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How to Onboard New Hires Successfully

While it is sometimes seen as a compliance chore, onboarding is an incredibly important part of an employee’s journey with your company. It is their introduction to life at your organization and it is important to lay the proper groundwork for a long lasting and productive relationship.

A mishandled orientation can result in employees starting work already looking for the exit. But a thoughtful, thorough onboarding process can get them truly excited about working with you, causing them to be engaged with their work and more likely to stay put for years to come. You’ve already invested a lot of time and energy into bringing the new hire into your business, it’s worth the extra energy to set a strong foundation for the rest of their time at your company.

There are several foundational pillars to cover in a successful onboarding: the employee’s knowledge base and their integration into their new team, the company culture, and the mission/vision. You should provide them with the tools they need to succeed in their new position, and let them know where to go for help. At the same time, it’s important to connect them with the people they will be working with for the foreseeable future, and get them to buy into the mission and culture behind your work.

So you have to cover all of the bases getting a new hire integrated into the company’s systems, setting up their benefits and employment paperwork, giving them the knowledge they need to thrive at your company, AND make sure you get the human side of orientation right? In case that seems overwhelming, we have come up with two checklists to help you streamline and make the most of the onboarding process. Let’s take a look at those lists and then tackle how you can ace the “soft” side of orientation too.

New Hire Document Checklist

  1. Form I-9
  2. Form W-4
  3. Confidentiality agreement
  4. Emergency contact information
  5. Benefit forms
  6. Employee handbook
  7. Offer letter and job description
  8. Direct deposit form
  9. Organizational chart
  10. Phone list and office map
  11. Safety instructions
  12. Personnel action form
  13. State-required new hire pamphlets
  14. Other state or local documentation requirements
  15. Any other material a new hire would find useful on the first day

Orientation/Onboarding Procedure Checklist

  1. Review and discuss new hire paperwork
  2. Schedule or conduct safety training
  3. Provide tour and introductions with manager
  4. Provide information on company logistics including work station location, break rooms, and restrooms
  5. Provide instructions for phone and computer access
  6. Sign agreements for security access and keys
  7. Explain timekeeping requirements
  8. Explain organization structure (provide organization chart and job description)
  9. Discuss company mission, vision, values, and goals
  10. Describe company products and services
  11. Describe benefits of working at the company (employee benefits, job opportunities, etc.)

Get the Human Part of Onboarding Right

With so many technical details to cover during onboarding, it can be easy to forget the interpersonal aspect of orientation. The first day, and even the first few weeks, can be a stressful time for a new hire. They’ve made a serious commitment, and they want to be sure that they made the right choice. Since the onboarding process may well set the tone for the rest of their time with the company, it’s important to do as much as you can to set their minds at rest by showing what an awesome, supportive workplace they’re joining.

The great news is that there is a reason why they chose to work at your company, so you don’t have to do anything particularly different to make their first weeks go smoothly. Instead, you can just build on the energy that you developed during the hiring process. You have already convinced the new hire that your business is special, now show them what that means for their day to day life at your company and how they will fit into your mission and your culture.

The best way to ensure that a new hire has a rewarding, productive onboarding is to get buy-in from the rest of their team. Get all of the team members involved in equipping the new hire with the information they need to flourish in their new job and making them feel as welcome as possible. There is no better way to show a new employee that they matter than to get the people they will be working with for the next several years deeply involved in their onbarding. It will make them feel welcomed and appreciated, connect them to the people they will need to help them hit the ground running in their new position, and jump-start their integration into your company culture.

Perhaps the most important people to get involved in the new hire’s orientation are their direct managers and team leaders. These are the people who will be guiding the new employee once orientation is over, so it’s important to start with a strong foundation of trust. Don’t treat an introductory lunch with the manager as a mere formality; encourage your management team to take orientation seriously and really try to get to know the new hire. As much as possible, make managers responsible for onboarding and orientation to get them engaged in the process of integrating the new employee into their team.

Finally, make sure that both HR and managers check in on new hires regularly during orientation and the first weeks of work. You want to identify any issues, fears, or misgivings as quickly as possible to ensure a smooth onboarding process. Plus, it’s important to set the precedent of communication and transparency, and to show employees that you care about what they think, from day one.

