Bob Nelson once said: “An employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager.”
Your employee evaluation process should begin before the employee ever performs the first task. During the hiring process take time to explain carefully to the potential new employee the firm’s criteria for evaluating performance, including the standards to which he or she will be expected to adhere and the goals toward which he or she is supposed to work.
Evaluations should be regular (whether you have time or not – and lawyers never do) and based on expectations discussed with the employee at the beginning of the review period. If goals or expectations need to be changed along the way, be sure to immediately discuss those changes with the employee. Everyone should be clear at all times about where the firm is trying to go and how it expects to get there.
Although it is common to have evaluations 60 to 90 days after hiring, don’t wait for a formal evaluation to address performance that isn’t up to par or that indicates progress is not being made toward reaching the expected level of proficiency.
A stitch in time saves nine, and carefully adhering to your employee review schedule will help produce employees who are both happy an truly helpful to the firm. Furthermore, by increasing your daily interactions with your staff, you will be reinforcing the message that their motivation and performance is uppermost in your mind.