The end of the year typically brings reflection, celebration…and trepidation. Why? Because performance reviews are just around the corner. Real talk — despite their clear importance, employee evaluations and performance reviews are generally…not fun. Toss in a once in a lifetime pandemic (plus remote work) and the usual wrestling match of conducting reviews becomes, well, challenging.
Annual performance reviews can be painful because of the amount of work involved, the organization needed to facilitate reviews for numerous employees, and the review process itself, which can be clunky or depend on manual work. Due to familiar frustrations like these, more than 70 percent of companies have said they are changing the performance management process in their organizations.
What if there was an all-in-one performance management framework that streamlined your workflow so much you actually looked forward to performance reviews? Well, there is.
Jotform can help you manage your year-end review processes from A to Z. Our platform allows leaders to easily collect reviews, organize submissions, incorporate stakeholder feedback, and present the final review, saving time and the hassle of manual work.
What goes into a “good” performance evaluation?
The whole point of employee performance reviews is to provide a framework that nurtures employees and helps them reach their professional goals.
To conduct a worthwhile review process — one that helps achieve employee development and engagement — there are certain industry standards to keep in mind.
It would be almost impossible to determine whether someone was doing a good or bad job without business goals to measure their performance against. Goals can vary, either based on job description (continuously achieving the specified responsibilities of the role) or individual projects (a certain project each year or more frequent projects based on business priorities).
Also, the employee should have input in determining the goals. This yields a couple of benefits: It helps secure employee buy-in, and ensures the employee’s individual development and achievement aligns with the needs and goals of the company.
Finally, make sure the goals are “SMART.” And why wouldn’t they be; you set them right? In all seriousness, the SMART acronym refers to goals that are specific (clear), measurable (results-oriented), achievable (while being challenging), relevant (to the organization’s larger mission), and time-bound (hitting milestones along the way). SMART goals aren’t new (they debuted in the 80s), but they are just as relevant today.
Self-evaluations and 360 degree feedback
Self-evaluations are a key part of the review process. It’s generally a good idea to include them to make sure that the way an employee sees themselves aligns with the perspective and feedback you’re providing. If an employee is overly critical of themselves (or, by contrast, not critical enough), that can help level the feedback you give and emphasize areas of strength or necessary improvement.
Also, having your employee’s peers offer their own perspectives on their teammate’s performance can help paint a full picture. Often, employees can be reticent to sing their own praises, and getting feedback from teammates who recognize their contributions can help you fill in the qualitative blanks about the employee’s value to the company.
Adaptability and COVID-19 considerations
Conducting performance reviews during COVID will require more patience, more nuance, and more context than ever before. Almost everyone has work-from-home challenges (think little to no space, sharing a small apartment with roommates, managing children), and because of increased “remoteness,” there’s an even greater need for employee accountability, team collaboration, and feedback loops. It’s likely the work landscape — and by proxy, the performance review process — will be forever altered.
How can you make sure you have effective performance evaluations in the age of COVID?
First, approach the process with a different eye. When evaluating the work your team is doing, be sure to factor in their ability to adapt to the changing circumstances that occurred in 2020. Adaptability has always been a work competency, but now it should take on added weight.
Second, the way you handle top performers and employees who have performance issues will need to be more nuanced. For example, top performers will always have external options. But in the face of a pandemic, reminding them how much the company values their efforts helps them feel secure in their role.
For underperformers, deliver your feedback this year with a higher level of sensitivity. Talk about the underlying reasons for slipping performance and make a time-based plan for improvement. Also, inquire if there’s anything the employee deems necessary (within reason) to help them achieve success.
Ratings and contextual feedback
Numerical or grade-level ratings for performance make sense because they measure the quality of work. This year however, consider a narrative driven review, where ratings are used as more of a guide or are done on a curve (not to be confused with a bell curve rating). Whichever direction you take, be sure to add more contextual feedback in light of the unique challenges your team had to deal with.
