Employees always look forward to unbiased evaluations and appraisals yearly. When done correctly, such employee assessments can help cultivate a sense of loyalty and retain the high performers.
Appraisals are increases in compensations and rewards for employees’ loyalty, conduct, and diligence. But wait, what does HR have to do with these appraisals and evaluations?
HR’s role isn’t just about distributing particular percentages and figures to employees once a year. They are essential for conducting smooth employee assessments for both employees and managers.
As expected, employee assessments may be challenging and involve all analysis, judgment, and reasoning skills to evaluate unbiased figures. Read on to find out more about employee assessments and the best practices to do them properly.
What is an Employee Assessment?
Employee assessments are practices helping HR identify employee performance over a certain period. These evaluations help in deciding employee appraisals.
Employee assessments are seen as an annual activity, though more companies are adopting a new practice of providing frequent employee feedback. Doing so can help employees assess themselves and their performance regularly, allowing them to improve their strengths and work on their weaknesses.
Properly conducted assessments can also boost productivity levels among teams, which will also help with company performance.
The Importance of Employee Assessments
According to IBM, companies with the best employee experience achieve almost twice the return on sales and thrice the return of assets than others. After all, employees will work better knowing there are incentives for top performers. Such incentives will create a more positive impact on work cultures and productivity levels.
Here are more benefits of conducting employee assessments:
- Regular assessments help managers learn more about what employees need to improve on
- Assessing employees will help them discover their strengths and weaknesses to work on
- Improves employee productivity and satisfaction
- High employee engagement and satisfaction will improve workers’ relationships with the organization and team members, resulting in a great work environment.
- Increased loyalty employee retention rate
But wait, why are employee assessments conducted? Besides reaping the benefits mentioned above, here are the reasons why:
- HR will learn how to evaluate employees
- Employees will know the goals, standards, and expectations to meet
- Managers have the chance to understand employees better
- HR and managers can plan their employees’ career paths
- They are building blocks for HR metrics to base annual appraisals by
- They give performance-related feedback to employees excellently
Best Practices for a More Effective Employee Assessment
The goal of employee assessments is to improve employee performances and work cultures. These assessments will work on macro and micro levels. But the question is: What does a leader need to do to make these assessments as fair and effective as possible?
If you’re wondering how to conduct these employee assessments appropriately, follow these practices:
#1 Set Performance Standards and Clear Goals
Before anything else, you must be clear with your assessments. The clarity comes when employees are sure of how they must perform, which depends on their understanding of job responsibilities. Regardless of the employee’s level, outline his responsibilities and standards, which should be achievable and practical.
Besides setting performance standards, you also need to set clear goals. While standards are more generic in nature, goals should be specific to individuals.
Create goals after considering the employee’s strengths and weaknesses. Such goals must translate into key performance indicators specific to every employee. If you set these goals at the beginning of the work year, it will become easier to assess employee performance by the end of it.
Goals will form benchmarks against the judgment of employee performance and merit. Like standards, goals must be realistic and achievable.
#2 Be Consistent and Specific
The best way to stay consistent with employee assessments is to set criteria. There will be no one-fits-all template when evaluating employees, but HR leaders can set certain standards to create assessment and evaluation forms. You just need to be consistent.
Also, when providing feedback, don’t be hesitant or sugarcoat. While being direct and specific with feedback sounds a bit stern, it’s for the benefit of employees, managers, and the entire company. Be completely honest when giving feedback and point out any issues.
However, it would be best to start feedback by telling employees what they did well in and relay activities that benefited the organization. Then, you can steer the conversation to where employees can improve on and what HR can do to help.
#3 No Discrimination
Bias is inherent to human nature; it happens everywhere, including the workplace. But just like all instincts, we can control and offset biases.
Employee assessments will be faulty if any form of bias and discrimination is included. HR needs to ensure that every level of employee assessment is evaluated based purely on employee performance based on KPIs and generic conduct parameters set for everyone. There shouldn’t be any room for bias in evaluations and appraisals.
