by Bri Malaspino
For the past couple of years I have been responsible for evaluating the performance of my company’s in-house design team. I’ve struggled to create a meaningful review out of the documents provided by HR yet for each employee I’ve had to fill out a form that evaluates skills I mostly don’t care about.
For my employees, this hasn’t been much of a problem. My expectations have been clear; they’ve known when they were doing well and when they’ve needed to improve. The trouble has occurred when I’ve needed to prove to HR that an employee has performed above expectations and deserves a promotion, or conversely, someone has performed poorly and some sort of corrective action is required. The items dealt with in our formal review never touched on critical design skills and behaviors. I knew I needed the support that proper documentation would provide and I also knew I was going to have to create it myself.
The first step in developing a creative evaluation document was to explicitly list the job descriptions for each type of creative role in my team – even if that position wasn’t currently filled. This exercise gave me a good idea of the skills and behaviors I cared about and also provided me with an opportunity to explain to the HR department what we do in the design department and what aptitudes and attitudes are most valued.
In redesigning my team performance review I had the assistance of some fellow in-house designers who generously shared their review documents or processes but I based my document on the structure of our company’s HR form. I wanted to make sure my evaluation included the performance criteria that they considered important. In addition, I looked at this form as an opportunity to formalize for my company what skills and habits would be considered to be important contributors to an effective internal design department.
I pinpointed the skills and habits that I thought were important and I filed them into subsections, starting with the subsections HR used on their form: “Job Knowledge,” “Job Administration,” “Communication,” and “Other.” As I started defining the appropriate skills and habits, my subsections changed to ” Job Knowledge,” “Creative Process,” “Use of Resources,” “Collaboration,” “Communication,” and “Development”. Though I ended up with more subsections, I didn’t actually add much more criteria. Each section now deals with a specific area of skills and each criteria is precise and relevant. For each criteria, an employee will now be scored with one of three options: Exceeds Requirements, Meets Requirements, Requires Improvement or the item will be marked Not Applicable. After designing the layout in InDesign I made a form in Acrobat so that it would be more accessible to the HR department.
This new form may seem like a small improvement, but I know it will help my department become more effective.
Bri has generously offered to make her evaluation form available. Click here to download.