March 2013

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Page 45 of 67

It's Time for Your... Pe r f orm ance Ev al u ation! 12 tips for transforming bad or nonexistent review processes into effective tools that help people reach their full potential. By Bobby Weber Articles in the Wall Street Journal and other publications have questioned the validity of "The Annual Performance Review." Some businesses have stopped using evaluations altogether because managers cannot see any value being added through the process. While many companies still require managers to complete yearly performance evaluations, most managers see the process as a fruitless exercise. However, performance evaluation can be a useful tool for developing great people and driving performance. The problem is that most managers approach performance evaluation from an outdated, "old world" perspective. Nearly everyone has had some kind of negative performance evaluation experience. Neither supervisors nor employees really feel positive about or look forward to this process. Employees end up feeling scrutinized while supervisors tend to feel uncomfortable about passing judgment. The issue is that supervisors often do not understand how to make use of this tool to create lasting change in employee behavior and performance. The inherent flaws within traditional approach include: n Negative feedback often comes as an unpleasant surprise to employees who thought they were doing a good job. n Supervisors sometimes over-appraise poor performers and then lack any corroborating evidence if the need to terminate later arises. n Supervisors dedicate too little time to evaluation so employees write off the experience as a meaningless exercise of corporate compliance. n Supervisors focus too much on recent infractions and too little on the employee's overall performance during the rest of the year. It's a Process, Not an Event There is, however a more effective 21st Century approach that emphasizes performance evaluation as a vital communication and coaching opportunity. Evaluation can be a basis for clarification and coaching to maximize performance. Bosses can also gather feedback and see the business through the eyes of employees, too. Very few one-time events are ever successful in transforming behavior and performance. Initiatives that create lasting change are process orientated. Most organizations approach performance evaluation as a once-a-year event. Research and common sense indicate, however, that in order for evaluations to have a meaningful impact they should happen at two critical levels. First, formal structured performance evaluations should occur at least biannually and preferably on a quarterly basis. (continued on page 46) 44 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | March 2013 44_Performance_feature_KP.indd 44 2/27/13 4:10 PM

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