Today I am evaluating students who are working under me. The evaluation process is interesting from both sides as I have to submit an evaluation of myself as well. How can one really assess their abilities without, 1) sounding like someone tooting their horn or 2) produce meaningful content that can create a sense of accomplishment and sustainable work? As I write up my responses to the students and review what I wrote about myself, I begin to wonder the usefulness of this process. There is a need to review what was completed in the past year and what could be improved upon in the coming months. But is the self-evaluation the best method? But then of course what would be the best method?
First off evaluations is useful for two reasons, display the number of achievements completed in the last year and to provide justification of the usefulness of the employee. Achievements are leveraged by the employee requesting more pay or viability of keeping this person around by management. That is it. So with that in mind, what is the best way to achieve this without pulling teeth? There is the “1 to 5” scale on pre-determined evaluators used by both employee and management. Simple in design, the scale method gives employers a quantitative method of evaluating employees. It is easy to fill out and it is easy to track improvements. The big bummer about it is how sterile and cold it is to the employee. You cannot help but to feel like a mindless drone when filling one of these forms out. Plus, giving your self all fives prevent potential improvements so averages of four is seen across the board. I guess you can tell I do not care much with this system.
That leaves then the self evaluation method. Write up a brief summary of what you did and what you want in the coming year for management to review. It is very personable, goals are specific to each individual and a “story” is developed about the employee. The big downer is that this method cannot be charted like businesses would like. The time consumed to first generate the evaluation by the employee, review it and respond to it and then meet is somewhat wasteful. This takes away from day to day work. That last sentence sounded a bit cold but as a business owner, that is how it is.
So what do I think is the best method? How about a ticket tracking system? Ticket is generated for work and assigned to an employee. The employee accepts the ticket, update it with work completed and track the hours used on that ticket. The system is centrally managed and at the end of the year, a report is generated with personal comments on each ticket and quantitative data is collected. Sure it is a bit cold but both numeric as well as personal data can be tracked and the time to complete each ticket encapsulates the data entry portion of ticket maintenance. These systems do exist, trac and heat to name a few. Sure these systems are for IT professionals but why not create something similar for other professions? I personally like using these systems as they save a lot of faded memory that occurs trying to figure out what I did during the past year. No they are not perfect as there is still time wasted on reviewing the reports but it sure beats the alternatives.
But hey do you know what is truly the best idea of them all? Win the lottery, quit the job and buy a really nice fishing pole. Take that fishing pole and track your achievements by the size of the catch. Now THAT is the best evaluation of a person.