As Newton would say, every action has an equal and opposite reaction; employee performance appraisals are no different. It is, finally, an activity that involves human nature at its core and human psyche as well. When managers offer performance feedback after evaluating employees, it is bound to have an effect. Whether the effect is positive or negative depends not only on the feedback, but on the way it is given. This article covers the areas of employee performance that are affected by performance evaluations. Let’s take a look.
Effect of performance evaluations on employees
There are a lot of factors that a performance evaluation affects in an employee’s performance.
The motivation factor
When performance evaluation is constructive and specific, it can serve as a motivating factor for your employees. If goals are clearly defined and expectations are specifically set, the employee can understand and work on difficulties and challenges with solutions from the organization. This will propel him/her to perform better and match preset goals and ambitions. However, if the feedback is vague or judgmental and comes off as a personal attack, then it can also demotivate the employee and lead to disengaged performance.
Provides clarity on expectations
When performance evaluation is specific and properly explained, it provides the employee with clarity on what is expected of him/her. This also includes shedding light on the duties that the employee should be performing as opposed to the ones he/she is currently performing. This can again take the opposite turn if the feedback is generic; the evaluation should not say “You are expected to write creative and universal content”, but “You are expected to write content that is SEO-friendly, original, well-researched, and grammatically correct” instead.
Gives a chance to take responsibility
A performance evaluation should highlight both, the accomplishments as well as the shortcomings in an employee’s performance. The accomplishments provide a sense of satisfaction, while the shortcomings give employees the chance to take responsibility and make amends. Taking responsibility is a means of accepting the shortcomings, and making consecutive efforts to change them. There are instances when employees may defend the reasons for their shortcomings; this is where tact and communication skills come into play. Hear the employee out, and always give negative feedback tactfully.
Displays the importance of teamwork
If an employee is not motivated or engaged in his/her work, it can affect the performance of the entire team and affect results too. It is important to make the employee understand the importance of teamwork, and being engaged in the team, and the impact that it has on the overall team culture. Tactful and specific feedback helps instill a better sense of teamwork and taking responsibility to not affect the team’s working.
Issues that can negatively affect employee performance
There are some aspects or issues of performance evaluation that have a negative impact on the employee’s performance.
- Bias is a common and inevitable part of employee performance evaluation because of the involvement of human nature. Raters who are biased give inaccurate feedback that is based on personal opinions and not factual data.
- Another aspect is managers not following rules and policies, which is seen by subordinates. This generates distrust, cynicism, and a general disappointment among those who look up to them.
- Improper feedback is another factor that negatively affects employee performance. Informal feedback, wherein managers talk to employees on a regular basis to discuss their concerns and performance, is as important as a formal feedback. If managers do not give employees feedback about their shortcomings during these conversations, and include it in the annual appraisal instead, employees can feel betrayed.
- Poor or improper communication is also an important factor in generating negative feelings towards performance evaluation. Preparing in advance is important when beginning the evaluation process. Practice will help managers deal with reactions or questions easily, and not make communication errors that can incite negative responses from employees.
Employee performance evaluation is a business process that includes a balance of human nature and business goals. Breaking down the process into steps, preparing and practicing, and relaying the message effectively is important to ensure that the feedback has a positive and constructive effect on employees.