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Reprinted from CSP Magazine

As 2003 came to a close most levels of management probably had to do the undesirable task of completing Performance Evaluations on their team members. It’s not one of the most favorite things to do but it is however one that’s very important. It’s even more important that formal evaluations been given to frontline associates. We always say they’re the most important person in the business, they’re the ones that takes care of the customer, but unfortunate many organization fail to have a formal evaluation system in place for this level. If you currently complete a written evaluation form and meet with each frontline associate you should be proud and know that you’re the exception.

If you don’t, it’s not too late for 2003, it’s easier than you think, and it just may be one the best changes you implement in your business for 2004. Below are just a few reasons why you might want to consider a formal evaluation for frontline associates (even part –timers)

1. They want it. In nearly every focus group conducted with employees and asked what they rank as important to doing their job, feedback is always one of the top five answers.

2. Improved Performance& Morale. An employee may never know that they’re doing something that’s damaging to the business unless you tell them. Additionally this is a great opportunity to reinforce the good things they do. And just like children if we’re told we’re good at something we’re more likely to continue that behavior.

3. Lawsuits. A written and formal evaluation can protect you from legal claims of wrongful termination. Unfortunately we often don’t start the paper trial until we see a problem and have a plan to terminate someone. It’s important to start a paper trail as soon as someone is employed for consistency.

4. Expectations. This is a great time to reiterate your expectations of them. This is often done when we hire someone, but then they hear what other employees have to say and often tasks are not executed as you expected.

Getting Started: In order to conduct a fair evaluation you first must have goals. Employees should clearly know what’s expected of them specifically so they’ll know what they’re being measured against. For some they just think showing up for work and not stealing is enough.

1. Attendance
2. Tardiness
3. Shortages
4. Proper completion of shift sheet
5. Work Quality -cleaning, stocking, consistently maintaining coffee bar and restroom
6. Teamwork – do they help others prepare for the next shift, do they volunteer to work another shift in emergency situations, do they compliment other team members?
7. Initiative – do they generate ideas, do they volunteer to help with displays, or anything beyond running the register.
8. Customer Care – do they treat customers with respect and make efforts to get to know the customer, do they remain claim in stressful situations with customers, do they smile, great and thank every customer?

Keep a log for each worker, either on your computer or paper. Note incidents or projects either good or bad. This log will help you complete the evaluation form at year-end. It also ensures a balanced view rather than writing something that merely reflects current performance.

When you set up the meeting allow enough time to discuss everything. This may be one of the most important meetings you have with them all year. The overall tone should be as positive as possible. You want them to feel motivated to improve, not resentful. But don’t avoid giving them criticism if necessary. This may be uncomfortable at first but remember you and your bottom line can reap tremendous rewards for doing so.

© 2009 Employee Performance Strategies Inc.
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