Performance Evaluation Systems & Processes

For several years corporations, small businesses and non-profit organizations have utilized performance evaluation systems to directly assess the individual performance and impact an individual has on an organization without establishing much autonomy or focus on the training, growth, and development within a work environment.

Within the last decade’s technological progression, many organizations have shifted their focus on the employee and leveraging the performance management systems to invest in the growth and development rather than perpetuating the much-dreaded management process focused on the overall organization’s ROI.  In fact, companies like Google have been utilizing metrics to determine how employee treatment, training, and appraisals can directly affect retention/churn, profits and the overall net promoter score (NPS). To better understand this system, Google’s organizational structure as it pertains to performance appraisals is reviewed as an example.

Key Elements of Successful Employee Evaluation Process

Expanding on Google’s Culture from previous research, they have a management system based on a flat structure. The approach Google uses involves evaluating the systems in place, managing these stems and not the people.  This mindset allows managers to feel confident that adequate methods, tools, knowledge, and training are provided, justifying negative evaluations. Minimal micromanagement is required under this structure.

With the teams primarily comprised of creatives, computer science engineers, artificial intelligence engineers, data science wizards, project managers and other technology development experts that lean on each other as team members to establish individual metrics they can measure performance against with departmental managers from day one.  The system has been primarily successful due to Google having essential elements contributing to a fluid evaluation process: Clear Communication of Expectations, Proper Planning Execution, and Assessment Process.

Clear Communication of Expectations:

A performance management system for successful employee evaluation process must start with proper training, goal and value establishment and clear communication for expectations.   The management teams are responsible for leveraging the collective genius of individual team members to increase effectiveness and reliability in the workplace.

The performance management system begins with the job scorecard; This is created within the hiring process and improves as the individual continues employment with the organization. Each scorecard is then updated as quarterly business reviews are conducted to focus on the strategic objectives and align with the organization’s mission and core values. From there, managers can create expected outcomes through well researched and planned KPIs that must be achieved.

Proper Planning Execution:

Research shows that performance management systems are complicated for managers when employees are expected to participate in activities and processes that go beyond their initial training and education.  If the individual is performing poorly, it makes it difficult for managers to feel as fair judgment is placed.

Establishing KPI’s from the start allows for organization’s like Google to avoid the challenging decisions resulting in unfavorable activities when there are consistency and clarity in how the process is executed.  To adequately prepare for performance evaluation, managers must gather precise documentation including the original job application description and iterations, education, training requirements, anonymous feedback from other employees and KPI data.

Assessment Process

The assessment process consists of creating a clear set of actionable items from pre-established key performance indicators (KPIs) that can regularly be monitored and tracked by the individual before performance reviews even become a concern; this creates a system of accountability that can be observed daily.  From there, management leverages the team members to develop their retrospectives to understand where they can improve on a personal level before the actual manager is engaged to provide individual feedback.  If required, additional continuing education units (CEUs) may be necessary to develop further skills that aren’t present.

The performance evaluation systems are streamlined through daily, weekly and quarterly accountability metrics that allow everyone to assume autonomy in their daily activities

as well as recognized areas of inconsistencies management

must address it.  It also allows for employees to seek help and receive coaching on strategies to meet targets and ensure they are staying on track or need to revise focus; this allows for managers to look at what does work, what doesn’t work and continuously improve the overall business model to account for inadequacies.

Management and Performance Evaluation Systems

Historically performance evaluation systems were disregarded by managers as a method for focusing on problems rather than attacking a solution. The performance evaluations are often seen as more of an emotional process that may introduce bias, and it’s hard to see a direct impact on performance and may result in a decline in moral if not performed correctly.  If clear expectations are set, and the system removes any appeal to ethos and creates the intention of continual improvement and identifying areas for growth, the process would yield more productive results.

A manager that would prove useful in conducting performance evaluations is an individual that has practical leadership training, decision-making skills, can create and maintain systems of accountability and possesses a coaching mindset that shows empathy and flexibility.   Leaders who can facilitate a team by using their strengths and focusing on how they can further develop personnel through constructive feedback can create the most productive of groups.  Managers who can’t utilize data to establish objective-focused evaluations, suggest areas for improvement, are not emotionally intelligent or do not have proper planning can significantly reduce the effectiveness of a performance evaluation or appraisal system.

