5 Reasons Your Performance Evaluations Should Correlate With Your Job Descriptions

When evaluating an employee, it's critical that the parameters you’re using are fair and appropriate. The best way to ensure this is to use the employee’s job description as the primary guideline for assessing his value to your organization.  Judging staff members on criteria that fall outside of their job description is not fair to them—or you. Here are the top five reasons why it's important for your performance evaluations to correlate with your job descriptions.

Performance Evaluations

1. Fairness Comes from Comparing Apples to Apples

Assuming that an accurate and well-written job description was used when you hired the employee (if not, then it’s time to rewrite it), you have the ideal checklist in hand. You can sync your evaluation agenda to each job description simply by turning every component into a benchmark. For example, if part of the job description for your office manager is “maintaining adequate supplies” then your performance evaluation form can simply read “maintained adequate supplies” along with the ability to rate the task from excellent to poor. You can do this with every item in the job description. That way you know you are never comparing apples to oranges, because all the apples came from the same barrel. 

2. Accuracy Comes from Specificity

Going into a performance evaluation without a clear plan of what you want to assess can result in a complete waste of time for both you and your employee. If you want the evaluation to provide you with an accurate picture of where your employee is compared to where you need him to be, you need a road map—and you need to follow it. What better guide could you possibly have than a job description that spells out everything expected of your employee? When you have a specific list in front of you of every duty the person you’re reviewing could legitimately be expected to perform, getting sidetracked is almost impossible. 

3. Efficiency Comes from Consistency

You’re already busy with a million other things besides performance reviews. So why spend time reinventing the wheel when you don’t have to? Having a standard, consistent method of linking performance reviews to job descriptions will save you a ton of time and hassles. After all, there will be no guessing games, no asking yourself if you should include “this” or “that” in the evaluation; you simply need to align your evaluation criteria with what has already been determined as the most essential aspects of the job.

4. Serenity Comes from Stability

Many employees, as well as employers, dread performance evaluations. But a lot of that anxiety can be quelled if both sides know exactly what to expect. A large part of the stress of performance evaluations comes from anticipating the unknown. People tend to picture the worst-case scenarios, trying to second guess all of the possible “left field” dialogue that might come up during the review, often resulting in the consumption of an entire bottle of Tums. However, if the employee knows his review will be directly aligned with his job description, much of that anxiety can dissolve. This is also beneficial to you as an employer, since no one wants to be handing out criticism—no matter how constructive it may be—to a totally stressed out staff member in a vulnerable position.

5. Success Comes From Common Sense

When it comes down to it, aligning job descriptions with performance reviews simply makes good sense. Sometimes the greatest successes come from the simplest solutions. There is no need to create a high-stress situation that's not productive or becomes volatile. So many of the negative stigmas associated with performance reviews can be avoided by providing consistent, dependable evaluations that stick to the plan. Added bonus: There is really no way an employee can claim the evaluation was unfair if you adhere to these standards. Why put yourself in the awkward position of being accused of bias or playing favorites when you can simply point to the documents in front of you and say, “I am evaluating every employee on the criteria in their job description.” They can’t argue with the facts (at least not successfully).

Correlating your performance evaluations with your job descriptions is not only practical, it’s smart. The entire experience will be more palatable on both sides, because no one has to worry about unfair judgments, wasted time, defensive outbursts or erroneous outcomes. Plus, you’ll never have to hear those maddening words, “that’s not in my job description” again.

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