Employee Evaluations – Dos and Don’ts
By Dr. Ramiro Zuniga
In Part 1, I discussed specific practices that an administrator could use from the beginning of the evaluation process to the end. In Part 2, I will focus on practices to avoid before, during, and after the evaluation process.
Employees should be made aware of the upcoming evaluations at least a week in advance. Administrators should, soon thereafter, provide each employee with the scheduled date and time of their respective evaluation conference. This will provide employees with enough time to consider points of discussion.
In preparation for completing the evaluation instrument, administrators should review email exchanges, memorandums, attendance reports, and other relevant documentation for each employee. Reviewing documentation collected since the previous evaluation allows an opportunity to better recall accomplishments and situations relevant to each employee.
Administrators should review an individual employee’s documentation and complete the evaluation process before proceeding to the next employee. This prevents the possibility of the administrator confusing facts or occurrences between employees.
Administrators also should be very aware of their personal emotional state. Completing an employee evaluation while angry or otherwise distracted could lead to an unfair evaluation that could be challenged and shown to be unsubstantiated. Retaliation or attacking an employee must never be the purpose of any evaluation.
A final review of the completed evaluation instrument should be carried out in an effort to identify and correct grammatical or typographical errors. Comments should be reviewed for clarity.
Administrators should never be distracted during an evaluation conference. Great care should be taken to ensure that each employee receives the respect of being seen and heard throughout the entire discussion.
Body language should always reflect seriousness and engagement on the part of the administrator; otherwise the employee may be led to believe that the evaluation is simply a required exercise.
Interruption of an evaluation conference must be prevented except for the most urgent situations. An interruption, if one occurs, should be explained to the employee so that the employee understands the circumstances and doesn’t feel slighted.
Any comments offered during the evaluation conference should be limited to those documented on the evaluation instrument. Specific incidents or examples can be used to support comments; these should also be documented on the evaluation instrument. Patronizing comments must never be offered. The evaluation in its entirety should be genuine.
Under no circumstances should an administrator lose their composure. Administrators should expect that individual employees may question or disagree with their score. In all cases, the administrator should remain calm, acknowledge the employee’s position and continue the evaluation discussion. Changing a score as a result of an employee’s objections should be considered taboo by all administrators. After all, each evaluation should have been given due diligence as it was being scored.
After the evaluation, post-discussion comments should be restricted to thanking the employee for their cooperation in the evaluation process. If any employee refuses to sign their evaluation, administrators should ask another administrator to come in and sign the evaluation instrument as a witness to the employee’s refusal to sign. Details of the evaluation should never be shared with the second administrator.
Throughout this process, administrators should keep in mind that evaluations are to be based on facts and observations that are documented. It would be a disservice to themselves, their employees, and their districts to complete evaluations in any other manner.
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