Assessing an employee’s performance is not something you do once a year but should be an ongoing process. In order to have a whole picture of his performance and to give a fair evaluation of his work, it is necessary to collect information about his performance through different sources.
Observing your employees directly is the best way to monitor their performance. Rather than merely sitting in your office or relying on secondary sources such as feedback from co-workers or clients, it is important for the manager to observe their employees in person.
Circulate among your employees and pay attention to what is happening around you. Do not just focus on results, but understand the story behind the results. Check in with your employees by asking about their workloads and work progress. Invite them to give you feedback by maintaining an open-door policy.
There is a need to keep logs of your observations throughout the year instead of relying on your memory when it is time to do the formal performance appraisal. It is difficult to remember everything in detail what your employees have achieved over the year. Your employee Sharon could have clinched an important client in March, but botched a presentation in September. When the time for performance appraisal comes in October, which event are you likely to remember?
One way to track employee performance is to keep a file or notebook on each of your direct report and update it regularly with notes on their performance. This could be an email feedback from a major client on Sharon’s dedication and good work done on a recent project or poor sales performance that you observed for a week by Joseph.
If you are jotting notes, include concrete details such as date, time, numbers, etc. and be accurate about your description as much as you can. Avoid commenting on their personality but focus on the behaviour or conduct that you have witnessed.
Another method is to request for short, informal monthly progress reports from each of your direct reports. You might get your staff to list down accomplishments, concerns or problems encountered for that month. The timeliness of these reports could give you an idea of how they are progressing in their work too.
While performance appraisals are only done once a year, the more information you have on your employees, the more prepared you are to give them a fair evaluation.