Effective church management uses the performance appraisal process to help manage employee performance and achievement of ministry goals. It is important to have well trained church managers and a structured process to document church employee performance and give performance appraisals. A well done performance appraisal process can be a positive experience and help the employee see how what he or she does contributes to organizational goals. If not done well, the performance appraisal can be a very stressful time and one of the most difficult conversations of the year.
The performance appraisal process should be a time to reflect on the last year and celebrate successes. It should also be used as a time to course correct if an employee has gotten off track. Reinforcing the positive and celebrating the successes can influence future positive behaviors.
Statistics show that an estimated 40% of workers never receive performance evaluations. And for the 60% of the workers who do, most are poorly done. Wow, what a scary thing! The fact is that employees want and need to know if they’re doing a good job. A formal performance appraisal process forces managers to communicate both good and bad performance results to the employees.
Goals don’t just happen—they need structured systems and processes, and the performance appraisal process is an important part of the cycle.
Example Church Staff Performance Appraisal
The first step in creating a church personnel evaluation form is identifying those things (dimension measures) that the employee will be assessed on. This is done by looking at the values statement and guiding principles as well as those employee characteristics that are important to successful performance. For example, a church value may be teamwork or customer service and it may be identified that successful performance is measured by an employee’s ability to work with others, communicate well, or possess certain job skills.
An example of common dimension measures of performance are: Teamwork, communication, attendance, job knowledge and completion of goals. These dimensions should be church-specific and identified globally as part of the strategic planning process.
Each of the measures should have a description that is clear and understandable for the employee. For example:
Teamwork: Employee values team interactions and works effectively with others. Is a team player and helps encourage and orient new team members. Employee is able to balance personal effort and project team effort.
Communication: Employee communicates professionally with others and shares thoughts and ideas appropriately. Listens to others, asks clarifying questions, and controls emotions under pressure.
Customer Focus: Employee understands who his/her customers are and proactively responds to customer needs and adheres to ministry service standards.
Attendance and Punctuality: Employee shows up for work at assigned time and provides ample notice when unable to come to work. Uses designated time off forms to request time away from job.
Job Knowledge: Employee understands every aspect of job tasks and responsibilities and proactively updates job skills. Employee offers assistance to help others improve skills.
Goal Completion: Employee completed annual goals as assigned.
Okay, now let’s come up with a scale to measure these dimensions. There are different schools of thought on scaling. Some prefer a five-point scale, but others use a ten-point scale because it is a slightly tighter measure.
The way you word the description of the measurement dimension is determined by the rating scale. Common scales are:
• Strongly Disagree – Agree – Strongly Agree
• Never – Sometimes – Always
• Of no importance at all – Moderately Important – Extremely Important
• Dissatisfied – Satisfied – Extremely Satisfied
Ok, now let’s create these dimensions on a measurement scale in an example performance appraisal form. This church staff performance appraisal form incorporates both the employee self assessment as well as the manager’s assessment of the employee.
The Performance Appraisal Conversation
Preparation for the performance appraisal is ongoing. A manager should always be thinking about the process, and whenever a problem is noticed with an employee’s performance, mention it to the employee and make a note of it. At the same time, whenever an employee demonstrates a desired behavior or result, mention it to the employee and make a note of it.
Performance appraisals need to be: Fair, Pertinent and Comprehensive. All employees should be treated the same, and their behaviors should be tracked and observed the same way. Terminology of observations and documented behaviors should be the same so there are no biases in the process.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Would I have made the same note on a different employee?
- Are my observations the same or am I over-emphasizing a single event?
- Am I giving immediate feedback after a problem is observed so the employee has a chance to change his/her behaviors and improve?
The appraisal should be pertinent to how the job is performed and relevant to job expectations and standards of work that have been established. It should be comprehensive in monitoring and observing behaviors that tell a story about the employee throughout the entire performance period. All unusual events that affect performance should be documented and filed. It is also important to make note of positive performance and major accomplishments in order to be fair and balanced. The positive notes are important for celebration of successes at the performance appraisal time. Documentation helps you to remember the details of the observation. Use a third party occasionally to review your observations to help keep you focused and objective.
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photo by: 3110w