Skills for More Effective Employee Evaluations

September 12, 2016

Use a technique familiar to your training and experience. Look at each employee’s performance the same way you approach diagnosing a patient. For example, if you like using the traditional “S.O.A.P.” approach, apply the same technique when you review a staffer’s work.

Subjective

Asking for employee input can revolutionize your evaluation pro­cess. Have staffers rate themselves — perhaps giving each one a blank evaluation form to fill out. When asked, workers usually rate themselves lower than their supervisors do.

Listen carefully to employees’ self-evaluations for clues about:

  • how they feel regarding the practice in general and their specific jobs
  • what specific ways they think they need to improve
  • what hinders them from achieving top performance
  • how you can become a more effective boss

Objective

When first setting up your performance evaluation program, work with staffers, supervisors and managers to come up with measurable performance standards for each position. You’ll find it easy to measure some standards — like answering the phone within three rings or process­ing 25 insurance claims per day. Other criteria pose a challenge: How do you measure a receptionist’s good judgment in potentially difficult situations, for example?

For less “scientific” performance standards, rely on your own observa­tions and reports from supervisors or co-workers. In a solo or two-doctor practice, a physician might work closely enough with most employees to pull it off. But if you practice in a group, don’t try to act as the primary reviewer for an employee with whom you have little contact — trust that person’s direct supervisor.

Record your data and observa­tions for each employee on a perfor­mance review form designed for that position. Most boilerplate forms for general business need a lot of work before you can use them effectively in a typical medical office.

Create performance review forms that reflect the areas covered by each position’s job description. Design forms that guide you through the performance standards you devel­oped for each position.

Scoring can present a challenge — especially for performance standards that don’t rely on “hard data.” However, scoring is a part of the process. Think of each performance level as indicating how satisfied you are with each person’s work:

  • Significantly below standards
  • Disappointed
  • Needs improvement — concerned
  • Meets standards — satisfied
  • Exceed standards — pleased
  • Significantly exceeds standards

Assessment

After scoring how well the employee meets standards in each area of responsibility, create a summary “diagnosis” of his/her performance. Watch for trends and tendencies. See if you can identify the worker’s greatest strengths and most troublesome weaknesses.

Schedule an appointment with the worker to go over your evaluation of his/her performance. Chart progress (or lack of it) since the last review. Specifically discuss goals you set at that time — has the worker met, exceeded or fallen short?

Plan

Obviously, it does little good to simply deliver a performance score without creating a future plan for improvement. Even excellent em­ployees need a plan that goes beyond “keep up the good work!” Work with them to identify interests and oppor­tunities for additional training and expanded responsibilities. Don’t let a good worker grow stale.

Provide each employee with a copy of personal goals to work on. Have him/her sign a brief statement on the file copy that says s/he received the evaluation. If the employee disagrees strongly about any part of the evaluation, allow him/her to write a note to go into the file with the evaluation. Work hard to impress workers with your objectivity and fairness.

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