Everyone wants to decrease their paper trail in the office, and that makes sense. But when it comes to that annual performance review it's may be a better idea to get the old-fashioned paper back out.
While you could conduct an employee performance review without any forms or documents, the advantages of having a set template outweigh just winging it. Here are just a few reasons why:
Instead of having to think on your feet or worry that you'll forget to cover something important, an employee evaluation form provides an outline of talking points during your face-to-face meeting.
Consistency Among Team Members.
While they want to be friendly, managers do have to be careful with being too casual at review time. Winging a review puts you at risk of being charged with bias or favoritism because of what you do or don't cover. An employee evaluation form helps ensure workers get evaluated in a standard manner on the same criteria.
A comprehensive look at your employee pinpoints where the person excels and where he requires improvement. For instance, a pattern of low scores on items related to professionalism and interpersonal relationships may signal the need for some soft skills training.
By making use of the same review format for all employees you may also be able to identify team wide patterns, uncovering a need to rethink some of your processes altogether.
Keep Everyone on the Same Page
An employee's view of his performance may not match your opinion. By clearing up misperceptions, both of you know where things stand and can take measures to better define what's expected.
This point is particularly important. A recent study found that Millennials in particular have a hard time with performance reviews, with 74 percent reporting that they frequently feel “in the dark” about how their managers and peers think they’re performing at work but more than half (59 percent) frequently feel their manager is unprepared to give feedback during performance reviews. Having a set template can help solve that problem.
A Lasting Record
An employee evaluation form signed by both manager and employee acknowledges that an employee performance review took place and serves as a point of reference. This paper trail helps support future HR decisions, such as promotion or termination.
Why do things the old-fashioned way? Why not use a software program instead of pen and paper? Again, it goes back to that survey we mentioned. Many employees are actively frightened by performance reviews. Nearly one in four (22 percent) surveyed said they have called in sick because they were anxious about receiving their review.
Sitting across from them, eyes down, taping away on a keyboard is not going to make them feel any better. Quiet note taking is far less obtrusive and intimidating and the review sheets will take just a few seconds to scan into whatever electronic file system you prefer later.