How Do You Do An Effective Evaluation?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being asked to rate the boss:

This is the third time I have written to you. I find your advice of a great value. Even if I have not always strictly followed it, it has made me think and organize my ideas much better. Now I would like to tell you how the story went and ask you for some hint. Below I quote my first message and your answer. My supervisor is a nightmare as I already explained. In the second one I expressed concerns on some of his decisions not meeting company guidelines. As a result, finally last end of November each member of the team has spoken to our supervisor’s manager. We did that separately, and since the situation had only gone worse.

In December nothing happened and after Christmas time we found ourselves with a surprise. Great surprise. After having given our feedback verbally, we have been asked via email to provide that in written by filling out the performance evaluation standard form. We suspect this is something strange since the evaluation period was closed as of mid November. Is this a common practice in companies? Can we interpret this as a bad sign? Now I would like to do this perfectly. We are asked to talk about results, skills, company values and potential. We are asked to rate 3 or 4 statements on each of those 4 points, and after each one we have to give “specific information or examples on why you rated this person as you did”.

I would like to hear your advice on this situation and if you can tell me how to go about giving feedback in writing in the most professional way. I would appreciate it since giving examples requires go into much details and I would not like to be very accusing (nor I have enough space to put all examples). I did not find anything in the web that could be of help. Thank you in advance and regards.

Signed, Want To Do It Right

Dear Want To Do It Right:

It sounds as though you will be rating your supervisor as part of an evaluation program–that will be both an opportunity and a challenge!I don’t know whether it is a good sign or bad sign that it is being asked for after the evaluation period. It may be that more documentation is needed so that they can take action about supervisory problems. Or, perhaps they simply were late in getting required forms filled out. You say it’s the standard form–so there may be nothing more to it than fulfilling administrative requirements. Have you considered asking?

Simply call or write and say, “I want to do a good job on this form if it’s going to be reviewed closely. So could you tell me if this is just a routine form for the files or is it going to be looked at in detail?” That’s a perfectly reasonable request and might let you know the purpose behind it all.

The easiest way to approach such evaluations is to write each area being evaluated on a separate sheet of paper: Skills, company values, potential, etc. For each area list the most positive things you can say about it and the things that seem the most troublesome or problematic. Another thing that is useful is to note what activities or traits about each category that you would like to see more of, what things need to be stopped and what things need to be improved. That might not work for the area of potential. In that area consider limiting it to low, medium or high and say why. That way, when you have statements to rate you will have a better idea of how to rate them, as well as being reminded of examples.

If you are doing a numeric rating, one way to approach it is to look at the scale of numbers you have (1-10, etc.) The low end is for none of the trait or area–with no positive examples at all and overall unacceptable performance and behavior. 2-4 is a very small amount of examples to support the area but several examples that show problems–and overall unacceptable performance. 4-6 is a few positive examples and acceptable but not exceptional performance. 7-9 is quite a few positive examples and only a few examples that show a need for improvement.10 is as close to perfect as possible, with many positive examples and only one or two examples of less than perfect performance.

Use that as your guide and don’t deviate from it. If no numeric scale is required, use it anyway. After each section put: Score on a scale of 1-10, and list your score. When you need to give an example, you can keep it brief and still convey information. You could say, “Needs to gain additional skills in areas of primary responsibilities. Under that you could write: “On several occasions has not been able to complete XYZ form without assistance from employees. This is only one example of problems in this area.” The purpose of an evaluation form is to give a snapshot look at someone’s performance and behavior. However, all evaluation programs usually allow for extra text to be written if needed. If you wish to do that, ask HR ahead of time if you can add a separate sheet with additional examples. On the other hand, the snapshot you provide is likely enough–combined with your previous actions–to let them know that you have concerns.

If they are concerned as well, they’ll follow-up with interviews about it. So, don’t feel that everything you want to say has to be in this one short form. You may even want to write on the form, “Additional examples and situations have been documented informally and I am available to discuss those.” Or, you might want to write, “A co-worker, Joe Abeyta, witnessed this.” Or, “Joe Abeyta has additional examples.” Make the form work for you if you think this evaluation is really going to be used in a helpful way. If it’s just an administrative requirement and will not be reviewed anyway, you can save yourself some work even though you may still put down the basics. You are right that you don’t want the entire evaluation to be one big accusation of incompetence. But if you have something to say, now is the time to say it. I hope others will be equally open and honest. And I hope these thoughts will trigger some thoughts of your own about how you want to handle the situation. Think about what is the best for your organization as you evaluate. Think WEGO.

Tina Lewis Rowe