Do You Know The Four Evaluation Questions You Need to Ask Every Year?

Posted on by in Business, Communication, Goals, Growth, Leadership, Managing Talent, Operations, Personal Development, Planning

Are you starting to do your year-end evaluations—and wrestling with how you can do them well and/or differently this year? If you are, then you’ll want to continue reading this week’s Accelerated Growth Caffeine.

I received an email a few days ago from one of my clients asking about whether or not I had a staff evaluation form for the year end that I could pass along. After answering his question I thought, “I’m sure he’s not the only one asking that question.” So if you’re wondering or have ever wondered about the answer to that question, here are a few quick recommendations.

Number One: No evaluation should ever be a surprise. One of the reasons I’m not a big fan of standardized evaluations is because the best evaluations are based on what you and your employee have agreed to. In other words, evaluations are bad when an employee doesn’t clearly know what they’re being evaluated on—from the beginning of the evaluation period. And even worse, when they’re sandbagged (i.e. blasted over things they didn’t even know they were being held accountable for).

Number Two: The shorter the evaluation form the better. Too many evaluation forms and processes are way too complicated and way too long. Plus, the longer something is, the less operational it is (i.e. if you don’t want to waste your time filling out a long form that your employees won’t use, shorten the form).

Number Three: At the end of the day, you should always design tools (like evaluation forms) that actually accomplish their intended purposes—not just use up time (or fill a slot). And when it comes to evaluations, the intended purposes of an evaluation are to reward positive behaviors and results and redirect incorrect or less effective behaviors. Everything else is extraneous.

Number Four: There are four key questions that every evaluation should attempt to ask and answer (you’ve been waiting for this, haven’t you?). Note: You can add to these four, but you don’t need to.

  1. Did they get done what they were supposed to get done (and how well did they get it done)?
  2. Did they play well with the others in the sandbox?
  3. Did they live out the mission, vision and values of your organization?
  4. Did they grow (in their skills, abilities, behaviors, knowledge, etc.)

That’s it. Don’t over-complicate this process. If you want to add additional questions you can, just keep it short.

Number Five: One last thought. The best evaluations I’ve conducted over the years have been ones where I’ve had my employees fill out their forms first and then submit them to me BEFORE we talked. This worked extremely well because I learned things I didn’t know, I got a better understanding of their mindset before we met, and frequently, I found that they were hard enough on themselves–which meant I could then play more “good cop” to their “bad cop” (since they already knew where they had fallen short–and why).

So, there you have it. The four key questions (and really, the only four questions) you need to ask every year whenever you’re evaluating an employee—plus four other ideas to ensure that when you’re engaged in doing your annual evaluations, you’re doing them well!

To your accelerated success,

Note: If you have any other ideas about annual staff evaluations, post your comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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