Key Takeaways

Onboarding is your opportunity to show a new hire what makes your company special and make sure that you start the relationship on the right foot. Use our easy checklists to make covering your compliance bases easier so that you can focus on the human side of onboarding. Just make sure to:

  • Provide a consistent experience from the first interview through the first months of employment
  • Equip new hires with the information they need to flourish in their new position
  • Show new employees how they fit into the company culture and how they will contribute to the mission/vision
  • Get managers and team members involved in orientation to build effective, productive teams

Like many parts of assembling your workforce and developing your culture, onboarding and orientation can be a very personal experience. You should tailor the onboarding process to your needs and priorities. But hopefully these checklists and key takeaways will help you get started on perfecting the experience for your new hires.

How to Build A Diverse, Talented Workforce

This post is a guest post written by Lauchways Diversity and Inclusion partner, Chanté Thurmond.

So, you want to learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion, generally referred to as DEI. That’s good news, because building a diverse and talented workforce is the best way to set your company up for success.

Recent studies show that greater gender and racial diversity each are directly correlated with increased profitability and value creation. Companies with the most women and minorities in leadership positions are between 20-30% more likely to achieve above average financial performance.

As a DEI consultant, I have a lot experience guiding companies through the difficult and often treacherous process of tackling the issues of diversity and inclusion. Every individual and company’s journey will be different, and each faces their own challenges. But in this article, I will share some of the biggest lessons that I have learned about implementing DEI through helping my clients through their journeys. Most business leaders, managers, and HR professionals can increase diversity and inclusion to build a diverse and talented workforce by following these six basic steps:

  • Raising their awareness of DEI issues
  • Aligning their mission/vision and culture with DEI
  • Making diversity part of their brand
  • Keeping all of their employees happy and engaged
  • Offering compelling and inclusive benefits
  • Building a diverse network

Who Should Learn About DEI?

If you are reading this article, odds are that you bear at least some responsibility for the hiring or make-up of your company’s teams. Let’s take a look at who can benefit the most, and have the most impact, by learning about diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion efforts are most effective when they are are built from the ground up, as a fundamental part of a company. For that reason, the people who can have the greatest impact on DEI are the founders/leaders of startups and SMEs – business leaders who still bear the responsibility for developing their team and defining their culture. If you are an entrepreneur or small business person, you have the power to implement the principles of diversity and inclusion in every part of your business.

The second most important group of people to read this article and learn about DEI in general are managers and HR professionals at startups or high-growth organizations. These people’s jobs are to attract talent and maintain effective teams. They are the front lines of any diversity and inclusion effort at a larger company – and many smaller ones as well.

Finally, it’s important to educate anyone who has heard about DEI and is interested in learning more. If everyone were well-versed in DEI issues, companies wouldn’t have nearly as hard a time building diverse teams and making sure that they are genuinely inclusive. So, please share these ideas with anyone you think might take them to heart or learn from them, not just key stakeholders.

Raise Your Awareness

The first step to tackling any new issue is to deeply understand it. DEI can be an extremely complex and highly-charged topic, so it is especially important that you have as nuanced an understanding of it as you can in order to address it effectively. Misguided DEI efforts can alienate your employees and hurt diversity, rather than helping it.

There are plenty of resources to turn to in order to understand the topic. I encourage you to take it upon yourself to do some research and learn about what DEI is and how business leaders can best foster it. To get you started, here are some key terms that you should understand:

  • Diversity
  • Equity & Equality
  • Inclusion
  • Accessibility
  • Socioeconomics
  • Social Justice
  • Disparities
  • Privilege
  • Bias
  • Oppression
  • Marginalization

Also, think about what groups you are having trouble attracting and retaining and do research into common challenges they face, missteps that companies make to exclude them, and needs that they might have. Just don’t forget to treat your employees as individuals no matter what their race, gender, or orientation.

Align Your Mission/Vision

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the concepts of DEI, it’s time to put them to work in your organization. The best way to make your company truly diverse and inclusive is to put the principles of DEI at the very core of your company mission/vision and culture. Those three things drive the direction, priorities, and very nature of your company, so orienting them at least partially around diversity and inclusion can have a significant impact on how well your company works for all employees.

