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“Don’t be an idiot.” Inspirational comments for employee evaluations!


Last week I wrote about some of the pitfalls to avoid regarding employee reviews, specifically, not just using the time to point out mistakes an employee has made. This is one of the primary reason when companies announce reviews, everyone gets a bit anxious, while they wait for their manager to “catch” them on some random error. So, the question is, what should the goal of an employee evaluation be?


In my humble opinion, a good evaluation should take time to reflect on an employee’s career arc and focus on general areas they can develop both personally and professionally. It should rise above day to day tasks and activities. An evaluation is meant to be uplifting, inspiring, motivating, stimulating, thought provoking, and encouraging!


Read the following written feedback an employee received from a standardized evaluation form. “Mike is a good employee who collaborates with his colleagues, is punctual with his work, and is a positive contributor. I would like to see Mike put more emphasis on his written communications. Due to the nature of our work with outsourced workers, it is essential this area is shored up.


This sort of feedback both the positive and the negative looks like it could have been thrown together by some form of computer program! It is in no way inspiring, motivating, nor does it give the employee any inkling about their career development. “Mike” has nothing more to aspire to aside from solid written communications and then he’s the model employee? What about this manager giving insights as to why he enjoys Mike's collaboration? How has Mike's work changed over the course of time from the previous evaluation?


How do you think Mike feels when he walks out of his managers office? Inspired? Uplifted? Motivated? Maybe, inspired or motivated to look for a new job…


Now, here’s a simplified version of a slightly more advanced evaluation for another employee.


“Dana, you did such an outstanding job handling the mid-sized accounts we gave you last year. A few of them reached out to me telling me how professional you were and how happy they are having you on their account. They loved your attention to detail and your thorough explanations. Although our junior account executives usually don’t take on this responsibility, I think you’re more than ready to tackle some of our larger accounts. It will give you a bit more of a challenge and you can learn a lot more by handling a wider variety of issues. I know you’ve had to cancel some of your weekly calls with the clients due to scheduling conflicts but keep in mind with the large accounts you must make the time each week. Constant communication with them is one of our key success factors.


Dana walks out feeling invigorated! She’s busted her behind to do well with the mid-sized accounts and her hard work has paid off. Her manager has provided feedback and appreciation as to her efforts and is rewarding her with more challenging work! And his feedback about the conference calls was spot on and not “nitpicky”. Rather it was an essential piece of advice to help her succeed with the new accounts.


One thing is clear. A good manager will truly apply his or herself to provide an all-encompassing employee evaluation featuring many levels of depth. More on that next week...!

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