Tips For Effective Employee Evaluations

December 13th, 2012

With workforces being slimmed down and many retained employees on edge in a challenging economy, effective employee evaluations may be more important now than ever. 

No ringing phones, texting or other disruptions. No boss in big chair behind the desk and employee in straight-backed chair on the other side, says Bruce Lawson, president and CEO of Fox Lawson & Associates.

“Try to make the setting as comfortable as possible,” he advises. “Open communication promotes stronger bonds.”

However, before ever sitting down, do the advance work. Does your company want to have employee evaluations? If so, will they be primarily for giving out raises? Discipline? Or is it just be an opportunity to chat with an employee?

Whatever the purpose, a process and documents must be well thought out in advance. If you’re interested in judging customer relations, maybe you offer customers a chance to comment on an employee. If you’re disciplining, be sure to define the standards and the criteria to meet those standards. Without backup material employers can be legally vulnerable, Lawson points out.

“We recommend the 360 evaluation,” Lawson says. “We recommend you get input from all perspectives, not just the top – above, below and side.”

  • DO figure out how you’ll measure quality, quantity, customer service.
  • DO figure out how you’ll gain information on performance.
  • DO have an employee chat quarterly between formal yearly evaluations. “Employees then know where they stand at all times,” Lawson says.
  • DON’T just read the evaluation, get it signed, and say thanks. “It’s counterproductive down the road if you don’t have a conversation” Lawson says.
  • DON’T set unrealistic goals.
  • DON’T go into an evaluation with a bias as to the outcome without documentation.


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Fox, Lawson & Associates, LLC

This article, written by Christia Gibbons, is part of the Chamber's monthly Business Driver email newsletter. To sign up for any or all of the Chamber's email communications, click here. Image courtesy of digitalart /

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