Your culture and mission/vision are also important parts of your hiring process: you want to hire candidates who fit into your mission and who buy into the values behind your culture. So, basing them on DEI will help you attract diverse talent and candidates who believe in diversity and inclusion.

Make Diversity Part of Your Brand

What you tell the world about your company defines its reality. So, make DEI a part of your brand! Make it clear to the world that you are a steward of diversity and inclusion to attract diverse employees, clients, and business partners.

Every social media post, blog article, and job posting should reflect your key values and commitment to diversity. Bottom line: walk the talk because consistency and integrity matter, and people are paying attention to your words as well as your actions.

Keep All of Your Employees Happy and Engaged

This is where inclusion really comes into play. All employees should be on a level playing field with equal opportunities for advancement and equal involvement in the life of your company. 

It doesn’t matter how diverse your hiring practices are if you have trouble engaging and retaining employees of all backgrounds. If any employees feel left out or alienated during their day to day experiences at your company, are passed up for promotions or new responsibilities, or are not sufficiently recognized for their accomplishments, then chances are they will leave.

Keeping your employees happy and engaged also pays off in more ways than just keeping them around. Happy employees are more productive, more effective collaborators, and better representatives of your brand. Your employees’ true feelings about your company will become clear in the ways that they interact with their teammates and with your clients. Give them every reason to be enthusiastic advocates for your company.

Offer Compelling and Inclusive Benefits

Generous benefits help retention and engagement across the board, so are a good investment whether as part of a DEI initiative or not. But when trying to increase diversity and inclusion at your company, targeted benefits can be an extremely useful tool.

You should tailor your benefits to the unique needs of your workforce. It is useful to listen to employees about what they need, don’t just assume or assert what they need. For example, women still handle most of the child-rearing responsibilities on average. As a result, they are more likely to leave their jobs, whether or by choice or not, and be passed up for promotions. Companies who are serious about retaining and cultivating female talent would therefore be well-advised to offer benefits like work-from-home options and parental leave so that women don’t have to choose between their families and their work. Those benefits will also increase the inclusion and retention of single parents of all genders. There are plenty of ways to tailor your benefits package to maintain a diverse workforce.

Ask yourself who is being left out by your benefits package, and if there are any areas in which you feel as though you could be doing more. Addressing obvious gaps is a great start, and then take the time to get employee feedback and adjust to their needs.

Build a Diverse Network

Lived experience informs our perspectives and actions. If you, as a business leader, foster a diverse network, you will be much more effective at building a diverse and inclusive company. Not doing so both makes your DEI efforts seem hypocritical and calculated, and means that you will approach the topic of diversity with blinders on.

Just like how a diverse workforce increases the creativity and productivity of the whole team, a diverse network will help you create original and effective business solutions and DEI strategies. Plus, they will be able to spread the word about your business and its diversity efforts to their trusted networks – which are also less likely to overlap with your own or each other’s networks.

Key Takeaways

This article hasn’t covered every facet of diversity, equity, and inclusion. But hopefully you now have a road map to guide you on the journey of educating yourself about the issues and implementing DEI in your organization. Don’t be afraid to get creative and go beyond the principles outlined in this article, just remember to always put your employees and their needs at the center of any strategy that you implement. And, to get started, remember to:

  • Learn as much as you can about the issues relating to DEI so that you can be the most effective advocate and policymaker possible
  • Live DEI in your company mission/vision, culture, and brand – and your own networks
  • Keep your employees of all backgrounds happy and engaged, especially by offering the benefits that meet their unique needs

Hopefully this article has gotten you thinking about how you can make your company more diverse and inclusive. We’d love to hear about your experiences, questions, and diversity strategies in the comments section below.

About the Author
Chanté is a fierce advocate of equity & inclusion; gender parity and social justice initiatives. She is on a mission to learn the backstories of underrepresented leaders and share their voice with the world. Her expertise is in Organizational Development, Social Innovation, Health & Well-being and Community Engagement. In a previous life, Chanté’s work centered around cultivating strategic alliances between public and private sector leaders to reduce public health inequities and improve population health outcomes. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Mount Mercy University and a M.A. from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN.

