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How to Conduct Employee Evaluations

Bookmark and Share Employee evaluations are a way for your company to ensure employees performing their jobs properly. They also help your business succeed. Use several tips as you conduct these evaluations thoroughly and fairly.

Gather Relevant Data

Prepare an accurate picture of the employee's performance across the board and for the entire year when you gather relevant data and statistics. This data can include productivity reports, behavior logs and supervisor's reports.

Be Specific if Improvement is Needed

It's not enough to tell an employee that they need to sell more widgets, cooperate better with co-workers or take on a bigger leadership role. You also need to provide measurable suggestions and clear deadlines to help them meet their goals. Consider saying, "You need to sell 20 percent more widgets this quarter" or "I want you to lead the next monthly team meeting."

Be Honest

Sharing negative feedback can be challenging. However, it will help your employee and company grow, so strive for honesty in your evaluations, even if it's tough.

Stay Positive

Always include praise in your employee evaluation. Employees who receive positive feedback are more positive, engaged and productive as they do their job.

Ask for Employee Feedback

Use your employee evaluations to build reciprocal relationships. Ask each of your employees to share feedback on your business's performance. They may see issues you don't and will feel valued when their opinions are heard.

Consider Evaluation Manners

Because an evaluation can be stressful for you and your employees, use your manners when scheduling and conducting the evaluations.

  • Give your employee plenty of notice so they can prepare.
  • Avoid meeting at high-stress times like Monday morning or during the busy season.
  • Choose a quiet location.
  • Allow plenty of time to discuss positive and negative issues.
Prepare to Disagree

Despite clear evidence, your employees may not agree that they are falling short of expectations. Have a policy in place to handle disagreements.

  • Give the employee an opportunity to prove their side with facts.
  • Ask the employee to write down why they disagree.
  • Include this written report in the official written evaluation.
  • Plan to meet again in a few weeks if necessary to resolve the issue.
Follow Up

After the evaluation, schedule a follow up meeting. It gives you a chance to ensure the employee fixes any problems.

Write a Complete Evaluation

All employee evaluations become part of your employee's file. Be sure it's complete, detailed and easy for an outsider to read in case you must share the evaluation for legal or other reasons.

Employee evaluations help your employees and company grow. Consider implementing these tips for your next employee evaluations

No Drugs. No Alcohol. No Exceptions.

Bookmark and Share Everyone is well aware that drinking and driving is a dangerous combination, but we also need to recognize that drinking and/or using drugs in the workplace is equally hazardous. Impaired workers might not be able to concentrate on the task at hand. Depending on your job function, an error could cause injury or even death to yourself or a co-worker.

All employees need to share the responsibility of workplace safety. If you know that a co-worker is impaired on the job, then you must report his or her condition to a supervisor immediately. If you choose to close your eyes to the situation, you could be putting yourself or others at risk of an accident or injury.

Your supervisor will be able to assist the employee in finding a company-sponsored or community-based treatment plan. The critical thing to remember is that the workplace is no place for drugs and alcohol.

Key Points to Consider:
  • Difficulty in job performance can be caused by unrecognized personal problems, including addiction to alcohol or other drugs.
  • Help is always available to any employee who is struggling with substance abuse.
  • It is an employee’s responsibility to decide whether or not to seek help.
  • Addiction is both treatable and reversible.
  • An employee’s decision to seek help is private and will not be made public.
If your company offers an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) and you or a co-worker seeks help through the plan, you can be assured that:
  • Conversations with an EAP professional -- or other referral agent -- are private and will be protected.
  • All information related to performance issues will be maintained in his/her personnel file, but data relating to treatment referrals will be kept separately.
  • Information about treatment for mental illness or addiction is not a matter of public record and cannot be shared without a release signed by the employee.
  • If an employee chooses to tell co-workers about his/her private concerns, that is his/her decision.
  • When an employee tells his/her supervisor something in confidence, supervisors are required to protect that disclosure.

Benefits and Risks of Hiring Temporary Employees

Bookmark and Share As many as two million individuals look for temporary employment each day. Consider the benefits and risks of hiring temporary employees as you decide if this option is right for your company.

Benefits of Hiring Temporary Employees

Save Money

In general, temporary employees are cheaper to employ than permanent ones. That's because you won't have to pay to fingerprint and drug test them, and you are exempt from providing benefits. Over time, your company will save money when you employ temporary employees.

