Manager Straight Talk: Why evaluations are important

Are you a manager who isn’t getting enough satisfaction from your job? It could be you need to be doing more evaluating!

London. Photo by Challen Yee (1989)

London. Photo by Challen Yee (1989)


The most satisfying aspect of my experience as a manager of building an integrated circuit (IC) drafting design group was trying to do my best with them individually, developing leadership, training, and challenging them to work as an effective team.

An important tool to assist in the effort to build morale is the evaluation process. It’s not just a piece of paper with a percentage pay raise, it is a process.

Evaluations are challenging enough to do and thought provoking and would certainly be difficult work if you don’t prepare for them. It’s unfair to your employee and to the company if you do not take evaluations seriously. Evaluations are an official testimony of a person’s work and contribution to the company. Why shouldn’t it be treated with its due importance?

As a manager, you are the official representative of your company to your employee and under normal conditions your employee’s go-to person when they have issues and concerns.

In order to make writing evaluations easier, take personal note of accomplishments and struggles of your people throughout the evaluation cycle. Moreover, take note of your formal and informal counseling sessions and project reviews for each person.

Yes, that’s going to compete for some of your technical time, but that ought to be in your job code. It helps establish the human side of all this technical work. It’s an important step in your ongoing efforts to understanding how to best work with each employee.

Standard psychology dictates that it’s never easier for a subordinate to approach a superior, no matter how good of a relationship you think you have. On rare occasions this rule doesn’t apply. This is one reason why I hate the common technique of employees having to evaluate themselves by filling out their own forms. I think it is stupid. Can I say that? I think it is stupid. There, I said it again. I suspect some academic ideologue conjured this up add sold corporate America a bill of goods and corporate America doesn’t know any better.

While this method may make it easier to generate written reports, it steals an important motivator for managers to take a proactive approach to building functional working relationships.  Companies suffer as a result.

Formal and informal counseling sessions are important to make sure you and your employee are on the same wavelength throughout the evaluation cycle. When things are going well and when things are going bad. And when things are going bad, it is critical, I said critical, to have a running history. Signatures on counseling review forms are a good idea if that conforms with your HR regs.

If you have a problem employee, don’t assume they are a problem for life. As a manager, you should want to help them get better. It’s a waste of resources if you have an employee under-achieving without guidance and feedback. Your attention and attitude to developing the talent of your group can make a difference between a problem employee and a productive one that enjoys his or her work.

Not everyone is a self-starter, nor is everyone able to turn their bad behavior around, but with with the positive influence of the manager, you will be an important catalyst in what would otherwise be just another employee number lost in the history of your company.

If you want to make an impact and really help connect your people into the company, you may need to build some personal management skills and take the process of evaluations seriously.

If you have received any value from this, please like, share and comment.

I’ll see you… on the next page

P.S. Go to my blog at and check out my free report on the essential key to improve your career.

Challen Yee

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