Before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, carve out time to meet one-on-one with your staff and review the highs and lows of 2017. Annual employee evaluations “are vital” to the success of any business, said Cheryl Denham, owner of Arizona Family Florist in Phoenix. They re-emphasize the company’s vision, help everyone set goals to grow in the new year and boost morale. “It’s acknowledgment of an employee’s contribution in the workplace,” she said.
Here are a few best practices for effective employee reviews:
- Develop Key Performance Indicators. These are measurable actions, completely within employees’ control, that tie their performance to the success of the company, said Charles Ingrum, owner of Dr. Delphinium Designs & Events in Dallas. These will vary by role. With your designers, for instance, you may look for efficiency, ability to reproduce a recipe and paying careful attention to COGS. With your sales staff, on the other hand, you’d likely scrutinize the size of their average order and their success at pitching add-on pieces.
- Start with a self-evaluation. Denham gives employees a form with six open-ended questions, asking them to detail examples of their best performances and reasons their current job has or has not met their expectations. “This helps us plan out goals for each person next year,” she said. “It also refreshes our memory of their accomplishments. Jo Buttram, AAF, AMF, does the same at Shirley’s Flowers & Gifts, Inc., in Rogers, Arkansas. “Employees are usually harder on themselves than I ever would be,” she said. “Then they’re pleasantly surprised when they meet with me.”
- Keep it light. Evaluations can be intimidating, so conduct them in an informal setting and keep the tone conversational, said Nic Faitos, president of Starbright Floral Design in New York City.
- Ask questions. “God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we can do twice as much listening as we do talking,” Faitos said, emphasizing that reviews are excellent opportunities to learn. Ask about their goals, their feelings about your organization, ways they think the business can improve and whether or not they feel their talents are utilized.
- Schedule another in three or six months. The more frequent your reviews, the more relaxed they tend to be, Ingrum said. Additionally, regular reviews keep the company goals top of mind for employees and the owner alike and let people know if they need to recalibrate their roles. “In my opinion, constant feedback is invaluable,” he said.
Need help writing an Employee Evaluation Form? Denham and Ingrum share theirs with members in SAF’s Human Resources Tool Box.