With tax season now a (hopefully pleasant) distant memory and our team members that are feverishly working towards their April 30th deadlines, we must now shift our focus and attention to completing year-end evaluations. Downward reviews are due 5:00pm on May 2nd; Upwards on May 6th.
Every year we express the importance of this process to the professional development of all of our staff at every level and in every department. This year is certainly no different. As our firm continues to grow, we must leverage the results of these surveys to help our staff grow in their careers and expand their skill sets, which in turn helps us retain the best and the brightest staff who provide the world class client service for which we are known.
Please take the time to read the following, reflecting on these important factors when completing either an “upward” or a “downward” review:
- It is natural when doing the reviews to think about constructive criticism and ways for people to improve, but just as important is making sure you comment and illustrate areas where people excel and where they do a great job. The evaluation presents a great opportunity to give a “pat on the back” that is deserved which motivates people to do an even better job.
- When offering constructive criticism, remember that the goal is to encourage a change in behavior. Mean-spirited and rude comments are either taken too personally causing hurt feelings, or are just flat out ignored as being simply inappropriate. After writing the comment, think about how you would react if the comment was given to you.
- The goal is to provide honest feedback to each person as a member of our Withum team. Please remember to evaluate everyone based upon the question and their job performance, not personal feelings nor “hearsay.” If you do not rate honestly, ratings become over- or under-inflated and therefore less meaningful.
- Performance cannot be improved, and good performance will not be sustained, if the person doesn’t know about it.
- Honest, written documentation is essential where performance problems exist. Performance reviews completed honestly provide important supporting documentation to help justify a person’s raise or promotion (or lack thereof).
Everyone needs to understand and apply the ratings accurately:
The Downward evaluation rates individuals from 1 through 5, with 5 being the highest. Avoid personal bias like, “No one is a 5,” or “I really don’t know, so I will give them a 3.” A “3” represents expected performance and is the starting point of all evaluations and if you “don’t really know,” then you shouldn’t be evaluating that person. Look at the facts. For example, if a job had a significant overrun, then what was the individual’s contribution to it? Was that person efficient or were there outside factors which caused the overrun? I would not expect to see a “4” or “5” in this situation, but it does depend on the circumstances. Nothing has a simple answer. You are expected to think about each rating. Remember, the development of the staff is part of all of our jobs, so it is critical that we do an honest and fair job.
The Upward evaluation is considered a development tool for those team members who manage people, providing feedback in the areas of Managing, Leading and Developing Staff, as well as Client Service. The ratings are from ‘never’ to ‘always’ with additional levels in between. Similar to the downwards reviews, please avoid personal bias. Instead, reflect on the performance demonstrated throughout the year, and indicate which areas could use some improvement, which ultimately is a win-win for everyone.
If you have any questions whatsoever regarding the evaluation process, please feel free to contact your PIC, Joan Kampo in Human Resources, or even myself. We are all here to help each other.