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Old 09-26-2002, 08:02 PM
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Turfdude Turfdude is offline
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Location: South Jersey
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Employee Evaluations

I would like to know how many of you hold meetings w/ your employees to evaluate their performance. I provide each employee w/ a manual describing their job description, way we conduct business, pay, sick, vacation, holiday, etc. We also include a sample warning notice so they know what to avoid from the get go.
I am seriously considering a monthly review on a one-one basis w/ either myself or my lawn care mgr./foreman. I wanted to see how you approch this, kind of questions asked, etc. I don't want to just haul the guys in and point out their problematic areas, but also want to stress their good points. I also want to know if you have any good ideas to reward above average employees other than giving a raise (as this could become expensive if they expect one every time they get a good review). For example, extra day off w/ pay, gift certificates to dinner, movie, etc.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Bob
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Old 09-27-2002, 11:12 AM
LawnLad LawnLad is offline
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Location: Cleveland, Ohio
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There are lots of books on how to handle reviews for employess. You can do it like big business or you can do it like a back yard operation - or someplace in the middle that works for you.

The tough part about reviewing employees performance is that you're really making subjective evaluations. Often times big companies get myred in the pursuit of making everything measurable, definable, etc. to try and make things objective. Obviously things like tardiness or quantity of sick days taken are easily measurable. But quality of work, attitude, ability to manage/motivate a crew, etc. is tougher to measure objectively unless you use numbers. Turn over of employees/crew members, customer satisfaction surveys, production ratios, etc. But all these numbers could be great and you could still have a bad apple that numbers don't explain.

After trying to define stuff to the point of being ridiculous, my approach has been to simplyfy. We use job descriptions. I give a more formal review once or twice a year. For this review I list the following:

A) THings Bob is good at...
B) Things Bob needs to work on...
C) Goals for Bob to work on

I try to make notes during the season that are constructive and helpful, may they be compliments or critisims. Often we have tail gate conversations about things rather than waiting for a formal review. I try not to let trends establish themselves if I see a problem. Or on the other hand I try to encourage the good when I see it. I'm not nearly vocal enough though - I should give my guys more feedback.

I heard Kevin Kehoe at the SIMA conference in June talk about how we spend most of our time managing to the bottom 20% of our employees to keep them going rather than focusing on the Stars of the organization - the go getters and self starters. Often they get put on the back burner because we're busy fighting fires because certain guys just have a penchent for starting them.

I sit and have dinner with the guy being reviewed, give him a sheet of my observations and explain what I'm seeing. We have a conversation. I try to get their feedback. They should be coming to the review with a new set of goals to talk about and whatever else they want to discuss. Once we look at the things the employee needs to work on we set goals. Often working to correct problems or perhaps to add some classes to bone up on education or work on specific skills.

Salary reviews are different than performance reviews. Salary review is in the spring when the season is getting started and performance reviews are in the fall and early summer if needed. So in a nut shell that's how I handle it. It sort of works for me. It's not perfect. In an ideal world the employee would be much more involved and get more from the reviews. Often it seems as if the employee action doens't change much after the review. It's either because my reviews are ineffective or people have difficulty changing and working on their own self improvement.
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  #3  
Old 09-27-2002, 08:42 PM
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Turfdude Turfdude is offline
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LawnLad,

Thank you for the feed back. I find that I do a lot of critiquing on a regular basis of my employees' behavior/work ethics. I know that if something is bothering me, that it is handled immediately. Also, equally so, if I see something an employee is doing that I reall like or appreciate, I will let them know that too immediately. I agree w/ the "putting out fires" and catering to the lower 20% too much and that shouldn't be. I believe that if I don't do it this year, that next year for sure, I'll set up a performance evaluation. It is I believe a great idea for new hires after 1 or 2 weeks, as well as after the first 4-6 weeks. It is in this period that you have the most control in shaping an employee to your company style.

Thanks again, and any more replies would be appreciated.

Bob
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