One of the widely accepted truths of large operations is that the only things that can be effectively managed are those which can be measured. This has long made it easy for managers to focus on metrics like the quantities of raw materials being produced and the amount of product that was actually put together as a result, but tended to leave less room to think seriously about the performance of individual employees or their feelings about their work. Thanks to improvements in technology, however, employee evaluations have come a long way in being a tool that businesses can put to effective use.
The reason that technology is so key to turning the employee evaluation form into something that is meaningful on a much larger scale to companies is that computers are so capable at churning through large amounts of data to discover patterns and meaning. It gives businesses a chance to actually see how performance and satisfaction are changing over time, as well as how one relates to the other. In addition, it gives them the ability to track data points over time that reveal how particular policy changes and events are really affecting the organization rather than just relying on human intuition and impressions.
The value of evaluations has also improved dramatically because of the ways that they can be automated and anonymized. It is now much easier to do something like have an entire team participate in evaluating one another in order to create feedback that gives each employee a chance to have a meaningful sense of where he or she excels and needs to do additional work. Computers also make it possible, though, for the entire process to be carried out without capturing or storing any identification data. This means that people who might otherwise have refused to share their real thoughts for fear of retaliation might actually provide information that could be key to making the right decisions.
The ultimate burden of making good use of employee evaluations still rests on managers who are willing to take information from all of the sources around them and put it together to come up with a final decision. Technology has come a long way over the past 10 years, however, in making it much easy to break all of that information down into forms that are easy to understand and use. It means that there are more tools than ever available for those who truly want to know what is happening within their organizations.