The end of the calendar year is just around the corner, which means it’s time for colder weather, quarterly reports, and holiday related festivities and interruptions. It’s also time for performance evaluations, and like it or not, these evaluations are a required part of most standard workplace HR policies. Before you even begin to schedule and sit down for review meetings with each of your IT staff, start weeks in advance and take these important preparatory steps. 1. Choose a structure. If your HR department allows flexibility on this score (or if your own your own business and can do as you choose), you’ll need to find an evaluation format that fits your workplace and your culture. Most IT managers choose a weighted metric system, or a 1-5 scoring mechanism for a list of specific characteristics, like leadership, innovation, commitment, and timeliness. But others choose a nine box or essay style format. 2. Choose who will evaluate each employee. While traditional reviewers are conducted by direct supervisors only, modern IT departments are increasingly relying on the 360 degree evaluation method, which allows each employee to receive a rating from her supervisor, coworkers, and direct reports as well. This method can provide useful insights, but it can be very inefficient (and therefore expensive). 3. Set up self-evaluations that reflect the style of the formal review. Whatever format you choose, provide each employee with self-evaluation guidelines that reflect that format and can measure the answers the employee provides against those provided by her reviewers. Allow plenty of time to complete them and plenty of time to factor them into the formal reviews. 4. Arrange specific meeting times that account for the length of time you’ll need to spend with each employee. Some employees may need more explanation, evaluation, and coaching then others. As a side note, it may help keep the process on schedule if you place at least two managers in the room during weaker or potentially tense reviews. Make sure you allow time to complete the review, measure it against the self-evaluation, and have a detailed and meaningful conversation with the employee about his or her professional goals and milestones for the year ahead. When it comes to planning performance reviews, preparation is essential to successful execution. To learn more about laying the groundwork for a meaningful yearly exercise, reach out to the IT staffing pros at Pace. If you are looking for information technology employment agencies in Seattle, contact us today.