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Performance Reviews

"Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots." is a quote from Frank A. Clark a congressman from the 1800's yet this quote is so relevant today. With all the talk about social emotional learning in our schools its seem these Generation Z students are more fragile than any generation in recent memory. As digital natives to social media they are constantly living in a world where they judge and are being judged by people they do not see face to face and that can take its toll on their psyche. So as we talk about evaluating performance in the student classroom we need to be aware that this might be a bit difficult for your students.


This is a great opportunity for an extra grading area for students in your class and is detailed in my blog post Making the Grade under Peer Grading and Weekly Performance Reviews. This is a student driven evaluation process that occurs each week and is facilitated and scored by the HR department.


The official performance review goes by many names, employee evaluation, quarterly review, supervisor evaluation by is driven by the Human Resources department. It is designed to give feedback to employees to help them improve their work performance in the job and quite often is tied to a salary increase for good reviews. These occur a various defined time period like at 3 month, 6 months or a yearly review. This this process typical starts long before the employee performance reviews start. The process is lead at every step along the way by the HR team. In may classroom, this starts in the fall with developing the Employee Handbook and followed by the development the performance review form. They determined the ranges for pay increases based on the review results. When this is all completed the review process begins with employees, supervisors and review meetings. Finally, after the process, the adjustments of salaries. In my classes I would typically have performance reviews in early February after employees have been working about 3 months for the company. This is like a quarterly review. The process can be repeated at the end of the year for a final evaluation.


The first step in the review process is to develop a performance review form that is customized to the company. The HR team needs to decide what areas of evaluation are important to the success of the company. They typical areas I have recommended for my students have been; Quality of Work, Quantity of Work, Attendance and Punctuality. With the option to add 2-3 additional areas to the review. Several other areas that the students could choose from that might include: Self Initiative, Interpersonal Skills, Attitude, TeamWork, Attention to Detail, Communication, Listening...the list can go on and on. The important thing is that they have 5-6 areas that they feel are the most important to give feedback on for the employees that work in their company. In my classes, the finished form was used for an employee self evaluation and was followed up (on the same form) with their direct supervisor evaluation. The form also had the score ranges from unsatisfactory, below expectations, meets expectations, exceeds expectations and outstanding and point values for each. Along with these score range, each evaluated area needs to have a detailed explanation because everyone in the company will be scoring on the form, they need to have a common understanding of what each area is evaluating and what that means at each of the 5 ranges from unsatisfactory through outstanding. This is a link to an example of a form one of my former company's Solar-Tek created. Notice the performance average scores at the top that determine ranges for pay increases. These salary increase ranges can vary but really should not go beyond a 10% pay increase and I would recommend keeping them below 5% at the highest. Also notice the spaces for both employee and supervisor to score on the same form. This was done on purpose for which will be explained later. This form needs to be checked for appropriate language, clear descriptions and logical sequencing before they are ready to start the evaluation process.


Once the form has been reviewed, checked and revised it is time to begin the evaluation process. This typically starts in late January and HR team does an all-staff presentation on how to fill out the form, defines the areas evaluated, explains the levels and scoring and the salary increase number and how it is calculated. The next step is that the HR team hands out a form to each employee to fill out and do a self-evaluation. They explain this is to help with constructive feedback and help you see areas that you can improve on as a worker in the company. The HR directs the staff to be honest as they reflect on their work performance over the last 3 months. Once the staff has completed their self-evaluations they are collected, reviewed for completeness, and sorted into packets by department. The attendance record of the students is added to the packets so that the supervisor of each department can have an accurate picture of the attendance of the employees that they supervise. You might need to get the HR department this information if they have not been tracking daily attendance. In may class, beginning in November, I would have HR track attendance and tardies daily and give me a monthly report, but I do not think this is common practice in most classes. In a special meeting for the supervisors, the HR department would hand out the packets and explain that this is an opportunity to give feedback to their team and identify areas for improvement and that they need to honest in their evaluations and think about why they are giving the score they will be giving. They will let the supervisors know that HR will be facilitating individual meetings with them and each one of their employees to discuss the results of the evaluation and that need to be able to justify the scores that they are giving. The were also encouraged to add comments to the form that the employee will see. Once the supervisors complete the evaluation of the teams the HR department will collect the completed Performance Reviews and prepare for the facilitation of the review meetings. For Chief officers, they are typically reviewed by a board of directors, so as the teacher I would represent the board and evaluate the chief officers.


My HR department loved this part of the process where their role was the facilitator of the meeting between supervisors and employees. Prior to the meetings the HR team needs to review the forms and make sure all areas had been scored and look for be discrepancies between the supervisor and employee. The scores are averaged (which I like better) or totaled at the bottom of the form (depending on how the salary increases have been defined) . If they found them they were discussed with supervisors which will be explained later in this section. To train them, I as the teacher, facilitated the first meeting which was the reviews of the HR department. I explained, that these meeting need to be done in a quite place away from the ears of others and were confidential. I had the entire team in for all the reviews so they could see me role-model the process as they will all be facilitating meeting with different departments. I started the meeting with just the supervisor and we looked over each review and looked for any major discrepancies between the supervisor and employee scores. If we found any, I would talk about why they gave their score and said this might be an areas of conflict so you need to be able to back up your score with reason why you gave the score. Once this has been clarified, the first HR employee would take their place at the table across from the supervisor. I would explain the process and that the purpose is for you to become aware of areas where you can improve and become a better employee in the company. We begin by covering the scores with a blank paper and revealing only the self-evaluations scores done by the employee and talk about any very low or very high score and why they feel they deserved them. Quite often the employee is much harder on themselves than their supervisor. This followed by the revealing of the supervisor scores and having them talk about rationale of why they scored those areas the way they did. Finally, we address the final total and the outcome of the performance review. This can range from probation, to

re-evaluation in a month to pay increases. If both parties are content with the meeting you have both employees sign and thank them for their time. The employee leaves and the process is repeated until the entire department has met with the supervisor. Once the HR team has had this process modeled they divide the departments among the team and begin scheduling the meeting over the coming week. Many of my HR teams wanted to work in pairs for the first set of meeting until they got comfortable. This process is repeated for each department and then with the Chief Officers to evaluate the department leaders and finally with the teacher and the chief officers.


After all the meeting are complete. The HR department gathers the information and created a change of salary report that is sent to the accounting department to adjust the payroll of employees that earned increases. In addition, they signed performance reviews are placed into the personnel folders of each employee. If the company has digital folders the paper form must be scanned and uploaded into the digital personnel folder for each employee.

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