Few people like giving others negative feedback. Those who do like this are typically very bad at it. Whether we like it or not, feedback is an important part of any successful organization. So it is in the best interests of individual managers and the organization as a whole to develop and implement a useful performance evaluation system.

Here are five questions you can ask to determine the health of your current performance evaluation process.

  1. Do we consistently train our employees to seek feedback?
    It’s one thing to tell employees to seek feedback and it’s quite another to have processes and programs that consistently reinforce this message. Hearing this message a few times during onboarding won’t create a culture of employees who seek feedback.
  2. If we have a culture that values feedback, have we provided enough information about this process?
    Employees need to know the nuts and bolts of the feedback process. They need to know the norms of when, where, and how to ask for feedback.  Saying you have an “open door policy” isn’t enough.
  3. What is the purpose of our performance evaluation process?
    Are your performance evaluations just another thing to accomplish for HR (box checking mentality), a way to make behavioral adjustments, a means to justify merit increases, or a combination of these things?
  4. If one of your top performing employees approached you, know how you would answer this question: “If I told you I was quitting, what would you do to keep me here?”
    You need to know who your top performing employees are and make sure you are doing enough to keep them around. Top performers go to firms with where they feel valued and are rewarded, so at the very least be sure you are publicly pointing out the things that your top 1% are doing right.
  5. What do we do with the information from our performance evaluations?
    You need to drop the CYA mentality that is too often connected to performance reviews and instead focus on developing a culture that values “learning and improving.”

Great leaders use their evaluation processes to motivate employees, incentivize employees, build and repair relationships, and to identify neglected areas in overall organizational development.