Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Writing the review, part of Performance Review Foundations.
You've gathered all of the information you need, and now it's time to put pen to paper. It's time to write the employee review for each one of your team members. Start by looking at the calendar and getting honest. With no less than one week to go, sit down and start writing. Be sure to plan for about two hours of work per direct report. To begin, let me give you a useful strategy for writing each review. Most people want to start by filling in all of the quantitative ratings that need to be provided.
Don't do that. Instead, I want you to look at each section of the review individually and start by writing the narrative statements that you're allowed or required to add. I'm referring to the spaces for personal commentary that most evaluations allow for. Starting with each section's narrative is smart for two reasons. First, this type of writing asks you to act on your overall or summary feeling about the employee. It's about intuition and what your gut says. Second, forcing yourself to think about the person with no data in front of you helps you think back over the performance period, and begin to recall specific examples of behaviors that stood out to you for one reason or another.
Now let's be clear. Later if needed, you can edit what you wrote. But starting with raw narrative comments stimulates recall and gives you a good gut check about how good your memory really is. Because after you finish writing, you can then look at the summaries provided by other raters as a check against what you wrote. After your first good draft of narrative sections, it's time to nail the numbers by completing all the required scales in each section. Here's a great tip. Don't look at the evaluation and then dive back into the pile of other information you collected.
You already did a thoughtful reading of all of that. Put pen to paper and make all of your ratings at once. Then, when you're done, you can go back and look at the person's self evaluation, 360 input, and so on, and make adjustments if you think they are honestly warranted. One rule of thumb to remember is that your first rating is likely your best, honest rating. Remember, your goal is to offer a fair evaluation, not an evaluation that simply looks like the one everyone else gave the person.
When you're done with the ratings, you can go back and finalize your narrative comments. As if that wasn't tough enough, now comes the part many find the most difficult, the gap analysis. You have to identify the biggest gaps between your evaluation and the evaluations provided by others, and you have to be ready to defend your position. For the vast majority of evaluations you'll complete, the number of significant gaps will be really small, likely two or three. In any case, take good notes and be very specific in explaining why you think the gap exists since for most of them, you'll have to explain them during the evaluation.
This is true for positive or negative gaps. But it's the negative ones, where you rated someone lower than they rated themselves, where you really need to be prepared. Okay, we're almost done. Now it's time to evaluate your evaluation. A great evaluation is complete, accurate, fair, and as helpful as possible. First, it's complete. Make sure you rated everything that needs to be rated and offered adequate commentary where allowed. Then sign the evaluation in the appropriate space.
Next, a solid evaluation has to be accurate. If you collected what you're supposed to and reviewed that data appropriately, and push yourself to explain any gaps, your evaluation will be accurate. A good evaluation is also fair. That means you correctly understood the standards being applied, and it also means that the amount of difficult judgement used was similar to the level of difficulty you applied to the evaluations of other employees. Finally, remember that a great review is also helpful.
In fact, your goal is to offer as much advice and help as you do critical feedback. In the end, evaluations are supposed to help people do their jobs better. Here's the good news. Writing evaluations effectively is a skill. If you're attentive and follow the advice we just discussed, you'll quickly learn to write evaluations that actually help your team think and grow.
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The information contained in the following course is provided with the viewer's understanding that the course should not be used as a substitute for consulting a human resource professional at your company for specific guidance. Lynda.com and LinkedIn expressly disclaim liability for any damages, loss, or risk, incurred as a direct or indirect consequence, from the use and application of any content herein.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Understanding the performance cycle
- Setting performance goals
- Collecting performance data and feedback
- Writing the review
- Discussing performance with an employee
- Using a performance improvement plan (PIP)<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.