How to Make the Most of National Employee Appreciation Day

How to Make the Most of National Employee Appreciation Day

Whether you are looking to solve a retention problem or just want to pump up your already effective team, do not pass up the opportunity to show your employees what they mean to you on National Employee Appreciation Day, March 1st. There are many ways to make your team members feel genuinely appreciated, both on the day itself and through the rest of the year.

In this article we will explore why employee appreciation is important and how you can make the most of Employee Appreciation Day this year, as well as ideas you can implement for next year:

  • Why You Should Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day
  • Think Outside of the Box
  • Follow Your Culture
  • Think Long Term
  • Pitfalls to Avoid

Why You Should Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

Your employees are what makes your company run; they are ultimately responsible for every success, every goal accomplished and every product or service. That’s something that is worth some appreciation. Beyond deserving it, your employees also need recognition in order to perform at their best so that you can achieve future successes. No one likes to feel like they are a cog in a machine, being used for their labor and not appreciated for the contributions that they are making. Even simple gestures can make a huge difference in employee satisfaction, performance, and retention.

The fact of the matter is that about half of all employees would leave their jobs for a company that gives employees more recognition for their accomplishments, while eight out of ten employees say that being recognized motivates them at their jobs.

At a time in which companies are struggling to provide meaningful work and retain top talent, showing appreciation can be a cheap and rewarding path to a more effective, sustainable team. That is why you should use this National Employee Appreciation Day as an opportunity to take concrete steps to building a happier more effective workforce. But how should you go about showing your employees that you appreciate them?

Get Creative and Personal

Especially since March 1st is rapidly approaching, do not be afraid to get a bit creative with your celebrations. You do not have to do anything too major or complicated to celebrate National Employee Appreciation Day, so long as it seems genuine and personal. Office pizza is always nice, but it doesn’t really show that you care. At the risk of sounding seriously cheesy (no pun intended), you want to fill your employees’ hearts and not just their stomachs. But don’t be too serious – the more fun you have planning the celebrations, the more enjoyable and rewarding they will be for your employees.

Your employees will feel significantly more appreciated and valued the more personal and unexpected your methods are. If they are surprised by the celebrations, your message will seem much more genuine. And the more directly the appreciation comes from the company leadership or employees’ managers, the more heartfelt and effective it will be. You shouldn’t just implement an idea that you find online in this or any other article – take time to make it your own and your employees will appreciate the extra effort.

Also get personal when it comes to your employees; if your team is small enough, tailor your messages, programming, and giveaways to individual team members’ interests. If you are a larger company, get managers involved so that they can come up with special ways to celebrate their teams. Time might be short for this year, but even just getting managers to write a personalized note to each of their team members, and letting managers choose their team’s treat and activity for March 1st, is a quick and easy way to make your employees feel truly appreciated.

Above all, remember that there is no right answer so feel free to celebrate your employees in the way that works best for your company. Just make sure that you come across as genuine, and that your celebrations are in line with your company’s values.

Follow Your Culture

Speaking of company values, the best way to make sure that your appreciation comes across as genuine is to express it in a way that aligns with your company culture, mission, and vision. Sending a message that conflicts with your company culture would be jarring and dishearten rather than engage your employees.

The reason why you should follow your company culture is that you will reinforce what already makes employees dedicated to their jobs. If your employees buy into your company culture, then that means that they share your values and care about their work largely because of the company’s mission and vision. Celebrating those values when showing your appreciation for your employees will create a grounded, consistent message that makes your employees more confident in their choice to work at your company.

Similarly, it is important to avoid showing your appreciation by just making your employees work less, or in any other way that downplays the importance of what the company is doing. You want the focus to be on the good work that your employees do, and your appreciation for that work, not on making your employees happy by just giving them a break. It is important for all companies not to downplay work on National Employee Appreciation Day. Consider using the day to provide insight into what the company is doing, why it is doing it, and how the team members contribute to those goals.

If, on the other hand, you have a robust company culture and engaged workforce, your team members will already be proud of what they are doing and will want their managers and company leadership to be proud of it too. They will not want to work less, but be recognized for their work. Use the Employee Appreciation Day to acknowledge and praise employee contributions towards the company mission/vision, steps they have taken to safeguard the company culture, and other meaningful contributions that they have made.

