woman looking stressedOne of the things I see with almost every client I work with is the difficulty every manager faces in completing performance appraisals, also called evaluations. The primary issue is that most managers do not do any documenting throughout the year on their employee’s performance and find themselves searching through the database of their memory to think of a few things positive and hopefully not more than a few things negative that each employee has done in the last 6 months, which usually nets out to the last 2 weeks because they are so busy that’s as far back as they can remember.

As a Director at a nonprofit with 15 staff, doing evaluations on my 6 managers took me nearly two full days to complete, not including the additional 6+ hours of meetings with each of them! If you’re job is anything like mine was you just do not have the time to do this and the employee’s evaluation suffers.

I have the solution! It is simple and yet many mangers find it so hard to implement …. take ongoing performance notes on each employee. Using an online automated system–which is extremely economical even for small organizations–is extraordinarily helpful. Whatever choose the system should have an option for you to easily take and keep ongoing performance notes on each employee. A great system will have the option for you to quickly paste the notes you have kept throughout the performance appraisal cycle into an employee’s final evaluation.

If however, you are not interested in an online system you can still use the same process. Simply buy a notebook and create a tabbed section for each employee. This is a good method of collecting ongoing documentation. Each time an employee does something that is noteworthy, whether good or bad, jot it down in their section of your notebook. Each section should have a folder (yes, just like the notebooks you used in middle school) so that you can quickly print off emails from clients, customers, or other employees and slip them in the employees folder. Come evaluation time you will have all you need at your fingertips.

Missing this step creates ongoing performance issues among staff and greater frustration for you as a manager throughout the year and especially at evaluation time. Taking a few seconds per employee per week will save you days at the end of the performance appraisal cycle at evaluation time.