Although in reality the situation is often different, evaluation interviews should ideally be a two-way communication process. The key to success? Come prepared and be honest.
Preparation Is Everything
Whether an evaluation interview is about the performance of one or several employees, and whether it focuses on a short or a long period of time, preparation is the key to a smooth conversation.
Preparing an evaluation interview starts by gaining an overview of the employee’s past performance. In any case, feedback from colleagues will provide you with useful insights you can use to compile a questionnaire. Be sure not to include yes-no questions, though, as your questionnaire should invite the employee to candidly tell their story. In addition, make sure to share the agenda of the conversation with the employee beforehand. That way, they know what to expect and have every chance to prepare themselves for potential criticism.
An efficient way to measure your managers’ performance is asking the employees who work under them to evaluate them. Do they like collaborating with the managers in question? Do they feel sufficiently supported by them? The answers to these questions are great topics to discuss during the evaluation interview. Please note: if you intend to offer the employee a raise or some other type of reward, specify the amount and margin for negotiation in advance.
Probe Underlying Issues
Evaluation interviews are a great opportunity to probe underlying issues. If an employee is not carrying out certain tasks properly, there’s probably a reason for that. Personal problems or a lack of (additional) training, for example, are common causes of poor performance. If such issues are indeed brought to light, it is crucial to plan an additional conversation. Discussing and finding a solution to underlying issues is, of course, necessary, but the purpose of the evaluation interview must remain clearly defined.
Be as Honest as the Day Is Long
Finally, we’d like to share some pointers to really get the most out of any evaluation interview. Overall, you’ll notice that the ‘trick’ is being as honest as the day is long.
- Vagueness kills effective evaluation interviews. Don’t beat around the bush and always explain clearly what you mean.
- Be critical of yourself. Is the evaluation interview really on point?
- Don’t gloss over negative feedback. Illustrate it with facts.
- Be honest. Not telling employees exactly where things went wrong means denying them the opportunity to better themselves.
- Establish a culture of continuous feedback, so that evaluation interviews never take employees by surprise.
Need help communicating with future employees? Feel free to contact us! We’re happy to help.