Think Long Term

No matter how much you celebrate your employees on March 1st, long term engagement and satisfaction can only come from long term appreciation. That is why you should take the opportunity to announce new policies or programs that will engage and reward your employees year round.

If you already have a change in policies in the works that might benefit employees, consider rolling the change out as part of the your Employee Appreciation Day celebrations. This will help frame the policies as being meant to benefit and reward employees. Even if you are not ready to implement changes, consider announcing them accompanied with a rough roll-out schedule.

Even if you do not have any changes in mind yet, consider simple policies that you can announce on Employee Appreciation Day. Weekly “props” at team meetings, other informal peer recognition policies, and monthly appreciation events do not take much to set up and can be announced this year. You can also start planning for other long term changes to introduce next Employee Appreciation Day. Some examples of larger projects to start planning include:

  • Employee Gamification: allow team members to earn points for various perks in exchange for accomplishments
  • Competitions: reward top performing individuals or teams for accomplishing specific goals
  • New Benefits: gym memberships, zoo or museum passes, and other quality-of-life perks
  • Work Structure: introduce flexible work hours, telecommuting options, or Summer Fridays

Avoid These Common Pitfalls

While the best way to show your employees how much you appreciate them depends on your company and there are no “right” answers, there are some common mistakes that you should absolutely avoid. Two in particular are sure to make your employees angry instead of making them feel valued:

First, don’t just send a card or email and fail to show your appreciation in any more concrete or active way. While it is important to say thank you, a form message from HR or the CEO never makes employees feel warm and fuzzy about their jobs. That is not to say that you shouldn’t have the CEO send a message about the company’s recent accomplishments and future plans, and thanking employees for their contributions to both. Just make sure that the content is meaningful and that it is accompanied by some form of action that further makes your employees feel valued, listened to, and appreciated.

Second, do not roll out programs that are just obvious, and insufficient, work incentives. Contests and gamification can be great ways to engage your employees and reward them for hard work. Just make sure that they are clearly intended to make employees’ jobs more fun and rewarding not to encourage them to work harder and sacrifice more than they already are. People can generally tell what your real motivation is so make sure that any incentive programs come from a desire to make the company a more rewarding place to work.

Key Takeaways

National Employee Appreciation Day is your chance to have fun, show your employees how much they mean to you, and launch programs to make your employees feel valued year round. Get as creative and personal as you can, emphasize your company culture, and genuinely thank your employees for their contributions to the company mission and vision and you will reap the rewards of employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. Just remember to:

  • Be creative and personal
  • Align your celebrations with the company culture
  • Celebrate employee accomplishments and contributions to the company mission/vision
  • Implement long-term programs to show appreciation for your employees

And most of all, don’t forget to have fun. Share your favorite, wackiest employee appreciation ideas in the comments section below.

Tackling Your Human Resources Communication Problems One Step at a Time

Tackling Your Human Resources Communication Problems One Step at a Time

When your HR communication is lacking, it’s time to tackle the problem. Motivating employees is an important part of the success of your business. When you need to update how you communicate with employees, you have some options. Your overall message to your employees should be clear. You value your employees. They are important to your company. They are the driving force of your business and need to understand why your company’s purpose and strategic goals matter so much.

Share Your Core Business Beliefs

Your employees need to know the purpose of your business. This is a message that is established over time, yet is also at the center of all communication with your employees. Using messages that share your company’s purpose and business beliefs and connecting those beliefs to the everyday work your employees are doing makes a difference. Whether it is through a text message, email, or in person, you need to communicate with your employees about the ways they concretely add to the mission of your company.

Share Market Realities with Your Employees

Internal campaigns that rely on customer feedback and market knowledge provide you with the opportunity to share your business strategies with your employees through this essential lens. You will be able to use this information to create new strategies and build new business protocols based on the information received. When your employees are kept informed as to what customers are reporting.

Prioritize Your Messages

When you consider your messages that you send out to your employees, they should fall into three categories: Inspiration, Education, and Reinforcement. When you want to highlight an accomplishment of one of your employees, or you want to inspire your staff in some way, you need to share messages that create an emotional response. Building optimism within your staff is important, and this can be done through strategically sent, inspirational messages throughout the year.