#4 Identify and Elevate Strengths
The goal of assessments is to guide employees to grow further. If there’s a system where employees can identify strengths and weaknesses and help fill gaps, they can focus on learning. Give employees to chance to learn, which will help them, and the organization grows.
That’s why it’s crucial to focus on an employee’s strengths. Remember, it isn’t possible for employees to stay entirely consistent with goals and work performance in every assessment.
Just because there’s a slight reduction in performance doesn’t mean your top performers are slacking off. Instead, employees might be facing struggles they need help in. If you identify any weaknesses, it’s your time to step in and make sure employees receive the required assistance.
Organizations should focus on an employee’s strengths, reminding him of his capabilities. It’s perfectly fine to fall sometimes, as long as your employees are willing to get up and try again.
#5 Focus on Performance, Not Personality
It can be easy to create superficial judgments following workplace gossip, politics, and ridicule. It’s human, but it’s also cruel. While some jokes might seem harmless, they can affect bias and judgment in the long term, which should never be part of assessments.
While employee conduct and appearances matter, this shouldn’t be the cause of performance appraisals. It’s only the cause for a one-on-one meeting to discuss such issues, but nothing else.
The performance will always be more important than specific personality traits. You can work on personality traits, and these should never be ridiculed or looked down on, especially in employee assessments.
#6 Recognize and Reward
While passion and loyalty are motivators to work better, compensation is just as important. Employees must work on their weaknesses, always striving to improve, but they deserve rewards for those beyond a pat in the back.
Recognize and reward employees during and after their assessments. You can measure performance by comparing subsequent evaluations and seeing if the employee has accomplished set goals from before.
#7 Provide 360-Degree Feedback
360-degree feedback might not be a widespread practice yet, but it’s slowly gaining traction with the new workplace dynamics. This type of feedback is a system where employees will receive feedback from team members and other people working around them. Such people include peers, subordinates, managers, and other people from HR.
Include 8-10 people working with the employee and have them fill an anonymous feedback form to include in the assessment. This is a great way to conduct employee assessments as it will look at performance from other angles.
#8 Never Compare
This goes without saying and should be followed even beyond the workplace: Never compare anyone, including employees, ever.
Regardless of how great of a personal relationship you have with certain employees, don’t let your judgment cloud you with it during employee assessments. It’s not right to put two employees against one another. It isn’t only an unprofessional and bad practice; it can weaken relationships in the organization, which affects the overall work environment and productivity.
The goal of employee assessments is for employees to grow together, with the organization following suit. You can’t reach that goal if you’re pitting employees against each other!
#9 Track Assessment Impact, Make It an Ongoing Process
HR must continuously monitor employee assessment programs to measure whether or not they are creating the necessary impact. The purpose of employee assessments is to ensure employees are improving each time.
Remember that employee assessments should remain consistent, not just a one-off affair. When conducted periodically, employee assessments will encourage employees to perform even better with every evaluation period. It will also give HR the opportunity to review and see if their assessment program is serving its purpose and if they need to improve it for the next one.
#10 Discuss the Future
Assessments are an excellent opportunity to discuss their future, seeing how an employee’s advancement in the organization can do to his career. If organizations focus on overall employee development, it fosters loyalty and creates a solid base for teams to perform better.
Also, once employees see that assessments aren’t only there to learn how they sync with the organization and how the organization syncs with them and career paths, it can reduce attrition rate, increasing the retention rate.
Wrapping It Up
Every company will require employee assessments, and with good reasons. These assessments will help leaders identify employees’ strengths and weaknesses, addressing improving performance. As long as you conduct them correctly, the organization will reap the benefits for the long term.
Hopefully, you gained insight on employee assessments and how to conduct them appropriately. Keep these practices in mind, and let us know what you think in the comments section!