Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good Employee Evaluation is not Formal Evaluation

It may very well be that maybe the best employee evaluations have no formal evaluation procedures at all. Performance improvement should be about relationships and communication rather than documents.

Right now there is a lot of national criticism of the education profession alleging that incompetents are allowed to continue practicing. There is growing public demand for more stringent evaluation procedures for educators, with the thinking that stronger evaluation systems will create stronger employees. So state legislatures are getting into the act and trying to define how evaluations should take place.

Let's face it: if it were possible for quality to be legislated, we would have done it years ago, and we would not be concerned with it now.

The problem with the concept of evaluation as it is defined by code and implemented in practice is that it inherently becomes a negative process. Supervisors must keep score on a secret tally sheet and reveal their findings at a given time when the summative evaluation takes place.

What is missing from this concept is the on-going communication and coaching that should be taking place between the evaluator and his or her charge. In the classrooms, instructors teach and communicate with students on a daily basis so those students will be successful by the conclusion of the class. On the sports field, coaches do not silently watch their athletes only to set an appointment to later review their mistakes. Teaching and coaching are dependent upon open and constant communication.

The key to making this system effective is to develop a climate of trust and open communication where all parties understand that everyone's goal is to make the school as effective and successful as possible for the students. Certainly there can be a place for an annual review. But let the annual performance conference be about setting challenging goals for the growth of each individual and setting up personal learning plans to help the educator achieve those goals.

Let's make evaluation about getting better rather than finding fault.

Image creator: David Castillo Dominici


  1. Great read, but these days employee evaluations is never given importance, the works are almost freelance so its difficult to evaluate, if you have an organization or company the boss looks how many hours of work employees are doing rather the concentrating on quality work.Employee Evaluation Template

  2. I enjoyed your thoughts on the evaluation process. Do you feel you have the time to "coach" your charges on a daily/weekly/monthly basis? Sometimes I feel that the evaluation process we use in our district is a rubber stamp. That the evaluator is quickly completing the evaluation before a deadline. How do you make the process meaningful to your charges? When/what/how do you tell them? Thanks for your insights!

    1. In my opinion, a good evaluation process leaves no surprises in the final review. Eighty percent of our people do not need intense scrutiny. For them, the evaluator should be focusing on positive reinforcement and motivation. And this conversation should be on-going.

      Thanks for asking.