Congregational Workings


Manager Resource: Performance Evaluation

Preparing for Conducting a Performance Evaluation

Note: At the time of the annual evaluation, it is the supervisor's responsibility to review and if necessary revise the job description of the employee to ensure that both the employee and the supervisor are clear about job duties and responsibilities.

  • Collect enough information from the relevant parties to write a concise performance description for each goal, and for overall job responsibilities.
  • Review performance for the entire period; avoid the tendency to focus only on recent events.
  • Carefully read the definitions of the qualitative performance ratings and assign the appropriate one. Add comments which illustrate the rating.
  • When the draft written evaluation is complete, schedule the performance discussion, and ask the employee to think about what went well in the past year, and what parts of his/her performance could have been improved and what they see as key performance objectives for the coming year. Ask the employee to write a self-assessment, using the same assessment form. Decide whether you want to exchange the draft documents a day ahead of time to better prepare for the discussion.
  • Hold the discussion in a quiet, private place. If you hold the meeting in an office, try to set up an informal seating arrangement—do not conduct the session from behind a desk.
  • Draft performance objectives for the coming year so you are ready for a mutual agreement about objectives for the coming year.
  • After the performance discussion make any needed revisions and finalize the written document; provide a copy to the employee and a copy for the personnel file.

State the objective and set ground rules for the performance discussion
Example: "Jane, the reason we're meeting today is to talk about the year you've had, what went well, and what could have gone better. I'd also like to hear how I could better support you day-to-day, so feel free to make suggestions.
"First, let's review and update your job description. Then, I want very much to hear your assessment of this year's performance. I'll try to just listen and ask questions for clarification. Then, I'll give you my views of your performance. After that, we can discuss where we agree or disagree. How does that sound to you?"

Get the employee's perspective
Allow the employee to speak freely as she or he presents how she or he did on each part of job responsibilities and goals. You should listen and use probes to gather information, obtain involvement, and increase the employee's receptivity. Save your thoughts for the next step.
Types of Probes:

  • Pause (Silence to encourage employee to go on while you listen)
  • Open-Ended Question or Statement ("Tell me about the meetings you hold with your committee.")
  • Reflective Statement ("I can see that makes you uneasy.")
  • Summary Statement ("From what you're saying, you seem to feel that you go above and beyond in completing projects. Could you give me some examples?"
  • Neutral Phrase ("Say more about your interactions with your colleagues.")
  • Brief Assertion ("I see. Of course.")

Present Your Own Thoughts
This would be a good time to give the employee the completed evaluation form if you did not share the draft prior to the meeting. You can either let the employee read the entire review and then talk it through, or have them read each section and discuss them separately. In either case, use a first-person statement to present your thoughts about the employee's performance. Walk through each section that you wrote, backing up your perspective with specific examples. If you can't back up your thoughts with specifics, you will lose the employee's confidence.
"I thought you did a great job recruiting volunteers for your committee. You doubled committee membership in the first six months of the year."
"Your last program was disappointing. It didn't seem as well prepared as the others, and ran overtime by an hour. Several members of the congregation gave me feedback that they were also disappointed."

Vent Emotions; Resolve Differences
After reviewing your assessment, ask the employee to agree or disagree. Allow him/her to vent, as there may be some intense feelings at this time. You should listen and explore, but don't be afraid to emphasize your viewpoint. In order to fully understand the areas of disagreement, use the following procedure as needed to help identify and summarize:

  • Summarize the disagreement
  • Probe to clarify and make sure you understand the disagreement
  • Resolve the disagreement through discussion, and
  • Probe for commitment

"So you feel that you positively resolve disagreements with your colleagues, while I feel that you don't. Is that correct? Could you give me some examples of where you've done that?"

Gain Agreement on the Action Points Going Forward
Discuss what actions need to be taken by the employee to improve performance in the areas for development as well as what is going well and should continue. Gain commitment from the employee, and discuss the role that you will play (based on suggestions from either one of you), in supporting her/him. Create one or two development objectives designed to improve performance.
"So if I summarize what you've suggested, when you have a conflict with a co-worker, you'd like to speak with me for coaching before approaching that person. That sounds fine to me; I can support you on this."

 Template for Performance Improvement Plan

Subject:  Performance Improvement Plan

During the past month [specify dates if available], it has become increasingly evident to your [supervisor] and me [Minister name] that you have not been performing your assigned work in accordance with what is expected of a[n] [job title]. On [dates of all verbal and written counseling and warning sessions], you were counseled about this unacceptable performance. To date, there has not been any significant improvement. First Parish values you as an employee, and it is our intent to make you fully aware of this situation and to assist you in improving your work performance. However, it is important that you realize the responsibility to improve is yours alone.
You are being placed on a written improvement plan. For the next [30, 60 or 90] days, [date, 200_ ] to [date, 200_], your work will be closely monitored by [specify]. You must demonstrate immediate improvement in the following areas:

[Body of plan]
[Identify areas of improvement. Be specific about what needs to be improved. If possible, list objectives, results, or behavior with specific deadlines on a separate sheet of paper and attach it to the plan]

[Monitoring the plan]
[Name of person(s) monitoring the plan] will review your progress on each of the above items requiring improvement every [day or week and time of review]. We trust that in doing so, we can guide you in becoming a contributing employee of First Parish.

[Or else]
Improvement must occur immediately and must be maintained. If any portion of this improvement plan is violated at any time during the specified timeframe, further disciplinary action including termination of employment from First Parish may occur. A decrease in performance after successfully completing the improvement plan may result in being dismissed from First Parish without the issuance of another warning or improvement plan.

As always, I am available for you to discuss any concerns.
Your signature acknowledges this discussion. It does not indicate agreement or disagreement with this plan.


Employee Signature/Date _______________

Supervisor/Minister Signature/Date _________

(Revised February 11, 2010)


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