Jotform creates better performance review experiences
There’s been a shift in recent years to regularly touch base with your employees so that year-end feedback doesn’t come as a surprise to the employee or the manager (via a self-assessment). For a successful year-end assessment, you need to keep a record of your employees’ achievements and challenges along the way.
Jotform supplies the core functionality to support a continuous feedback framework at scale. Use Jotform Tables to record notable events for your employees throughout the year, and you’ll be able to funnel your collected performance discussions into your year-end review. Jotform Tables acts as a ready-made database that you can sync with the employee performance review forms and/or self evaluations that come in during annual review time.
Helpful review features
By using Jotform for your year-end performance reviews, you can collect and manage employee data in a number of useful ways across the platform. Here are several Form Builder field/widget suggestions — as well as two platform solutions — to make sure you’re getting the most out of your performance review process from beginning to end.
- Long Text. Use the Long Text field for more contextual responses to questions. This will be important given the unique circumstances impacting work and performance this year.
- Dropdown. The Dropdown field allows employees to quickly select their role, select a rating from a scale, make a graduated ranking, and more.
Single/Multiple Choice. These fields allow for quantitative responses, such as measuring progress toward goals and selecting multiple accomplishment descriptors.
- Input Table. The Input Table can quantify the effectiveness of performance across a range of projects. Managers and associated stakeholders can also use the table to chart how far along an employee is on the path to promotion.
- E-Signature. Our E-Signature widget is a great way to collect legally binding employee signatures on self-evaluations and final reviews.
- Form Calculation. If you’d rather avoid conditional logic, drag and drop the Form Calculation widget onto your form. It’s ideal for ratings formulas. Just choose which fields you’d like to add, subtract, multiply, or divide, and the widget will automatically perform the calculation and display the result.
- Orderable List. Add a list to your form that employees can reorder as they respond to review questions. All they have to do is drag and drop the items — perfect for evaluations and ratings.
- Time Picker. Performance reviews always require a face-to-face follow-up to ensure employees and managers are aligned. Make scheduling easy by including the Time Picker widget in your review (or the employee self-evaluation). Employees can select a date and time for follow-up through a collapsible input box.
Conveniently, any data you collect via your performance reviews or self-evaluation forms automatically populates a table in Jotform Tables. By connecting one table to another (along with the one-on-one feedback you’ve been collecting all year), you can quickly link the relevant details across your performance workflow.
Jotform Tables enables you to organize and manage your review questions, team ratings, roles, promotability scores, attached documentation (like awards, certifications, emails, projects), and more. Additionally, you can give your employees’ peers limited access to your table so they can provide their 360 degree feedback.
Another useful solution to cap off the review process is Jotform’s PDF Editor. When your final review is ready, you can easily convert your review forms and self-evaluations to printable and shareable versions for your employee and other stakeholders.
Easily customize your PDF to match your company’s branding by selecting a background color or image, adding a logo, or adjusting other design elements. Also, given the sensitive nature of performance reviews, you can protect the PDF by adding a password to keep it private.
Use Jotform to facilitate your year-end performance reviews
Companies, organizations, and municipalities are choosing to go paperless these days for many of their operations, including performance reviews. The effects of COVID-19 have only exacerbated that need, creating a more distributed workforce. Organizations need solutions that are easy to use, flexible, reliable, and don’t break the bank.
For years, HR directors and team and compliance managers have used Jotform to facilitate year-end evaluations. Performance review forms can be created as one-offs, emailed as a link, or embedded within an intranet for access at scale.
If you need help getting started, Jotform has more than 70 templates specifically created for employee evaluations. Need to customize your review? Feel free to rearrange the template layout, add and update questions, upload your company logo, and more.
Finally, as opposed to a performance management technology vendor, Jotform’s solution is free and helps you organize your performance evaluation effort start to finish. With plenty of third-party integrations and cross-platform solutions, Jotform is your modern performance review solution.