Educating Your Staff

Messages that educate your staff are generally more important than those that simply inspire. These messages will explain any major decisions your company has made, and the plan for which these decisions will be carried out. In these educational messages, you can provide detailed information to your employees on how their responsibilities may change, or what you expect their contribution to be in these changes.

Messages Must Also Reinforce Earlier Messages

While you may have successfully explained the purpose of your company, your business strategy, and how this plays out in the daily workings of your business, the message needs repeating. In order to create change over time, reinforcing your messages with follow up information or inspiration is essential. Your employees are going to be able to understand your purpose more clearly when you continually reinforce what you have to say. Each message sent throughout the year should build upon previous messages, proving your employees with further reinforcement as to your business model.

About the Author

Joel Lee is the marketing specialist at Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, and advanced automation. Jumpstart your business by grabbing your free copy of this powerful Mobile Marketing Success Kit.

How to Conduct Effective Performance Evaluations at Your Business

How to Conduct Effective Performance Evaluations at Your Business

Businesses use performance evaluations to assess their team’s work performance. These evaluations also help employers pinpoint deficiencies in work performance and determine the company’s expectations for the future. Written performance evaluations are best because a written evaluation creates a tangible record, which can be reviewed and referenced in the future.

The performance evaluation process generally involves a series of steps:

  • Developing guidelines and standards against which an employee’s performance may be compared.
  • Gathering appraisal information, which when analyzed against the established standards reflects the employee’s performance.
  • Discussing the appraisal information with the employee.
  • Documenting the evaluation process in the employee’s personnel file.

Businesses use performance evaluations for the following reasons:

  • As positive communication tools to help employees improve job performance.
  • In salary administration for determining merit increases.
  • As regular workforce monitoring tools.
  • In the disciplinary process where an employee’s job performance is unacceptable and could lead to discipline or termination.

Whether you’re looking to build a formal evaluation process or improve your existing one, this post will provide the actionable steps you need. In this post you’ll learn:

  • What are the benefits of conducting regular performance reviews
  • What are the types of performance evaluations
  • How to conduct meaningful performance evaluations
  • How to implement a formal performance evaluation process at your business
  • How to ensure your performance review process is legally compliant

What are the Benefits of Conducting Regular Performance Reviews

An effective performance evaluation system can benefit your business in many ways including:

  • Assess Employee Potential. An effective performance management helps business leaders make informed decisions about employee promotions and transfers. A sound performance evaluation system can also help you proactively identify employees with special skills and abilities.
  • Identify Training Needs. Performance ratings help evaluate the effectiveness established training programs. Your business might design and target training programs to better address the performance problems caused by a lack of training.
  • Assist in Compensation Planning. Linking pay to performance is an effective compensation strategy, especially at growing businesses. Reliable, consistent performance evaluation processes enable your business to predict future payroll costs and reward your high-performing employees.
  • Identify and Correct Poor Work Performance. Performance evaluations generate discussions between employees and supervisors that identify poor work habits. During these conversations your and your employees can uncover mutually agreeable ways to correct issue areas.
  • Defend Against Lawsuits. The performance evaluation process allows companies to document poor job performance. Employers depend on this documentation to defend themselves successfully against employee claims of unfair termination or disciplinary action.
  • Motivate Employees. Performance evaluations can motivate employees in their efforts to meet your business’ performance standards. A positive evaluation assures the employee that your business recognizes their hard work and that they will be rewarded for exceptional performance.

What Are the Types of Performance Evaluations

When it comes to conducting performance evaluations, there are several different methodologies your business might opt to leverage. Some of the most popular ones are elaborated on below.

Rating Scales

The rating scale method provides a high degree of structure for evaluations. The scale rates employee traits or characteristics on a bipolar scale where there is a neutral point and the two ends of the scale are at opposite positions of the opinion, ranging from “poor” to “excellent.”

The characteristics evaluated on these scales include employee attributes such as the following:

  • Cooperation
  • Communication ability
  • Initiative
  • Punctuality
  • Work skills competence

An employer can select which traits to rate based on factors that are relevant to performance of the employment position. Proper selection of traits may protect against legal action based on a claim of discrimination.

