5 Steps for Conducting an Effective Employee Evaluation

Employee evaluations are an essential component of good management. They help employers and team members review past challenges, celebrate accomplishments, identify goals and develop a plan for future improvements. Carried out correctly, an evaluation can motivate an employee and propel them forward on their career path, which can result in enhanced performance overall. In other words, everyone benefits. 

That being said, a poorly conducted evaluation can leave the employee feeling confused, frustrated and disengaged. To ensure that this doesn’t happen within your practice, here’s a bit of advice from our experts. 

Prepare in advance.

You’d never go into an important meeting with a client, colleague or superior unprepared. Employee evaluations are equally, if not more important to your practice’s long-term success, so you shouldn’t think of walking into one empty-handed. 

Take time in advance of your meeting to compile your thoughts and prepare your feedback ahead of time. This will ensure that everything you want to cover is included and nothing gets missed in the process. It’ll also show your employees that you value them enough to provide honest, detailed and thoughtful feedback. 

Get to the point.

Beating around the bush during an employee evaluation isn’t a productive practice for either party. You’ll fail to get your point across and your employee will not receive the feedback and coaching he or she genuinely deserves. 

To avoid this, be direct and transparent with your evaluation. Be clear about goals and expectations. Use specifics whenever possible to support your position. For instance, if you’ve given a particular employee a low mark for time management, use specific examples of missed deadlines and what the outcome was to back up your reasoning. 

Likewise, make sure all goals and objectives are clearly defined and fully understood. If there are areas where you’d like to see some improvement on behalf of your employee, be specific about what you expect, by when you expect it and what the consequences will be – good or bad – if things do or do not change for the better. This will make it much easier to measure progress.

Give them a copy.

While it’s true most employees view evaluations as an opportunity to discuss a potential increase in salary or opportunities to advance their careers, most also value honest feedback about their performance just as much. This provides a chance to hone existing skills while also pursuing and/or improving on others in the future. 

Be sure to document the details of your employee evaluation and provide a copy. Doing so will reinforce any goals or KPIs you’ve set and ensure that everyone is on the same page in terms of expectations.

Welcome their thoughts.

The best kind of feedback is reciprocal. And while it can be difficult to receive constructive criticism relating to your management style or policies, welcoming such honesty is the only way to ensure continuous process improvement within your practice. 

This is why the most successful managers approach employee evaluations as a two-way conversation. They encourage team members to share their thoughts and opinions without fear of retribution. They welcome opportunities to learn and improve on themselves and view professional growth as something to constantly strive for.

In addition to gaining insight about how you’re doing as a leader, inviting feedback from employees will also enable you to identify the challenges your team is facing and gather suggestions for how things could be done better.

Focus on the future.

Last, but certainly not least, every employee evaluation should conclude with a clear and specific plan for the future. If the employee in question is doing an amazing job and there are no complaints, career advancement might be the next step to focus on. If the team member in question happens to be struggling, he or she should walk out with a detailed strategy for getting back on track. 

By ending on a future-focused note, your employees will be more likely to leave the meeting feeling motivated, engaged and inspired, rather than criticized and discouraged. 

One final tip – there’s no hard and fast rule that says employee evaluations should only be held once a year. To the contrary, by scheduling multiple meetings throughout the year, you’ll stay much more in tune with your team and have the chance to address and correct any issues as they occur, before they have a chance to worsen. 

Your employees are the lifeblood of your clinic. Make sure you’re investing in them regularly by letting them know what they’re doing right, coaching them where they need help and inviting them to share their own thoughts and ideas. In doing so, you’ll create a much more positive, productive work environment for your team to thrive.