I have a confession. I am a convert to the employee evaluation. I wasn’t even open to the idea of them.

My initial (misguided) mindset was that I didn’t particularly look forward to sitting in a room with one or more people who took turns telling me about my shortcomings. I mean, don’t we have enough neuroses already?

I was at organizations that utilized poorly realized, infrequent, or the non-existent “real-time” evaluation.

At BlueFletch we have a working solution in place. I’m not saying we’re perfect. Far from it. But by becoming involved in regular, constructive reviews as both a participant and facilitator, my opinion has changed. With a proper structure in place reviews are a valuable asset to the company and its people.

The employee evaluation on its face solves simple needs. It allows both the employed and employer a chance to openly talk about their respective views, progress and goals.

It’s not rocket science, but that doesn’t mean it takes care of itself. Why can they be so hard for organizations to conduct them regularly and constructively, and how can that be fixed?


The first thing to get kicked to the curb in any business where people are billed out based on the time they spend on work product is the non-billable. Put 2 or 3 people in a room for 30 to 60 minutes and multiply that by the number of employees in an organization, and the time spent on evaluations can be enough to keep some from even attempting it.

But maybe you’re not thinking about it right. What if spending 30 to 60 minutes made your company more productive, insightful and a better place to work? Consider that versus trying to overcome 25% churn in your employees since the last quarter.

High costs are relative.

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Providing a framework for people to self-evaluate allows for a much less daunting process. At the beginning of the year lay out themes by which everyone in the company can measure him/herself. The range can be broad (self improvement, business writing, attention to detail, etc), but it gives people a starting point.

You also get an opportunity to learn how your team members think. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you ask a group of sharp folks to focus on specific intention for review.


Much like the thematic guide, literally provide your team with a form to use. Just because we’re sitting in a room talking about ourselves doesn’t mean we can’t still be consultants and give people something concrete to complete.

Ask everyone to submit the form to their reviewers 24 hours before the meeting.  

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When reviewing employees regularly, give them goals against which to measure success. As an example – ask them to self-identify 3 to 5 items to work on until the next review.

This gives a natural segue into check-ins throughout the interim period between reviews and also allows employees to gauge their improvement velocity.


Oftentime people don’t know they have the freedom to do things like attend training seminars or acquire new products without prodding from the company.

Make sure that they are aware of this and set it as an expectation to be discussed during the reviews.

These building blocks take initiative to put in place and maintain, but the immediate and long term effects will prove positive.

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Lee DeHihns

Lee DeHihns

Principal - Director of Project Management Working with clients to find solutions to the root cause of challenges is what keeps Lee motivated. At BlueFletch he works with internal and external teams to ensure that engagements stay focused, consistent and on budget. He has more than 10 years experience at digital agencies in Atlanta working with large and small organizations in areas such as healthcare, financial services, telecom, retail and non-profit. When not at work you can find him riding one of his bikes, or in the kitchen or yard with his wife and adopted greyhound.