Directing focus on technology-driven work environments, the systems for accountability, alignment and evaluation are continuously changing. In addition to integrating an individual’s reflection of an organization’s mission and core values, maintaining high performance within flat structures becomes a growing trend in creating intricacies for reviewing productivity levels within an entity.

In realizing this, in addition to implementing employee satisfaction campaigns, it has become increasingly imperative to embody management styles that allow for performance to be linked directly to the investment organizations put into their employees.  The investment is used as a baseline to create an acknowledgment that an organization has set employees up for success and then they can facilitate a system of evaluation with further education as a company perk.  It makes assessments easier for managers knowing what has been provided using a growth mindset to coach and develop rather than judge performance.




Implementation of Delegation

In today’s workforce, modern-day managers have a myriad of readily available tools and resources at their disposal. Advancements in technology have made internal processes such as inventory, employee evaluation, records keeping, and communication more efficient. However, it is easy to fall victim to complacency in the age of technology and automation. Tech has changed, systems have changed, yet the principles that make a strong manager and leader remain the same. One of the most basic tools in the manager’s repertoire is also one that can be easily neglected: delegation. Managers pride themselves on their ability to take the intent of their superiors, interpret said intent, and relay it to their team while supervising execution. To further understand delegation, we will begin at the top of this process and work our way down.

Suggestions for Delegating to a Large Team with Multiple Managers 

The upper-level manager will be the entity to issue his/her intent in detail to the management staff. The management team will be briefed on the plan and will be expected to execute the said plan in a set amount of time. Following the brief, responsibility will fall to the management team to periodically brief the upper-level manager on the status of the project as it progresses. The upper-level manager will leave the execution in the hands of his/her management staff. Barring any alterations to the project, this will be the extent to which upper-level management will be involved with the project. This is the first point of delegation.

The next level of execution will be handled at the level of the management team. Each individual manager will brief their team leaders, in accordance with the will of the upper-level manager. From this point forward, the manager will assume the role of a non-working supervisor. It is important that the manager oversees the completion of his/her part of the project while leaving execution and coordination to their team leaders. A certain level of freedom in how the work is delegated below the manager should be granted to the team leaders. So long as the project is progressing in conjunction with the initial timeline in a quality manner, the manager need not intervene.

At the level of the team leader, work-flow and processes should be closely monitored. It is the responsibility of the team leader to verify the quality of work, as well as timeliness in the project’s completion. The team leader will be ultimately responsible for making corrections and assisting the individual team members when necessary. As a working supervisor, the team leader is where the rubber meets the road, regarding the project. While this example of delegation seems simple, there are several friction points that can present themselves throughout the execution phase of the project, detracting from the timeliness and quality of the project. One such example is micromanagement. The strength of an efficient workforce is decentralization.

At every level, freedom in execution will ultimately allow each manager, team leader and team to work to the best of their abilities. If, for example, a manager was to get too involved in the workspace of the team leader, the team leader will be unable to effectively employ their team. They will be too focused on the manger’s involvement in their workspace, as the manager has now temporarily assumed the role of the team leader. While this may appear to be the solution to the manager’s original issue, he/she is not as proficient in employing the team leader’s staff. Meanwhile, the team leader, who does not have the skills required to assume the role of the manager, will be effectively unemployed.

At a point such as this, the manager has detracted from the efficiency of the project. There is no one available to oversee the execution of the team leader’s staff at a managerial level, and the team will fall victim to variation, as they are unfamiliar with a new leader’s management style. A proper solution would have been to pull the team leader aside, issue a correction, and continue to supervise the team as the non-working supervisor. The manager has failed to properly delegate, which will present an opportunity for waste and variation to manifest in the work-flow process.

At every level of leadership, it is imperative that each leader remind themselves of the importance of delegation. Failing to properly delegate and supervise accordingly can jeopardize the completion of the project. As a manager, remember that your sole purpose is to effectively employ your team under supervision. There is a level of brilliance that can be found at the root of the basics of management, and delegation can be found at the helm.