Terry Thompson, Surrey, BC, CYBF Mentor, firstname.lastname@example.org
In continuation with my prior article (about preparing for a performance assessment), let’s delve into what the objectives are of an assessment; how it should be conducted; and the frequency. There are many ways to approach performance assessments, but the following is what worked best for me:
1. The performance assessments should be at least twice per year. Depending upon the self-sufficiency of the subordinate and the nature of the subordinate’s plan for the year (i.e. how big a stretch the goals for the year are), the frequency could be once per quarter.
2. The objectives of a performance assessment are at least the following:
a. Review the progress made towards accomplishing the goals (i.e. self-sufficiency; percentage of time spent in key job description areas; KPIs etc.), set out in the plan for the year;
b. Determine the reasons why goals were accomplished, or not accomplished, and what to do as a result of this knowledge going forward (i.e. adjust goals; expand on what is going right; how to overcome obstacles etc.);
c. Provide further insight into the subordinate’s capabilities (strengths and weaknesses), and what they are passionate about;
d. Determine the goals for the next 12 months (this is done in the annual review for the next fiscal year), and the action plan to accomplish them.
3. The assessment write-up and scoring should be kept as simple as possible (I used a scale of 1 to 5 for each of the points below, with 5 being high achievement and 1 being low), and should cover the following areas:
a. Progress being made towards achieving the targeted self-sufficiency and percentage of time goals;
b. Progress regarding other quantitative and qualitative goals for the year;
c. The person’s initiative and motivation (i.e. level of engagement);
d. The person’s emotional intelligence;
e. The person’s fit with the corporate culture.
4. Both the manager and subordinate should evaluate the subordinate in each of the above categories (i.e. provide a score of 1 to 5 with reasons for the score). They would then compare their evaluations with the view to reaching agreement in the assessment meeting. Much of the evaluation should be based upon the monthly one-to-one meetings.
5. The manager and subordinate should also score the manager’s performance in regards to what the manager committed to do in order to support the subordinate in reaching his/her goals.
In conducting the assessment it is absolutely essential that the manager:
1. Has taken the time to properly prepare for the assessment meeting;
2. Scheduled the meeting for a time and place when both the manager and subordinate have the time and energy to be able to devote the proper attention to the meeting and will not be interrupted (i.e. all phone calls should be forwarded and cell phones turned off – there should be no phone ringing, vibrating, no one coming into the meeting room etc.);
3. Sets the example for good listening and communicating practices (in particular, do not interrupt the subordinate while s/he is making a point; patiently listen to what the subordinate is saying with an open mind until s/he is finished). The manager’s sole focus is the subordinate and the objectives of the performance assessment;
4. Ensures that both the subordinate and manager properly understand what each is saying to the other (i.e. do not assume that the subordinate has understood you the first time and vice-versa);
5. Feels comfortable that the subordinate is committed to whatever is agreed to in the assessment and that the subordinate feels that s/he has the full support of the manager;
6. Takes proper notes and ensures a final assessment/plan write-up is completed.
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