New supervisors are often overwhelmed when it comes to writing performance evaluations for their staff. Instead of avoiding this critical task, here are five key sections that can form an outline for the narrative:

Context: What (if any) extenuating circumstances/factors that were outside of the employee’s control occurred during this evaluation period that may have influenced the job the person did/was able to do? (examples: staff vacancies that caused the employee to do double duty, new supervisor, reorganization, new technology system, etc.)

Contributions: Looking back on the evaluation period – what are specific contributions that the employee made? Cite evidence/examples for your statements.

Challenges: Looking back on the evaluation period – what are specific challenges that the employee had/what do they need to do differently… Cite evidence/examples for your statements.

Goals/Looking Ahead…and then, looking forward – what goal/plan/actions are needed to remedy these challenges and what are priorities for the employee in the upcoming evaluation period (to remedy challenges or to seize opportunities)

Summary: Overall assessment of the employee, optional comments on intangibles

Writing an evaluation narrative is an effective way for the supervisor and employee to ensure that their expectations and impressions are aligned. It’s a worthwhile exercise for every supervisor to do every year – both as a conversation prompt and as a snapshot of performance progress. Don’t let the task intimidate you from doing it.

More on the evaluation process can be found at dot 1753.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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