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#1 – You Realize Your Organization’s Main Goals Are Not Getting Accomplished

Typical business owners wake up at 2:00 a.m. — feeling they just can’t accurately measure the pulse of their business. What a hopeless feeling! What generally happens is they fall back to sleep only to wake up at 5:00 a.m. grab coffee and head on into the office… —  to do what? More likely than not, — put out fires!

So, why have an evaluation system? With a correctly set up system, you align the company goals with the employee work requirements, which can be measured: daily, weekly, and monthly. Measurements cut through the murky subjective communication between a manager and his/her direct reports. With a measurement system in place, corrections can be made quickly (and with agreed-upon language) between supervisor and subordinate so that there is no ambiguity.

We all know the old business maxim, “Anything that is measured and watched is improved,” so let’s do it. If you have the “right people” working in the “right way,” they’ll want measurements! The right people want clarity, they want their results measured, and they appreciate knowing daily, weekly, and monthly how they are doing toward achieving the company goals. Let’s give these people what they want.

When Rudolph Giuliani became mayor of New York City, in his book Leadership he says one of the first things he did was let everyone reporting to him know they were: “accountable, all of the time”. If the mayor of the largest city in the United States can hold all his people accountable, shouldn’t you as a business owner do the same? Just maybe tonight you won’t wake up at 2:00 worrying about the future of your business.

#2 – You Realize Your Organization Is Not Getting Maximum Performance From Your Millennials, GenXers, and Baby Boomers

When evaluating the three generations of workers, you’ll likely notice a couple of common themes. One: the old multiple-page form with many check-the-box measurements does not work anymore. This form, which most of the time was filled out to satisfy HR requirements rather than to get maximum performance from employees, needs to be replaced. You will find employees of all ages (at least the good ones) want be measured by objective criteria. All the generations want feedback!  The Millennials want performance reviews multiple times a year, sometimes just by email or text. The GenXers want to receive feedback mainly via email, text or voice mail. Baby Boomers like a face-to-face sit-down meeting.

The second theme that rings true through the generations concerning their evaluations is the need for clearly established goals and the measurable action steps to reach those goals. The Millennials want to know how their goals help the company advance and how the company advancement helps the general population. The GenXers want to know the established goals to help them get the next promotion or raise. The Baby Boomers are very clear-cut when it comes to goals and measurements. Most embrace the measurements system and they want to meet or exceed expectations. Some believe their tenure is enough for them to keep their job, and with them you need to have the discussion regarding what is acceptable performance.

In his book Winning, Jack Welch states that 70% percent of a company’s workers, — regardless of their generation — want to be evaluated. Leadership magazine reports that 1/3 of the American workforce changes jobs every 12 months. My research shows that by giving employees what they want —  evaluations — your company can get what it wants: high performers not looking to change jobs!

#3 – You Realize Your Organization Needs to Change, Yet Everyone Wants Things To Stay The Same!

Employees will almost always fear anything to do with change more than they will fear the possible disadvantages of staying the same. As the leader of your organization you realize that now a-days if you don’t create constant change or at least embrace natural evolutionary changes the competition is sure to pass you by.

How do you get your employee excited and engaged? You make the desired changes part of their evaluation system. We all know we get results from what we measure so make the changes you desire measurable. You might even get tremendous creative input after explaining the desired changes you want the company to go through and how those changes affect specific individuals. Ask those individuals what they think is the best way to measure their progress. They may come up with better measurements than you ever thought of. The added benefit is that when the employees help set the measurements and goals there’s total buy-in by them.

Employee evaluations, when done correctly, are the best time to make sure your employees know, exactly how their performance affects the overall company goals. Employees feel more of a sense of ownership of future plans and goals and will perform accordingly to ensure their long-term place in the organization.

#4 – Does your company go into a slump after evaluations are done?

Employees can go into a slump when they are evaluated using subjective criteria. Many companies use the 1 to 5 scale, some even go so far to add decimals 1.1, 2.4, 3.6 etc.…this then becomes a 1 to 50 scale. What this does is set the stage for a discussion over the number (rating) rather than performance. This always ends up a lose-lose for the manager and the subordinate. There’s actually a third “lose” here the company! Lost productive time as the employee and the manager both go back to their respective office spaces and put work aside while they discuss with anyone that will listen how unreasonable the company/employee.

Employee evaluations, when done correctly, are the best time to make sure your employees know — based on objective criteria — what level of minimal performance is acceptable and what is considered outstanding.  It’s during these discussions with employees that weaknesses can be identified and firm plans can be put in place for improvement.

