Take Your Evaluations Seriously

They matter to employees and your institution.


April 13, 2016

I believe that many of us do not take evaluations seriously enough. They come once a year, at a time when we are often insanely busy. Some of us have a whole pile of them that we have to power through. I take them very seriously - perhaps too seriously. I approach them they way I used to approach teaching way back when I used to teach. I approached each class and every student as if I was compelled to change their lives. My class would be “the one” that moved them, changed them, saved them, inspired them to change the world. I often failed and, even though I realized that I was just one voice in a sea of competing voices, I was still disappointed when I did fail.

I approach evaluations in similar manner. This is the time of year when I sit down with my team members and we look at position descriptions to see if they still make sense. Every position description gets updated every year. I’ll make another teaching analogy - every time I taught a class, I updated the syllabus. I found that it could always be improved and I feel the same way about job descriptions. They can always be improved. They never quite capture the job and every time we re-write them, we get a little closer to the “truth” of the amazing work that is being done.

My evaluations are honest and I generally focus on the positive. If I have a problem with your performance, I tell you right away. I don’t wait until your evaluation. I am not punitive and I hate the “gotcha” delivery. It’s just not my style.

The narrative portion of my evaluations is meant to inspire. When you read it, I want you to feel good about the work that you do and the contributions that you make both on my team and on campus. I want to motivate you to change the world of higher ed, one act at a time. I realize that my expectations are unrealistically high and that I am bound to be disappointed at times but it is the only way I know how to be. I believe that it is my responsibility to dream of a better future for all of us!

Take your evaluations seriously - your employees do!

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Mary Churchill

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