How To Conduct an Effective Assessment for Employees

As a manager, you want to ensure your employees are performing to their full capabilities. To keep your team on track and ensure they hit business goals, you can conduct an assessment for employees that measures their abilities and areas for improvement. These assessments can also benefit your organization as a whole because they provide an opportunity to motivate employees and develop the relevant skills or behaviors that create success. In this article, we discuss employee assessments and their benefits, along with providing steps you can take to conduct effective evaluations.

Benefits of employee assessments

Performing assessments can provide a variety of benefits to your employees and organization as a whole, including:

Develop consistent standards

When you implement an assessment strategy, you must develop the standard performance metrics used to evaluate employees. These standards clarify your expectations, which ensures employees understand how they must perform their work to serve the organization effectively. As a result, you may see higher quality work because employees have clear standards to achieve.

Aids decisions on promotions

Typically, organizations use formal, annual assessments to determine whether the employee should receive a promotion or raise. If an employee consistently scores highly on performance assessments and exceeds the expectations of the role, it provides strong evidence and support for your decision to reward them.

Determine employees needs

Through regular assessments, you learn what your employees need to fulfill their job responsibilities and develop their skills. These insights enable you to make decisions on specific types of training to implement or resources you may need to provide. When you give employees the proper tools, you strengthen the team and make it easier to achieve your business goals.

Increase employee motivation

Through the employee assessment process, you provide feedback on their performance and set up specific goals for them. When employees receive positive feedback and see themselves making progress on goals, it encourages them to keep working hard performing well.

Reduce turnover

Assessments can help improve employee retention because they provide opportunities for you to build stronger relationships with staff. By meeting regularly, you gain a clear understanding of your employees and their abilities. These meetings also make employees feel heard, whether they have the freedom to express concerns or receive celebration for their actions—and, as a result of that, they feel more valued at work and less likely to leave.

What is an assessment for employees?

Employee assessments are reviews conducted by managers or supervisors to assess employees work performance. The schedule can vary, but many organizations choose to perform them at least once a year. Aside from evaluating performance, these assessments can clarify the expectations of employees roles and determine whether they should receive a raise or promotion, for example.

How to conduct an employee assessment

You can use the following steps to manage a productive and efficient assessment of employees:

1. Use specific metrics

When conducting employee assessments, decide what metrics you will use to determine your evaluation. One helpful technique is to use a numbering scale to judge their performance on each metric, such as from one to five, with five representing excellent performance. Here are some examples of performance areas you may want to measure:

Based on the employees roles, you can develop specific metrics within those general areas. If available, job descriptions can help you determine which skills or behaviors to focus on, as those are likely the priorities of the role. Once you decide what to measure, you can create an employee assessment form that you will fill out and discuss during the meeting.

2. Prepare for the meeting

In the time leading up to an employee assessment, you need to document your thoughts on their performance. You can fill out an assessment form, but try to take notes as well to ensure you do not miss any feedback not included in the metrics. The assessment form will serve as a framework for your conversation and represents the main points that will keep you on track. If you need to deliver difficult feedback, try to practice beforehand to ensure you feel comfortable and present it in a constructive rather than critical way.

3. Have a conversation

Format your meeting as a two-way conversation, rather than a situation where you list off feedback while the employee listens. One way to help the employee prepare to discuss their performance is to provide them a self-assessment that matches your assessment form. During the meeting, you and the employee can review each metric and discuss your thoughts on their performance. Doing this can help you better understand one another while determining how to work together and provide support moving forward.

Some employees may feel less comfortable speaking about themselves, so you can try to engage them through questions, such as:

4. Provide direct and concise feedback

When you provide feedback, be honest and specific. Such feedback ensures that the employee leaves the meeting without confusion about your expectations or thoughts on their performance. If they received a low score on a particular metric, such as communication, be transparent about the issue and provide examples that support your scoring.

For example, they might not have responded to a series of emails or waited until the last minute to tell you they were having an issue meeting a deadline. Provide clear instructions or recommendations on how they can improve these trouble areas.

5. Set specific goals

At the end of the meeting, look toward the future and ask about your employees goals or how they would like to improve. You can then discuss how you or the organization can support them, such as providing relevant training or tools to help them boost their skills or productivity. Be sure to listen to the employees ideas or recommendations—they perform the job daily, so they likely have specific suggestions on how to improve their usual processes.

Work with the employee to set goals and clarify expectations about the job. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based—or SMART goals. These goals ensure the employee clearly understands what they need to achieve and enable you to track their progress.

6. Schedule regular assessments

While many organizations conduct annual employee assessments, consider implementing multiple evaluations throughout the year. These sessions can be more informal, occurring weekly, monthly or quarterly—choose whichever review period works best for your business and schedule.

More frequent assessments enable you to track goal progress easily and provide feedback as issues arise, rather than having to wait until the formal assessment meeting. Employees also get more comfortable receiving feedback about themselves and discussing their performance, alleviating some of the pressure associated with an annual review.

Tips for employee assessments

You can use the following advice to optimize your employee assessment process:

Share your evaluation form with employees

Provide documentation of the feedback you provided during the meeting so employees can reference it when needed. Employees refer to a copy of your form or other documentation to remind themselves of the areas they need to improve. Then they can track their progress and provide updates the next time you meet for an assessment.

Take notes regularly

Do not rely solely on an evaluation form—try to take notes as often as an opportunity for feedback arises. Record positive events, such as an accomplishment, and incidents that demonstrate an employee needs improvement. You do not need to wait until the assessment to provide feedback on these events, but documenting them in an employee file can ensure you do not forget to raise them during the meeting.

Evaluate employees performance, not their personality

When you notice areas for improvement, focus on employees actions rather than mentioning personal traits that might make them defensive. For example, you would not want to say you believe an employee is inconsiderate. But when providing feedback, you can mention a time when they interrupted a colleague to demonstrate their need to improve how they collaborate with others. Try to frame such feedback in a positive manner that shows them you want them to succeed.

Avoid comparing your employees

When performing assessments, your focus should remain on the individual and how their performance measures against your established standards. Avoid mentioning other employees who may be performing better overall or in certain areas, as this can create competition or hurt relationships on the team. Providing your full attention to individuals during the assessment conversation also ensures they feel appreciated by you.

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