Objectively evaluating laboratory staff is a very difficult task. Variations in supported equipment, student performance, and process sensitivity prevent the use of direct, objective criteria in employee performance measurement. These factors are multiplied in research facilities, where equipment uptime and process performance measurements are not easily determined. Supervisors, therefore, must apply more subjective techniques in staff evaluation, which often results in the perception of inequity. This paper presents a rigorous evaluation process that utilizes significant employee participation to address this issue of perceived inequity.
The process utilizes five areas of evaluation: Goals and Accountability; Job Performance; Individual Characteristics; Aspirations and Assistance; and Employee Feedback. These areas, applied through an employee self-evaluation followed by direct interaction between employee and supervisor, serve as discussion points as well as a means of performance documentation. While still primarily subjective in nature, the process significantly reduces any perception of unfairness and allows the employee to document issues for future reference. Introduced six years ago at the Birck Nanotechnology Center at Purdue University, the process has undergone numerous tweaks and enhancements leading to the version documented in this paper.