Quickly Fill Open Positions

Vacations, maternity or disability leaves, sudden staff departures or busy seasons can tax your workforce. In addition to overwhelmed staff, you could suffer quality control issues or safety challenges. Use temporary employees to help handle the workload and quickly fill open positions.

Part Ways Easily

Firing a permanent employee for incompetence or personality challenges takes time and requires you to follow several laws. Alternatively, you can release a temporary employee fairly easily, allowing you to continue your search for the right candidate for the position.

Fill Permanent Positions

Temporary employees can be excellent candidates for the permanent positions you need to fill. Studies show that they are reliable. They also already know the job, co-workers and procedures and can step into the job with a short adjustment period.

Risks of Hiring Temporary Employees

Training Takes Time

Unless the temporary employee has worked for you before, they will need training on company procedures and the specific job for which they are hired. This training takes time and ties up you or your key employees, which can affect a project's deadline.

Safety Concerns

Studies show that injuries rise on job sites that employ temporary employees. Despite the best training, a temporary employee might make a safety mistake that jeopardizes everyone. A supervisor will have to observe a temporary employee carefully until there is no doubt that they can perform their job with complete safety.

Decreased Morale

Temporary employees works alongside your permanent employees but do not receive the same benefits. They also may work slowly or make mistakes, which can affect production. These and other challenges can affect morale in your workforce.

Legal Recourse

A workers' status and eligibility for benefits must be monitored carefully. Be sure to treat temporary employees with the same respect you give permanent employees, too. Any discrepancies could result in legal action against your company.

Temporary employees can benefit your company, but they also carry risks. Be informed with the facts about temporary employees as you make the right choice for your company.

Complaints Should be Confidential

Bookmark and Share In a Second Circuit case, Karen Duch sued the State of New York for sexual harassment. Duch, a court officer at the Manhattan Midtown Community Court, spoke with a manager who was also an EEO liaison about ongoing harassment.

Duch told the manager, “I’m telling you as a friend;” when asked if she wanted the harassment reported, she responded “Absolutely not.” Because of this request and despite her EEO responsibilities, the manager did not report the harassment to anyone. In ruling against Duch, the court stated several conclusions that employers should consider:

When harassment comes from a co-worker, rather than a supervisor, the employer is held liable only if it fails to provide a reasonable avenue for complaint or to take appropriate remedial action about a problem they know of.

In this case, Duch had reasonable avenues of complaint, despite the fact the EEO liaison was poorly trained and failed to report her complaints to anyone. Duch acknowledged she could seek assistance from at least five different sources, in addition to the manager.

Also at issue was the question of whether her manager’s failure to react could be imputed to the company. The court reminded us this would be the case when: (a) the official is at a high enough level of management to qualify as a proxy for the company; (b) the official has a duty to act on the knowledge and stop the harassment; or (c) the official has a duty to inform the company of the harassment. The court held that in this case, the manager did not breach her duty to remedy the harassment because she honored an employee’s request to keep her complaint confidential. The court also ruled that the conduct had not reached the point that a manager simply cannot stand by, even if requested to do so by the employee.

Unfortunately for the employer, there was another higher-level executive, whose knowledge of the complaints was imputed to the employer. The court stated that when an employee’s complaint raises the specter of harassment, a supervisor’s purposeful ignorance of the nature of the problem would not shield an employer from liability under Title VII. This holds true even where the executive never learned about, and did not witness, the alleged harassment.

In light of their ruling that a jury could find that there was knowledge of the harassment when Duch requested a schedule change from another manager, a jury could also find that their response was unreasonable. A formal investigation of the complaint did not begin until three months later.

Lesson learned: Be very clear about what you want your managers to do when they suspect or know about wrongful conduct:

What should they do if they know about it but nobody complains?

What should they do if somebody complains to them, but asks them not to say anything?

What should they do when things gets so bad that they should say something despite the employee’s request?

How should they approach someone about what they might suspect is harassing conduct?

Should they say something like, “Is Bob harassing you? Should I speak to the EEO about this? If you want me to keep it confidential I’m going to write this down to protect the company and myself. If you feel you need help, bear in mind that I’ll always report it to a proper superior or you can go directly to that person without involving me if you want to.”

As always, we recommend that all HR That Works members use the Employee Compliance Survey every six months. If the company had done so in this case, it could have avoided the second-guessing and engaged in appropriate conduct. To read the case, click here.