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If I Give my Employees Regular Feedback About Their Work, Why do I Need to Conduct Formal Evaluations?

Formal evaluations provide a framework for discussing the overall work of an employee. The information that comes out can lead to corrections of deficiencies and improved performance. Formal assessments can give employees recognition for past work and reinforcement for continued performance at that level. It can also identify employees who could benefit from coaching, to build their job skills, and formal counseling if there performance is marginal.

Finally, because appraisals are formalized, assessments are taken more seriously—not only by your employees but also you. The formal evaluation sets a baseline against which your employees can measure their own progress, and it forces you, as a manager, to look at each of your people in an objective manner and to take steps to improve their performance—even encourage them toward achievement of more challenging objectives.

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Both managers and employees dread performance assessments. On one side, employees worry because raises and promotions are at stake, sometimes even their job security. Managers also don’t like them, because they are required to judge others. It’s particularly uncomfortable when the employees’ cooperation and support are necessary to bottom-line success. A good appraisal system relieves the pressure on both sides. When objectives are clear and set by managers and employees working together, and when they jointly monitor progress toward them, fair and accurate appraisals are almost guaranteed. Good workers get the recognition they deserve, and poor performers learn about problems hopefully before they grow out of control. Identified early, marginal performers can be salvaged through coaching and/or counseling.