Check the language you use to evaluate your employees

Everyone who manages people (or evaluates them via other means, like letters of recommendation) has the responsibility to see that their evaluations are fair to all concerned. One of the most frustrating failures of workplace evaluation occurs when the same traits are praised and rewarded in one individual and criticized and punished in another.

The evaluation process actually makes that evenhandedness difficult: because evaluations are done individually, when managers write performance evaluations, they do not typically have in mind every other evaluation they are also writing in that cycle.  As a result, it can be easy to miss disparate uses of the same term.

There’s  a way to capture how you are describing your employees, and to compare the language you are using for them as a group.  In this (free download!) performance evaluation check tool I show you how to do that:

  1. Draft your reviews for each of your employees
  2. Highlight the phrases you use to praise and suggest improvements
  3. Copy those phrases to the spreadsheet for each employee
  4. Comparing like to like, examine the language you use to describe employees.

Detailed instructions appear in the first tab of the spreadsheet.