Employers who address employee performance using measurable criteria and a 1,3,5 scale get the results they want. A 3 for acceptable performance, a 1 for unacceptable, and a 5 for outstanding. Three measurements known to all with no gray areas.   A company doing evaluations based on measurable criteria turns the employee evaluation time into a win-win.

#5 – Do some of your employees have weaknesses they aren’t fixing on their own?

Employee evaluations, when done correctly, are the best time to make sure your employees know — based on objective criteria — what level of minimal performance is acceptable and what is considered outstanding.  It’s during these discussions with employees that weaknesses can be identified and firm plans can be put in place for improvement.

Plans for improvement can be a variety of things: establishing mentor relationships, signing up for a class that needs to be taken, or resource tools being made available. The plan, once decided upon, can then be given check points for successful completion.

Employers who address employee weaknesses and put firm plans in place to help an employee increase or improve his or her skills are the type of employers everyone wants to work for!  A company helping an employee improve ultimately helps the company accomplish its goals. Hence, a win-win.

#6 – Is there a lot of anxiety and even confusion leading up to evaluations?

Employee anxiety and confusion prior to being evaluated can be extremely costly both in lost productivity and bottom-line results. When employees become stressed and worried to the point of anxiety and confusion, this is a losing proposition for both the employee and the company.

Employee evaluations, when done correctly, are the best time to make sure your employees know — based on objective criteria — what level of minimal performance is acceptable and what is considered outstanding.  Knowing what is expected and what will be measured (and how it is measured) is a proven strategy for reducing anxiety and confusion.

Will some employees still be stressed?  Maybe. Research shows that those who are the most stressed are generally the ones not performing at the acceptable level. In cases where an employee is not performing at the desired level, it’s during evaluation time that plans can be laid out with specific goals for achieving improvement.

#7 – Your Employees are not performing at the desired level

Research shows that 80% of your people are not performing at or anywhere close to their peak performance level. Why not? Many times the employee doesn’t know what the desired level of performance is. Telling a salesperson that his or her goal for the year is to do better than last year’s number is a formula for disaster. It isn’t specific, and it doesn’t contain motivation.

Employee evaluations, when done correctly, are the best time to make sure your employees know — based on objective criteria — what level of minimal performance is acceptable and what is considered outstanding.  Knowing what is being measured (and how it is measured) is a proven strategy for increasing employee dedication.

In cases where an employee is not performing at an acceptable level, it’s during evaluation time that plans can be laid out with specific goals for achieving improvement.

#8 – Is your company turnover too high?

Employees usually don’t leave companies: they leave managers. Success magazine reports that the No. 1 reason people quit their jobs is because they feel unappreciated.

If you and your employees are not communicating well, one of you (if not both of you) will become very frustrated. When arguments, disagreements or even lack of understanding of job requirements issues arise the employee is almost always the one that leaves.

In the November 2015 issue of Success magazine, they cite a figure that it can cost a company 6-15 times the employee’s salary to replace him or her.

Employee evaluations, when done correctly, are the best time to make sure your employees are on the same page (attempting to accomplish the same goals) as their managers. During the evaluation, you can celebrate the employee’s successes and lay out plans to improve those areas that have not hit goals.

When employees see and hear that their managers are serious about helping them to accomplish their goals, they feel appreciated. The last thing they want to do is leave a situation where they feel that they and their work are being valued by their boss.

#9 – Is your current evaluation system just a paper project to keep HR happy?

Many managers look at evaluations as an HR requirement, and a dreaded chore.

If this is you and/or your company, you and your company need a complete change of mindset!

An effective evaluation is an opportunity for supervisors and subordinates to sit down and go over past performance based on “measurable” goals, and lay out measurable goals for performance improvement.

To make sure you have the Right People working in the Right Way you must Measure, Measure, Measure!

Consider evaluations as a way to get really clear about what you need from your people. And look for ways to measure how well they’re doing. The more specific your expectations are, the easier it is to fulfill them. Everyone will be happier with the results!

#10 – Are you lacking a culture of accountability?

This lack of accountability generally happens when a company is growing very fast or when a company has become stuck in its ways or is stagnant. These conditions can lead to dire financial situations unless someone (management) steps forward and makes people accountable for their specific job responsibilities.

With employee evaluations based on measureable, objective criteria, you can bring accountability under control. The first item to address on the evaluation: Is the company’s primary expectation of the employee clearly defined in writing? Have both parties agreed to this expectation both verbally and in writing? The second item to address is identifying short term goals — that when accomplished show that the employee is on his or her way to meeting the primary expectation.

When the two above mentioned items are in place and have been assigned measurable criteria, this lets the employee know at any give time how he or she is performing. Consequently a culture of accountability is created!