Employee Evaluations

April 8, 2008 by Mobile Beat Staff Writer

Compared to other occupations, mobile DJing is peculiar in many respects. But one element in particular stands out as most unique: for all practical purposes, the DJ employee plies his trade in an environment where there is no immediate supervisor. The multi-system mobile manager typically runs several DJ rigs and staffs jocks to work at sometimes remote job sites. Simply put, a lone supervisor can not be at five job locations at the same time.
This creates a supervision vacuum and underlines the importance of a monitoring system to insure that your clients are receiving quality performances. An employee performance evaluation is an excellent tool for ensuring that the requirements of your company are being carried out by your staff. But how does one go about devising an efficient evaluation system? Read on and see.The formal employee evaluation should not be confused with the evaluation that is sent out to clients after a job is completed. Rather, the formal employee evaluation is a summary of your observations, as a supervisor, of an employee. In addition to the employees’ performance on the job, you are also evaluating the employee on their conformity to company policy, equipment care, professionalism, reliability and numerous other items.

It is important that the formal employee evaluation is a positive tool to enhance employee performance. You should approach an employee evaluation session as an educational training tool to improve performance and recognize the employee for the positive things they do. In contrast, the employee performance evaluation should not turn into a disciplinary session, as it will lose the effectiveness of improving employee performance.

As a multi-mobile manager, you may have some concerns about giving an employee a formal evaluation. After all, most of your staff DJs are probably part-time employees. There is a legitimate concern that making things too formal in your company may result in negative reactions from your employees. I resolve this problem by basing employee pay raises on their formal evaluation.

For new employees, evaluations should be administered two or three times a year; for experienced employees, once annually should suffice. The content of the evaluation is something that should be closely examined. As a manager, your job is to be clear and concise on what you expect from your staff. This is why it is imperative that you have written job standards, such as a company training manual.

In addition, the job standards that you set should apply equally to all of your DJs. It is extremely important that you are fair and consistent in the way you evaluate your staff if you wish to maintain your credibility as a supervisor.

Specific job standards also assist you, the supervisor, when it is necessary to confront an employee with a performance problem: First, the employee’s behavior is shown to be unsatisfactory in comparison with the standard. Second, the amount of correction required can usually be precisely determined. Third, the employee is shown that the correction is a part of company policy, and not a personal attack.

The first step in establishing a formal employee evaluation is to devise the evaluation form. You should first establish several main categories, such as:

Equipment Operation and Care
Troubleshooting Skills
Music Selection
Microphone Presentation
There are several ways to go about developing an evaluation. The easiest way is to simply write a narrative description of the employee’s performance, which covers all of the categories you have selected. I prefer a form that specifically describes each standard, and a blank space to rate the employee on a numeric scale. The following is an example of an item listed in the “Professionalism” category:

“Wears tuxedo to each event (unless requirement is reduced by management), and keeps coat and tie on for the entire event…………………………._____”

The blank space is for the supervisor to hand write the employees score in this particular item. I use a scale of one to four. It is necessary to have a key listed on the form that describes what each numerical score means. I have the following scoring system:

1……………Poor or Never: employee must take immediate corrective action.

2……………Fair or Sometimes: Improvement is necessary.

3……………Good or Most of the Time: a slight adjustment necessary.

4……………Excellent or Always: Outstanding!!!

You will notice that each numeric rating can mean two different things, such as “fair or sometimes.” This allows you more flexibility in the way you phrase each of your job standards in the evaluation.

There is also one other important component to your numeric scoring system that is necessary. You should designate the critical items in your evaluation that the employee MUST receive a minimum rating of a 3 or 4, in order to be considered for a pay raise. I use a star system as follows:

* – One star means that the employee must receive a 3 or better on that job standard to be considered for a pay raise.

** – Two stars means that the employee must receive a 4 to be considered for a pay raise.

The following is an example:

“**Employee can be 100-percent relied upon to have the equipment set up and ready to go by the designated contracted time…………………….._____”

“*Employee arrives at the job location at least one full hour prior to the designated contracted time, and completes a full equipment check 30 minutes prior to the designated contracted time.._____”

In the above example, the first job standard is a critical item in which the employee must receive a numeric rating of a 4, in order to be considered for a pay raise. Most of you will probably agree that it is absolutely critical that an employee starts the music by the contracted time for each event. Anything less is simply not acceptable, and this must be communicated with the employee prior to them taking their first job assignment.

In contrast, there is a little more room for flexibility in the second job standard, which requires that the employee arrive to the job site and complete an equipment check 30 minutes prior to the event. In this category, we required a minimum rating of a 3, which means good or most of the time.

One of the benefits of the system I have described, is that I can give a new employee a blank copy of the employee evaluation at the completion of their training. This gives the new employee clear and concise information on what they need to do to not only receive a pay raise, but to excel as a professional DJ. There are no secrets on what a new DJ with my company has to do to get a pay raise, as everything is spelled out for them.

Once you have developed your evaluation form, it is imperative that you give your existing staff members a blank copy of it for review, with several months notice. If you start using a new evaluation system without communicating your new standards well in advance, you are sure to receive negative reactions from employees.

The system of evaluation more or less hinges on the success of the formal evaluation session. The most important point is interaction between the employee and supervisor.

Schedule the evaluation session for a minimum of 60 minutes. The evaluation session should be completely free of any distractions, such as phone calls, etc.

Start the meeting by explaining that the evaluation is a tool to help the employee improve his skills as a professional DJ. Give the employee a few minutes to review the evaluation form. You should also provide the employee with any customer evaluations that have been returned by clients. However, the majority of your evaluation should be based on your observations as a supervisor.

Once the employee has read the evaluation form, review the employee’s strengths and positive attributes. After covering the good points, the effective supervisor should encourage the employee to talk about how he or she views their position with the company.

Once you have had good dialogue on the positive points, you should review the areas of improvement that you feel the employee needs to make. One good method of accomplishing this, is to ask the employee if they have any areas they feel that need to be improved. In most cases, the employee will recognize their own weakness’, and make it easier for you to discuss them without it becoming a negative conversation. Disciplinary or other performance problems that were addressed since the previous evaluation should be recognized, but there is no real need to rehash them, because the employee is aware that they exist.

As the area’s of improvement are discussed, you should ask the employee to offer his or her solutions to making the necessary improvement. This is especially effective, as the employee is more likely to follow through with the corrective action if they assist with making the solution.

To complete the session, summarize your evaluation of the employee, and make every effort to end the session on a positive note. Tell the employee that they are a valuable asset to the team of disc-jockeys that you employ, and that their job performance makes or breaks the company’s reputation and ability to attract future business.

One alternative method of presenting an employee evaluation, is to give the employee a blank evaluation form, and ask them to grade themselves. In most cases, the employee will be harder on themselves than the supervisor is. This provides for a positive evaluation session, and gives the employee additional motivation to refine and improve their skills as a disc jockey.

The employee evaluation is an important tool in the development of your staff’s skills and abilities to provide professional disc-jockey service. As a multi-system operator, make sure it works for you and your company.

Mobile Beat Staff Writer (371 Posts)

This is the general editors account for Mobile Beat Magazine and Website. Who reads Mobile Beat online and in print and attends Mobile Beat events? DJs, VJs and KJs to start with, especially those who own and operate mobile entertainment services. They provide music, video, lighting and a myriad other entertainment choices for corporate events, wedding receptions, dances and innumerable other gatherings.

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