Employee evaluations are for performance improvement. As such, they need to be regularly measured and managed. Yet most companies treat reviews as a cumbersome year-end, 360-degree process that management hates, as uncompleted reviews become a monkey on their backs. Also during annual evaluations, the focus is often on a pay increase or bonus discussion, as opposed to areas for improvement.
Here is a solution to this ineffective process, suggested by one of my customers. Have managers keep a book with a page for each employee. Create three columns on each page, one for the month, one to document what the employee can do for the company, and one to document what the company can do for the employee. The monthly column focuses on employee goals and achievements, the second column on longer term impacts the employee can have on the organization, and the final column centers around what the employee needs from the company to be successful. Meet monthly and discuss one or two items.
Taking this approach, evaluations are quick with no surprises. A legal record is created, ideas are discussed, problems are identified, corrections or actions are taken, and, unsurprisingly, improvement is the outcome.