What Role Does the HR Department Play in Performance Evaluation?

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HR managers are trained to guide their company's performance evaluation process.
HR managers are trained to guide their company's performance evaluation process. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Their results-based training gives HR professionals the knowledge they need to oversee a company’s performance evaluation process. HR managers know the procedures and criteria that produce rock-solid appraisals not easily challenged by disgruntled workers. Conducting effective performance appraisals demonstrates a company’s commitment to employee engagement, which boosts corporate image and helps drive profits.

Process

To streamline the process, HR managers give department supervisors step-by-step instructions on how to accurately assess employee performance. That can be difficult when the process changes according to an employee’s classification, as it does for evaluators at James Madison University. Employees there receive different evaluations depending on their status as full or part time and whether the appraisal is being done after six or 12 months into the review cycle. In most companies, HR employees ensure the process complies with corporate bylaws.

File Management

HR managers maintain the personnel files supervisors rely on to rate employee performance. Reports of disciplinary actions or instances of employees tackling especially challenging tasks help evaluators identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. With HR supplying work compliance data, supervisors can sign off on evaluations that better assess how each employee is meeting performance standards.

Purpose

Companies depend on HR professionals to rebrand the performance evaluation as a tool that benefits both managers and support staff. HR people emphasize that performance evaluations offer supervisors the chance to reassess department needs and employees the opportunity to hear constructive feedback. Not only do benefits such as these help remove the awkwardness of performance evaluations, they demonstrate the business’s commitment to professional development.

Forms

HR personnel select and often design standard evaluation forms, and then assist evaluators in completing them. Managers at the University of Tennessee, for example, use one form to record key employee behaviors and another form to record proofs justifying performance ratings. With HR controlling form use, a business can better ensure its evaluation process remains consistent and objective.

Labor Laws

Guided by HR, supervisors understand how unfair evaluations can serve as grounds for worker discrimination lawsuits. They avoid adding personal opinions or negative comments about an individual’s medical condition. They also don’t give an employee negative ratings because of personal dislike or because a poorly-trained employee cannot perform more advanced tasks. HR advisors help supervisors understand why putting evaluations in writing and giving employees the chance to rebut are recommended as safety nets by professionals like Samaria Jones, editor of the business site HR Tools, for helping companies avoid labor disputes.

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