Every year, most employees go through some sort of evaluation process. For the employer, this involves going through the files to retrieve all the notes, memos, meeting notes, and other anecdotal information on which to base the evaluation. Unfortunately, in the heat of the daily battles, most employers find it difficult to keep the files up-to-date with accurate information about what workers are doing. Employees, on the other hand, are just as notorious of falling into the-boss-is-keeping-track mindset and, therefore, are not as vigilant as they should be at tracking their accomplishments. In both scenarios, the evaluation usually winds up inaccurate. The answer is a partnership between supervisor and subordinate.
First, I meet with subordinates, for whom I'm responsible to provide an evaluation, on a regular basis. This meeting is where we discuss the weeks and months ahead. This is also the time where I delegate responsibilities for the near future. During the week, my subordinate, tracks progress on the assigned projects and tasks on a form that I provide. At the next scheduled meeting, the subordinate, brings the project/task tracking form, as well as a copy for me. This form becomes the agenda for the "old business" part of our meetings. It allows me to see what's going on with in-progress projects as well as talk to my subordinate to see if any obstacles or difficulties have appeared that I need to help with. It's also the time to take completed projects and do a quick debriefing and record the results. My notes are put on the form to become part of the record. The second part of the meeting is the assignment of any new projects or tasks. At the end of the meeting, we each file our copies of the project/task tracking form. We begin the process again with a new form for the upcoming week.
The tracking form that I use is highly specialized for my roles in my organization. Yours should be designed with your roles, goals, and assignments in mind, but should include at least:
- Project/task - Can be subdivided by roles, goals, assigned/self-initiated, etc.
- Due date
- Notes on progress and/or outcomes - To be updated during the week.
- Meeting notes to record details from supervisor/subordinate meetings
The form does not have to be too detailed, as this is simply supposed to be an agenda for discussion during the regular update meetings.
With this process, I'm able to:
- Stay up-to-date on each project's status.
- Do a weekly review with my subordinate so we are both operating off of the same priorities.
- Provide timely feedback to my subordinate on assigned projects while there is still time for revisions.
- Provide feedback on completed projects on a regular basis. I believe that an evaluation should not be a surprise; an evaluation should be an affirmation of what both parties already know.
- Accumulate a body of evidence on which I can create an accurate evaluation at the end of the evaluation period. If the regular feedback has been truthful throughout the year, the subordinate doesn't come in to the evaluation meeting with an inflated idea of what their evaluation will be, which removes much of the stress of the meeting. It also ensures that my evaluation of the employee is not undeservedly negative, as the employee has the same file of evidence upon which the evaluation is based.
Since my position makes me a subordinate as well as a supervisor, my evaluation process requires me to provide an Executive Summary to my supervisor that outlines my responsibilities, goals, and outcomes. Challenges and success are discussed. By tracking my assignments, projects, and outcomes, I'm able to create the Executive Summary with ease. I don't struggle to remember what I did, as it is all written down with all details. My form notes also include any feedback my supervisor provides so that my Executive Summary reflects what we've talked about in our regular meetings. By my providing my supervisor with regular copies of my tracking forms, she is easily able to write her response.
Tracking one's own performance ensures appropriate evaluations and also allows us to track our progress toward our own goals that, hopefully, we set for ourselves each year. In addition, supervisors who are provided update sheets are appreciative of the data that they provide.