Essay Method

In the essay method approach, the supervisor or manager prepares a written statement about the employee being evaluated. The essay describes specific strengths and weaknesses of the evaluated employee in job performance. It also includes suggestions for courses of action to correct any problem(s) identified in the evaluation. The statement may be written and edited by the supervisor or manager alone. It may also be composed in collaboration with the employee who is evaluated.

Results Method

Management by objectives (MBO) performance evaluation is results-oriented. It attempts to measure employee performance by examining the extent to which employees meet predetermined work objectives. The objectives are usually established jointly by the supervisors and employees. Once an objective is established, the employee is usually expected to identify the skills needed to achieve the objective. Employees do not rely on their manager to locate and specify their strengths and weaknesses. They are expected to monitor their own development and progress toward achieving the objective.

How to Conduct Meaningful Performance Evaluations

Many businesses have ineffective performance evaluation processes that result in little insights for the leadership team to reward high-performers, address performance issues, and make other informed business decisions. Here are some key things to keep in mind to ensure your evaluation process is effective:


In order to be effective, performance reviews must be honest and candid. Although supervisors may be unduly harsh on employees during an evaluation, excessive leniency occurs much more often. It’s a good idea to note and praise good work done by an employee in the past. However, the evaluation must also identify any issue areas in employee performance. Defending a wrongful termination suit is extremely difficult if the reason for termination was a problem that existed for an extended period of time and was not noted on the employee’s performance evaluations. The employer’s case is further damaged when the employee received favorable performance evaluations, including favorable remarks on the categories of performance that are later involved in the reasons for termination.

Uniformity Among Supervisors

An employer should always monitor managers as they conduct performance evaluations, making sure the process is uniform throughout the organization. If your process lacks uniformity, supervisors in one department may give more favorable (or harsh) evaluations than those in another department. When these inconsistencies occur, it is difficult for an employer to defend against wrongful termination because the suit could attack the credibility of the business’ evaluation system.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Each evaluation must include a discussion of the employee’s strengths and weaknesses. Evaluations should include deserved compliments (rather than only criticism) to be fair, balanced, and objective.

Constructive Criticism

Giving constructive criticism in performance evaluations also has advantages. Some constructive criticism of good employees may help lay the groundwork for negative evaluations of those employees in the future if their overall performance deteriorates. This is particularly true when an employee brings a wrongful termination suit after an unfavorable performance evaluation. When defending against a wrongful termination suit, it may be helpful for the employer to demonstrate that the employee was previously criticized for some of those same faults (which triggered the termination) on prior evaluations, even though the problem perhaps was in its infancy at that time and did not warrant an overall negative evaluation.

How to Implement a Formal Performance Evaluation Process at Your Business

If you’d like to launch a formal employee performance evaluation process or refine your existing one, consider providing the following:

  • Clear written instructions to all managers involved in the evaluation process.
  • Relevant training for supervisors and human resource leaders involved in the evaluation process to ensure complete understanding of all employee job duties.
  • A job-related performance evaluation system.
  • Reasonable precautions to guard against improper bias by the evaluating supervisor or manager.
  • A procedure that includes multiple levels of review and approval of the evaluation.
  • Central monitoring by human resources to ensure uniform performance rating standards among all supervisors and managers conducting the evaluations.
  • A procedure that allows the employee to comment or respond to the evaluation.
  • A procedure providing the employee with an appeal process of a poor evaluation, within a reasonable time after the evaluation.
  • A procedure requiring the supervisor to identify specific performance goals as part of the evaluation process.

How to Ensure Your Performance Review Process is Legally Compliant

Federal civil rights and state fair employment practice laws are in place to prohibit employers from implementing performance evaluation systems that discriminate against employees based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, or disability. To avoid liability, your business must ensure that its supervisors and managers base their performance evaluation judgments solely on job-related factors.

In determining whether performance evaluation systems are discriminatory, courts generally apply the same standards used to determine whether employee selection procedures and tests are discriminatory. Under such standards, a performance evaluation system is nondiscriminatory if it is both valid and reliable. When the system does not satisfy both requirements, the discriminatory impact of the improper factors might cause the system to violate one or more federal or state laws.

