What are the best evaluation methods to use with our staff?

measure-your-employees-performance-carefullyGood Afternoon Steve,

I am contacting you today in need of insight and expertise from the SFS team. Over the last year our entire management team has graduated from SFS. Your SFS program has been an incredible resource to our growth.

So Steve, we have been researching the most effective way to track and evaluate our employees and their productivity, efficiency, and over-all performance.  (We have around 500 employees in our janitorial, cleaning and restoration business.)

We all learned in SFS how important it is to enhance the morale and performance of our employees. And I personally believe our direct managers should evaluate their subordinates on some type of a consistent basis.

We are unsure if this employee evaluation process should be on an annual, semi-annual, or quarterly basis. Also what would be the very best format to evaluate our workers!  What standards do we go by? How do we track their performance over time and avoid the mistake of evaluating them primarily on the most recent events? What are the key elements to focus on in each evaluation and do you have a guideline or format that you would suggest?

Steve, I know I’m asking a lot of questions. And I have a sneaking suspicion that you covered at least some of these subjects in my SFS seminar last summer. If so, I am sorry! (I was on information overload during SFS!)

I am confident that you would have some suggestions for us in this matter. Thank you for your time, Steve. We really appreciate it.

Tuning Things Up in New York

Dear Tuning,

Thanks for writing in. And yes, Tuning, I well remember you and your cohorts.  You New Yorkers definitely held our feet to the fire!

Your questions on evaluation and performance tracking systems are well thought-out and require careful thought.  ESPECIALLY with employee motivation/performance systems it is very important to avoid the “ready-fire-aim” syndrome!

I’m going to follow my time-honored practice of delegation (shirking?) here and bring my co-instructor, Bill Yeadon, into this question.  So Bill, what thoughts do you have for Tuning? Maybe between the two of us we can come up with something!

Here’s what Bill had to say:

I had to read this a few times to grasp what you are asking, Tuning. It appears there are two main questions you want to answer:

1) Are your employees happy and motivated? (The trendy term is “engaged”!)  

2) How is each worker doing at his or her job?

Of course, these two items are definitely intertwined. Engaged (happy) employees are almost always doing a better job simply because they are happy to come to work and enjoy and appreciate their job.

Here’s a research paper I wrote a while back about the motivation factor. As for the performance and productivity I think most of that comes from their attitude. (It is hard to be a good employee with a bad attitude.)

I know that Chuck Violand recently worked with a company that did “360 degree reviews”. In other words they got feedback from supervisors, peers, and those under them. This along with report cards from customers gave  a pretty good picture of each employee.

As for how often to evaluate I think the more often the better. I would think quarterly so as to nip any problems quickly before they affect other employees.


Bill’s analysis is dead on.  Happy employees just naturally “buy in” to both their job AND their company’s success.  Unhappy employees (One of the buzz terms now is “demotivated”) are just filling spaces. The problem is they tend to take others down with them.

Even with office staff one great idea is to add “accountability”.  (I even wrote this Special Report on “Adding Accountability”). I would encourage you to download it and yes, just like everything on this site it is free.)

Remember, the big reason to add accountability and track performance is NOT to beat your workers up. Instead, you need to recognize your people with PUBLIC RECOGNITION for specific accomplishments. I can’t stress this enough, Tuning.

Whatever performance factors you choose to track be sure your info gathering period is long enough to be fair but short enough to keep their attention.  And yes, above all else these evaluation systems need to be viewed as “fair”.  Otherwise your well-intentioned efforts will come crashing down in a morass of employee backbiting and bitterness!

Be sure to check out your SFS Operations Manual under Employees/Evaluation and Feedback for more ideas and written procedures. The 3,000 pages found on the USB “Business on a Flash Drive” we gave you in SFS will also have a lot of great employee procedures.


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