson achieve high productivity and profitability.
Suggestions for Improving the Process (for Employees)
Page updated: May 11, 2023
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