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The Key to Evaluating Performance

I was recently driving down the road when a driver in a plumbing company service truck flashed his blinker and safely pulled in front of me. Painted on the back of the truck in large bright red letters was the following statement:

 “To report unsafe driving, call (phone number).”

My initial thought was, “I’m sure the phone number doesn’t belong to the driver of the truck.” Surely, the plumbing company didn’t want someone to personally contact the driver and immediately let him know that he was driving in an unsafe manner.

Instead, the infraction was intended to be reported to a third party who would probably have a conversation with the driver at a later date. I’m guessing that instead of immediately receiving a phone call from his company, at the end of the day, when Bob pulled into the plumbing company’s garage after a hard day of working on clogged toilets and leaky water pipes, his supervisor would confront him.

“Hey Bob. We received a call from a lady this morning that said you cut her off in traffic when you changed lanes. Pay more attention to your driving because it directly affects how people view our company.”

So what’s my point? It seems that the plumbing company is missing the point when it comes to evaluating their employee. Given the fact that the main purpose of a plumbing company is to provide excellent service in the field of plumbing, it would have seemed more reasonable for the bright red letters on the plumbing truck to say something like this:

“If you have received unsatisfactory plumbing service from our employee, call us at (phone number).”

After all, Bob’s primary job is plumbing, not driving. I doubt that the plumbing company has ever paid for or required Bob to take a defensive driving course. If Bob drove a taxi, then the admonition to report unsafe driving would make sense.

Bottom line: When you’re evaluating employee performance, make sure the evaluation matches the primary responsibility of the employee. Also, be sure to provide training for any area of the job that you plan to evaluate.



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