Imagine bowling with your boss… You throw the ball down the lane, but your boss has a sheet between you and the pins. You hear something happening, lots of noise, but no idea of what actually happened. How many pins are left standing? Where are they? Was that perhaps a gutter ball? You then ask how you are doing and the response is, “don’t worry about it, I will tell you at the end of the year.”
Imagine this happening every day or every week…. Would you be motivated to continue striving to improve? Would you even keep bowling?
This is a common scenario with employee evaluations every day! Employees don’t know where they stand and they do not get clarity of what is working and what is not. Although the example given may seem silly, in the real world it can actually be very cruel. Evaluations can be approached many different ways. However, as with most things in life, it is not what we do, but how we do it. If they are cruel, you will not get the results you are looking for.
None of these comments demonstrates a situation that you would want in an organization. This lack of clarity is like driving in fog. There is much energy spent worrying and little invested in the actual plan to safely go in the right direction. Progress is slow and there is minimal coordination of planning and improvement between leaders and employees.
What is surprising is how often discussions in the form of evaluations are avoided. Doing these evaluations sooner ensures no surprises and often serves to keep everyone on the same page and communicating honestly.
Further adding to cruelty is that not giving feedback may lead to decreased capability over time. Even if the employee maintains their capability, the environment around them changes and then they find out some time later that they are no longer valuable in the workplace. If this happens frequently enough in an organization, it will find difficulty competing effectively within their industry.
Doing evaluations the wrong way will harm relationships and results. Instead of employees being empowered and clear on the actions they need to take to progress, the relationship is set back. There is no open communication, employees feel judged. Most “A” and “B” players will actually look for an organization that will not throw rocks, but instead will assist them with a clear career path.
When we ask employees if they would like some feedback on how they are doing, we rarely hear “no”. If we do, it is typically someone close to retirement that is biding their time and does not want change. Or, it is someone afraid of the answer.
The typical response is “Yes! I would love to get feedback and know that my boss and I are on the same page. I would like to know how I can learn and grow with the company.”
We find that great evaluations have these elements in common:
Great evaluations can be a rare commodity. If you are struggling with giving great evaluations and do not feel like the exchange between you and your employees is where it should be or if you want to upgrade your process, contact Candace at 1-800-786-4332 or email her at CClemmer@AppliedVisionWorks.com.
For more on how evaluations provide clarity, click here to watch our video.