Are you the owner of a small business?
Are you just beginning?
How do you grade your employees performance?
Let me share my experience.
I haven’t written an evaluation on my employees – ever.
You heard me right. Ever.
Twenty seven years.
I don’t believe in evaluations. I don’t believe in attaching numbers to people.
I don’t look at people as machines to be graded.
I didn’t like being evaluated with a numerical score when I was a resident in training.
I don’t want to treat my employees that way.
I never felt that these numerical evaluations were valid anyway. I thought numerical evaluations were a feeble attempt to put objectivity on what is basically subjective.
Now before I continue, I should tell you that I have employees who have been with me for decades.
I have three employees who have been with me a minimum of 20 years. I have another employee who has been with me 13 years.
I have another employee who left for greener pastures after 12 years.
I recently hired a new employee about six months ago.
I have never written one evaluation on any of them.
How do I write an evaluation on someone I’ve worked with for 25 years?
Why why would I demean someone I have worked with for that long?
So, you might ask, how do you perform quality control on your employees?
To begin with, I resent the term quality control.
That’s a new age term that was developed in order to treat human beings like cogs in a machine.
The best way to treat employees is to value them.
That doesn’t mean that you have to go around and constantly affirm how great they are.
Don’t confuse me with the One Minute Manager who constantly has to find employees doing correct things.
If you go out of your way to constantly praise people, they will acclimate to that very quickly, and your praise will be meaningless.
Employees might even find constant praise manipulative.
Plus, you will exhaust yourself emotionally.
I think the best way to enforce positive employee behavior is to reward them financially or by giving them perks when you can’t reward them financially.
After all I’m not a big corporation. I’m not IBM. I can’t afford to pay people $200,000 a year.
But there are other things that you can do for them that are just as meaningful.
You can buy them health insurance. You can get them a retirement plan. You can give them their own office. You can give them leeway to make decisions. You can give them time off to attend their child’s play at school. You can give them time off to attend the dentist or the doctor. You can make small loans to them. You can allow their children to stay in the office when childcare is not an option. You can relieve them of the indignity of punching their entry and exit on a time clock.
You can do all sorts of things that big corporations wouldn’t even dream of doing.
Moreover, you can resolve to not constantly be on their case for every little infraction that you don’t like.
But what do you do when they do something wrong?
Rather than screaming and yelling, you can point out a constructive solution of the way that it might be done.
You can invite them into a decision making process in a very non-manipulative way.
For example if the proper logging in of information in your office isn’t being done on a timely basis, you can sit down with them and ask them how it might be done better. You can listen to their suggestions. If they don’t have any suggestions, you might make some of your own and see how they react to that.
Gentle reminders are better than holding it all in and blowing up on them.
Screaming and yelling doesn’t work.
In conjunction with that it must be remembered that many times employees are going to miss stuff.
Perfection is an illusion.
Naturally this goes contrary to modern human relations theory.
Forget about excellence.
By relentlessly pursuing perfection and screaming at your employees you can totally destroy the morale of the office. That in itself will cause people to leave the office for something better; or it will cause them to work more dysfunctionally.
The take home message here is to forget about perfection.
In conjunction with that, forget about the relentless evaluation of employees and attaching numbers to people.
When you constantly inspect people and give grades to their performance, you don’t fix anything. All you know is that you have broken-down employees.
Is that what you want?
It’s far better for you to have seemingly imperfect employees who are happy at their job, who like doing their job, than seemingly perfect employees who hate their job.
That’s my opinion on human resources.
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