#3 Posted: 22 Oct 2007 18:14
This is a topic that has bugged me a few times this year. I used to be among the first (or the first) to have my evaluations completed, shared with the employee, signed and turned in; now I'm among the last. Even when I remind myself that this is something that employees are OWED. Growing pains is my excuse, I hope, but there isn't room for one. And there isn't room for not having something to start with and supplying something the employee would find meaningful enough to use to their own advantage.
Askellaway, you help me to respond to this with the points you list out.
When it comes to the attitudinal, that is about having the right teamwork spirit and the right demeanor with people. This covers a lot of examples a reviewer can look at over time, and this as well as any topic should be jotted down (or printed out) and stuffed in the file "in the moment" so that there is worthwhile criteria to look at weeks and months down the road. things like staying late, switching shifts with someone agreeably, picking up someone else's work, taking time to show someone something, calling in on a sick day or vacation day to make sure someone is doing OK without them, and being rated while by others who interact with the person are all things that count in this area. These are the things that make working with others liveable.
Setting service level and how to meet the standards is going to depend on each organization, but the "consistently" part is definitely a place to begin to grade this. Sometimes there are individuals who are excellent at certain specific things but are not very good at providing things that others provide consistently (the "smaller deeds" over a longer period of time can go a long way toward overall success, while brief triumphs over the areas that require more ingenuity do not necessarily stand out per se for very long, unfortunately).
Personal goals can be specific things that need improvement or that can become even better. I don't necessarily feel like I am getting better at completing reviews (ever hard on myself, as I, myself, have to receive reviews!), but one thing I have liked about the way I set them up lately--and this is good about the company where I work--is that I create 4 or 5 major blocks to look at, and the final block is personal development, and this is an area where the employee is to supply their own desired topic to be reviewed, with some prompting from me (obviously, the more insight into what makes the person tick, the easier it will be to stir their imagination and to find ideas to pour into something "yucky" by supplying a few ideas for the employee to consider). It will depend on many things, but I have not a hard time finding contents for personal development that speaks to business objectives or productivity geared toward success in some way or other.
A further point about the "attitudinal" comes to mind, now that I have been expanding on the personal development rubric: I actually bake into employee reviews a thing I call "team investment" and I identify a few things that fall under that principle. And they all have to do with being actively aware of what others in the group need, with cross-training, with independently negotiating with teammates on when to learn other areas of the job...the benefit here is for self, for group and for client (as well as manager), because what usually results (through people empowered to show what they can do for group success without having it spoonfed and without supervisory nostrils breathing down necks) is individuals looking out for themselves (to learn more, stay interested) by looking out for others (by covering for them, being trained by them, so others can be on holiday/sick/learn new things) and in the end supplying more client coverage than would have existed without this "team investment" being part of the regular culture.
And to take a look again at the first layer of this onion, I look at what 4 or 5 things can be identified as major blocks of competence I need out of the people and, over the years, those things have changed. But the basic principles that keep coming up are Communication, Quality, Dependability, Innovation, Team Investment. At least one of those can involve volume, one for attendance and follow-through, one for efforts toward improvement in self or group, at least one for cross-training and at least one area that will motivate a person to do something more where they are, if not build toward something to come down the road. And of course it is important to somehow provide something SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound). For those who work less well with things broken down into this way of thinking (sometimes I can only live in blurry concept and lists/items do nothing for me!), and I would say for them: make sure you look at some key things a person can/should do for your organization for review time and make sure it is something you count, so that a pattern or progression is in evidence over a period of time.