Research

Must-Do Steps for Trustworthy Performance Evaluation

Overview
Must-Do Steps for Trustworthy Performance Evaluation cover

Individual performance management is more important than ever—it's key to helping an organization achieve its strategic goals.

This study outlines 10 steps HR leaders must take to develop effective and trustworthy performance evaluations.

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Why invest in individual performance management?

Performance management is a powerful tool for focusing all employees on strategic goals. But for many organizations, the process has become so cumbersome and unhelpful that executives, leaders, and staff question whether it's worth the effort.

Research suggests yes; health care organizations with strong performance management processes outperform on productivity, patient satisfaction, and other critical metrics.

That's not to say HR leaders can rely on existing evaluation practices and expect strong results—the key is developing a process that prioritizes the right strategic goals and accurate ratings.

Set concrete, strategically aligned goals for every employee

Many organizations say they hold all staff accountable for overall performance, but few include specific outcomes-based goals in all evaluations. That's largely due to time—reviewing performance goals for every employee is a laborious process.

But if HR leaders get involved at the beginning of the process and give employees a concrete list of strategic goals to choose from, they won't have to review the goals one-by-one later.

Clearly define qualitative criteria

To further streamline and improve the evaluation process, HR should limit qualitative performance criteria to a set of clearly defined job duties and observable behaviors. This equips managers to deliver concrete, meaningful feedback to direct reports.

It's easy to spend months—or even years—perfecting the language of qualitative criteria. The key is to identify which qualitative sections of the evaluation truly need improvement and which are already "good enough."

Improve evaluation accuracy

Even the best evaluation forms fall short if managers can't overcome barriers to giving accurate reviews. Accurate evaluations let organizational leaders know who their true top performers are and who needs more support—but managers often inflate ratings to avoid uncomfortable conversations with staff.

To address this problem, we've developed tools HR and managers can use to ease review delivery, improve rating distribution and consistency, and address ratings that fall outside a target range.



10 steps for trustworthy performance evaluation

All of these are critical to trustworthy performance evaluation. Take our quick audit to find your gaps, and use the resources below to address them.

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Set strategically aligned, SMART goals

    • Step 1: Establish the right goal picklist for your organization
    • Step 2: Agree on no more than five performance goals for each leader
    • Step 3: Set appropriately challenging targets

Limit the number of job duties and behaviors

    • Step 4: Include no more than seven job duties
    • Step 5: Include no more than seven clearly defined behaviors
    • Step 6: Include no more than 10 leadership competencies
    • Step 7: Equip medical staff leaders to provide qualitative feedback to physicians

Equip managers to rate more accurately

    • Step 8: Empower mangers to lead difficult performance conversations
    • Step 9: Provide managers visibility into how they grade
    • Step 10: Make managers back up their ratings

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