This time of year tends to be performance evaluation season for many in ministry. I love performance evaluations. I know. Some of you are looking at me weird. However, it’s a great time to review the past year, name my accomplishments, work on my areas for improvement, and develop new goals for the next year.
But I’m lucky because I have had great supervisors that looked at performance evaluations as a tool for growth. Not all of us are as lucky. There are some keys to good performance evaluations processes that are helpful to keep in mind:
1. Actually have a performance evaluation.
Too many in ministry never even have a performance evaluation. If you have a supervisor who thinks this is not important, make it important. Let them know you want an evaluation. If the supervisor does not take, then fill out an evaluation for yourself, sign it, give it to your supervisor, have him sign it, and file it away. Even if your supervisor does not sign it, everyone should be able to track his or her performance over the years.
2. Evaluate performance throughout the year, not just at the end.
The end of the year evaluation should have no surprises. Why? Because everything that is in there should have already been talked about. Try meeting quarterly with your supervisor for 30 minutes to address what you have done in the past three months. Name your successes and areas for growth in those past three months. Then spend a few minutes naming the big projects and events for the upcoming three months and let your supervisor know where you might need support. This process creates transparency to make sure that there are no surprises at the end of the year.
3. Point system evaluations are not effective.
We insist on grading everyone. 1 = not satisfactory, 2 = achieves, 3 = excels, etc… Although I have done point system evaluations in the past, the real meat of the evaluation is in the comments. Numbers don’t say a whole lot. Spend time focused on the comments.
4. Develop SMART Goals for the next year.
I’ve written about SMART Goals in the past, so I won’t explain it again here. But this is essential to tracking success in ministry. We should develop new SMART Goals each year and our performance evaluation should be based on our progress in those goals.
Again, I think performance evaluations are great! If you have other strategies that are helpful, please share them with us.
And I know you have stories of performance evaluations gone well, and those gone terribly wrong! Share with us those stories in the comment section below.