Effective evaluation

4 12 2007

*NERD ALERT!*

Do you remember your last job evaluation? Was it effective? Were changes made as a result of it? Was it a total waste?

Today in class, we discussed performance measurement and appraisals and evaluations within the public sector. I know that sounds like a recipe for sudden narcolepsy, but I find it very interesting. It’s a very necessary component to any job, you know!

While discussing effective evaluation methods and what sorts of things the government has borrowed from private companies, I began thinking about my last job-related performance appraisal. This is how it went:

Boss lady: I want you to complete this evaluation on yourself to show me how you feel you’ve done. I will complete the same evaluation for you. Then we will compare answers and discuss.
Me: OK.
Boss lady: After that, you will complete an evaluation for my performance and we will discuss it during the same meeting.
Me: (thinking “you can not be serious! WTF?!?”) OK.

Needless to say, that was the most irrelevant and ineffective evaluation I’ve ever had for any job, service or class in my life. There we sat, the entire department (all both of us), telling each other what we thought of the other’s performance. You know I didn’t say ONE honest thing about her!! I think this was the catalyst to get my feet to moving out of there. First of all, the 6 month evaluation happened at about 7 or 8 months. Secondly, what do I look like telling the person responsible for my livelihood that I questioned her focus? I learned from the first plantation (thanks Babs!) that no boss lady really wants to know what you think. Learned that lesson well.

As I began to talk about this in class tonight, the absurdity of it all just poured over me. Besides my evaluation not effectively measuring the tasks I was regularly responsible for, it was face-to-face with boss lady who is as beautiful as they come and tall as Dikembe Mutombo. I thought back to my interview, the one where everyone had a handout of questions to ask me that they read off of, never deviating from the page. I thought back to how my responsibilities changed drastically between being sent the offer letter and day 8 on the j-o-b. I thought back to all those weekends, all those evenings, all that time taken away from my schooling, all the unpaid overtime, all the non-work-hour text messages…and I just laughed! I talked about it, thought about it, and finally, finally laughed about it. It felt good to vent! I digress…

Ineffective job evaluations waste time and money (time away from doing your job, time spent performing the evaluation, resources used during the evaluation). Effective evaluations show employees how their performance has helped reach an ultimate goal. We often get caught up counting the number of documents filed and comparing how many more cases they closed this year than last. That might encourage an increase in efficiency while sacrificing effectiveness. That’s not good.

So managers, stop micro-managing (boss lady stayed looking over my shoulder)! Stay off people’s backs! Let them perform the tasks you’re going to evaluate them on. Better yet, show them how their tasks relate to the bigger picture and how this will benefit them. Even better, reward them for effectively finishing projects with efficiency! We all pretend to be altruistic and team-focused during interviews, but once that final list of responsibilities is presented to us, we all need to know how we will personally benefit from performing those tasks. I’m speaking truth y’all!

I’m just trying to help someone. 🙂

That was good practical application of my schooling, huh?

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