Valid and reliable performance evaluation programs normally share the following characteristics:

  • The performance evaluation program is formal and in writing.
  • Ratings are reviewed to ensure that high and low ratings are documented with information demonstrating what the employee did or did not do to earn the rating. Reviews also look for statistical patterns of adverse ratings and evidence that a supervisor needs more training rating employees.
  • The evaluation relates to the particular job in question. This means that employees are not rated on items that are irrelevant to job performance. An evaluator who must use a preprinted form that is not specific to the job should have the option of checking “not applicable.”
  • The evaluator is familiar with the employee’s job duties and actual performance. Evaluators should be allowed to state or check “not observed” when necessary.
  • Employees must read their evaluations, sign the evaluation to acknowledge their reading of the evaluation, and have the opportunity to provide written commentary on the evaluation.
  • Evaluations are not final until employees have the opportunity to comment.
  • Higher-level management reviews all evaluations.
  • Supervisors receive training in evaluating employees.
  • Evaluators receive clear written instructions as to the implementation of the evaluation.
  • Evaluation forms are as clear and simple as possible.
  • Definitions and examples are included to clarify the scope and meaning of various rating categories.
  • Standards or expectations are identified clearly for each aspect of performance and are communicated to the employee.
  • Employees have input in setting performance expectations.
  • The relative importance of each aspect of performance is communicated.
  • The primary goal of the evaluation is to enable employees to improve. Evaluators help an employee recognize strengths and weaknesses and help employees develop plans for improvement.

If you enjoyed this post don’t forget to register for our upcoming webinar “How to Have a Successful Open Enrollment.”

The Simple Year-End Payroll Checklist You Need

Quarter four can be a stressful time of year for businesses. A particularly stressful quarter four responsibility is dealing with year-end payroll procedures. Here at Launchways, we understand year-end payroll procedures can be complex and time-consuming. That’s why we decided to put together a simplified payroll checklist to help you tackle year-end payroll like a pro.

Year-End Payroll Checklist*


1. Check employee and employer data:

  • Verify the employer and employee data that is used in processing your quarterly tax reports and W-2s. view the “Quarterly Tax Verification Letter” is the document which displays this critical data.
  • To which employees does the “retirement plan” indicator in Box 13 of Form W-2 apply?
  • Confirm that employee names and Social Security numbers are in the correct format.

2. Check wage, tax and benefits data:

  • Confirm that deferred compensation plan type is correct and verify employee contribution amounts.
  • Check that Group-Term Life Insurance adjustments have been updated and submitted.
  • Ensure that other special tax items have been updated and submitted, such as Other Compensation, Third-Party Sick Pay, Employee Business Expense Reimbursements, Taxable Fringe Benefits, Tip Allocation information, and Dependent Care Benefits.
  • Verify the employer state unemployment insurance tax rate and taxable wage limit for each state.
  • Compute uncollected Social Security and Medicare taxes for retirees and former employees.
  • Verify that withholding has been made properly, or withhold from the final paycheck for taxable fringe benefits. These may include:
    • Group-term life insurance in excess of $50,000
    • Third-party sick pay (is the third party issuing a W-2?)
    • Personal use of company vehicle
    • Non-qualified moving expense reimbursements
    • Company-provided transportation or parking
    • Employer-paid education not related to the employee’s job
    • Non-accountable business expense reimbursements or allowances
    • Bonuses
    • Non-cash payments

3. Check for special procedures:

  • Schedule any special bonus payrolls for the current year.
  • Request any special reports needed for year end.
  • Ensure adequate payroll supplies to complete the year and to begin the new year, including blank checks, payroll forms and blank Forms W-2.
  • Determine whether all adjustments are applied or that an adjustment payroll has been scheduled.
  • Remind employees to fill out a new Form W-4 if their situation has changed.
  • Obtain new Forms W-5 for Advance Earned Income Credit (EIC) for the new year.
  • Confirm that all “manual” checks written during the year have been accounted for and updated in the system.
  • Determine that all voided or reversed paychecks have been accounted for in the system.

*Please note: this checklist is meant to provide basic guidelines only. Payroll procedures and requirements will vary business to business.

Looking for extra payroll support? Launchways is here to help. Connect with a Launchways team member today to learn more about our payroll outsourcing solutions.