6 Principles For Meaningful Performance Evaluation

If anything represents the failure of traditional human resource management it’s the performance evaluation process.  The process is increasingly irrelevant in the new normal and most progressive organizations have adopted approaches that focus on performance enhancement not evaluation.

If you are looking to start from the ground up or retool what currently exists, here are some principles to consider:

  • Have a clearly articulated vision for your organization, with strategic goals and objectives that can be translated into action for everyone in the organization.  If not the following question is logical:  What standard am I performing to?
  • Ask that employees sign up for the company’s mission, including their contribution to the economic performance of the organization.  You want to know how they view the contribution and commitment to the organization’s success. This includes everyone in all administrative functions.
  • Set quantifiable, observable for performance for everyone.  No exceptions. If someone insists that’s impossible then ask: how will we know you are making a contribution?
  • Pay attention to personal aspirations outside of work requirements.  Most people have compelling personal goals that may relate positively to their professional performance.
  • Arrange regular opportunities to monitor performance together, including group discussions of their performance and how it can be enhanced or even accelerated.  The traditional isolated annual review is generally worthless and does not capture the richness of human effort and aspiration.
  • Always let a person evaluate themself first, with a focus on accomplishment.  You learn about them and you practice good listening skills which can, in and of itself, encourage productive performance.

Traditional performance evaluations have become an unnecessary evil in many organizations, much like a relic of the Industrial Age.  They are often a waste of time and they can discourage performance to everyone’s detriment.