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Year-end assessment will prepare you for 2017

The end of the year is time for evaluations, performance appraisals and assessments.  Most big companies have a formal appraisal system where managers formally complete a written performance appraisal on all their employees, followed by a discussion with the employee.  Even though some companies have proposed the end of employee evaluations it is still the best way to all for a serious discussion between manager and employee on the year’s performance.  Some may be spread out throughout the year while many still have this as part of a year end ritual.  The bottom line is that managers generally hate doing the appraisal and then reviewing with employees.  If the manager has done their job throughout the year, the year end evaluation should never contain any surprises for the employee.  However, so many managers neglect this important management responsibility and are such poor communicators with their employees that they do not address issues as they arise during the year.  Big mistake.

Good employees who are top performers desire to hear from their manager an assessment of how they are doing in their job.  Employees crave input.  They are not mind readers. Employees deserve to know how the manager sees them.  This should be done in writing and affirmed with a one-on-one conversation.  Often managers will make the assumption that the employee knows whether they are doing a good job or performing poorly.  NOT SO!!  Left unsaid the employee makes their own assumptions, often incorrect, of how well they are performing in their job. When nothing is pointed out for improvement the employee makes the assumption they are doing just fine.

Measurement of accomplishments against pre-set goals that were set and agreed upon at the year’s start is the most accepted and established method of measurements.  Were targets met?  If not, why? Using this information to work toward solutions to be found in the coming year is an essential way to raise the level of performance going forward.

Managers need training on how to do performance appraisals well. They cannot learn by osmosis.  It requires training.  When managers handle this process poorly it has disastrous results for the best employees as well as those under-performers.

If you are an employee in a business that doesn’t have an appraisal process you can do the following:

1.  Ask your manager for an evaluation of your work.

2.  Do a self-assessment. You may need help in this process.

3.  Participate in a 360 assessment.

• Self-assessments can be very useful but it is next to impossible for a person to truly see themselves as others see them.  An introspective look is valuable but an intense and committed desire to change must be adopted.

• Asking your manager for an appraisal can be tricky.  It may point out to them their inadequacy of not having performed the evaluation. Be sincere in your request that you want to know so you can improve and grow in your job.

• 360 assessments are the most eye-opening experience you will ever have.  However, it requires some administration and involvement of others best provided by a third party.  If you truly want to grow and improve, this is the way to go, but be aware that the feedback can be brutal.

In addition to an evaluation of your performance on the job it is a good time to evaluate your personal life too.  There is no way to completely separate your professional and personal lives.  A goal everyone shares is to be happy and have fulfillment in your life. It requires the honesty and commitment to adapt and change, communicate better and be open minded.  Remember that if you do things the way you have always done them, you will continue to get the same results you always have gotten.  Are you satisfied with your life or do you want a better life? It can’t be provided by someone else.  It is left up to you.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.