The Golden Rule of an Employee Evaluation System

Posted by Lauren • August 18, 2016 (Last modified July 29, 2018) • 3 min read

Do as I say and not as I do.

This idiom is repeated time and time again from parents to children and management to employees, specifically with employee evaluation systems. While we are all aware of the underlying meaning of the saying, not everyone may be aware of the adverse effect it can have on engagement of the audience.


Company Case Study

We sit in on a lot of meetings with human resources professionals and leadership of all industries and sizes. We hear directives that come down from the top about what an employee evaluation system should look like, what it should cover, and when evaluations should be accomplished.

We often revisit the same organization a few months later to check in on how things are progressing and find that the individuals who designed the process for employee appraisals are the ones that are failing to meet the rigorous requirements of the system they designed. Here are three insider tips that will help to keep leadership in tune with your organization and make sure they are putting the right foot forward.


Go at least ½ a mile in their shoes…

Sure those 25 odd competencies and 15 open response questions all seemed too good to pass up, but if you actually try to complete the extensive appraisal form you designed you might realize that a quality review is lost in the sheer quantity of work you have assigned. Determine what is vital to be reviewed and stick with that. Time yourself to see how long it would take for you to complete a review (with content up to your standards) and compare that against how long you want managers to spend on each review. Remember most managers have between 4 and 10 direct reports.


Be a Role Model

You’ll never go wrong leading by example, should be the golden rule of employee evaluation systems. So set the tone for your organization by completing your appraisals first and scheduling your 1:1s on time.  Your positive attitude and proactive focus on your employee evaluations will trickle down to your employees and how they approach employee appraisals with their team. It’s hard to hold someone accountable to something that you yourself have not completed. Do as I say and as I do. 


Give Yourself Feedback

How often do we build something expecting it not to change? Learn from your own experience completing performance appraisals and listen to your team. You will have a better understanding of the process, what works well and what could use some improvement for the future. You’ll be making adjustments to your system and process based on personal experience. In the end, it will have a greater impact because the changes will be coming from a place of involvement and understanding.


If leadership is not able to set an example when it comes to completing employee appraisals, then how can they expect their reports to do so. We learn from our managers and if they are not able to set the example from the top down then the system will never fully succeed.


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