Successfully Evaluate and Reward Employees

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives. Teresa Riccobuono

In my previous article, I discussed the key steps for successfully bringing a new employee into your firm. Let’s now turn to the best practices for evaluating and compensating employees.

Evaluating employees

An employee evaluation should never be a surprise. If you have an issue with a staff member, don't wait until his evaluation to discuss it. The same goes for praise. If your staff member is doing a great job, don't wait to tell him. Be specific in your praise. Don’t say, “You are doing a great job.” Instead say, “I really appreciate the way you are able to diffuse an angry client.”

Be sure you have a concise job description, provide clear expectations and have determined an appropriate time line for learning new tasks. A vague job description or expectations don't provide the necessary framework for a successful outcome.

Sit down with your staff members on a regular basis. Quarterly should be sufficient after their first year on the job. Use a short evaluation for the quarterly check-ins and a longer, more thorough version for the formal, annual evaluation. Develop a plan to remedy any problems.

Ask your staff member to complete a self-evaluation before you write your evaluation. You want to see where you are in agreement and more importantly, where you may have differing opinions.

Questions to have your staff member complete for their self-evaluation:

  1. What do you think you are doing well?
  2. What would you like to be doing better?
  3. What do you need help with?
  4. What would you like to change?

Other questions to pose:

  1. What will your main focus be for the next three months?
  2. What new discoveries (or items of learning) are you planning?
  3. What new partnerships (or relationships) are you hoping to build?

Credit goes to Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D. for these last three questions as written in their book, Now, Discover Your Strengths, a follow-up to Marcus’s book First, Break All The Rules, which was co-authored with Curt Coffman.

As the leader, your job is to guide, coach, tutor and provide vision, doing whatever is necessary for your employee to succeed. You and your employees are jointly accountable for the quality of their work. If anyone on the team is not doing well, it might be a reflection on your ability to provide the necessary environment, training, and tools to succeed.