New Library Directors Handbook

Job Evaluations

Some libraries conduct evaluations for new employees after their first six months on the job. Whether or not this is your policy, each person in the library should have a job evaluation by his/her immediate supervisor once a year. When you are conducting a job evaluation, you are not evaluating the person; you are evaluating how well s/he does the job. There should be two components to a job evaluation. The first is a written evaluation on how well the employee accomplishes all the different desired results of the job. The desired results should be found in the job description. The employee's immediate supervisor should write this evaluation. Both negative and positive evaluations should be explained in writing. Some libraries also have employees evaluate themselves on the task elements in writing. They then compare their self-evaluations with the evaluations of their supervisor.

The second part of the process is an interview between the supervisor and the employee about the written evaluation. This interview allows the employee to respond both positively and negatively to the written evaluation. If there are problems, the employee can talk about these and sometimes a mutually satisfying solution can be found. For example, a negative comment about an employee's speed in performing a task might be explained by the employee as a result of poor equipment. If there is agreement on the issue, the written evaluation should be amended. If there is disagreement, the employee should be allowed to tell her/ his side of the story in writing, and this document should be placed in the employee's file.

One common mistake that supervisors make in evaluating employees is to withhold the truth about problems, based on a desire "not to hurt their feelings." This mistake has two negative results. First, it means that employees will not improve their performance; because no one has told them they are not meeting expectations. Second, if disciplinary action ever becomes necessary, it will be harder because there will be no documentation that there have been long standing problems. It is more difficult to discipline employees if you have never told them there is a problem. Nothing in the formal evaluation should be a surprise. Think of it more as a summary of the year. If an employee is having problems, let them know right then. Don't wait until the formal evaluation to tell them.