Course Catalog

Performance Evaluations for Public Safety

Instructor(s):

  • Matt Dolan
    Attorney & Director, Dolan Consulting Group, NC

It is vital to successful agency operations that employee performance be observed, documented and discussed effectively.  Unfortunately, in far too many agencies, performance evaluations have little or no relationship to what supervisors are actually observing in the field.  The ramifications of broken performance evaluation systems include demoralizing high level performers, depriving struggling employees of the “wake up call” that they need to excel, and providing legal protection to toxic employees—those who are known inside the agency to be prone to misconduct or poor performance but whose written performance evaluations indicate that they are “meeting expectations”.

When agencies invest in creating performance evaluation systems that require detailed feedback from supervisors rooted in fact-based observations, these systems can be a vital asset to the agency.  But when performance evaluations simply become something that agency supervisors complete in order to “check the box” and move on, they can be a detriment to agency operations and an asset to plaintiff’s attorneys filing unfounded wrongful termination or failure-to-promote claims.

This training is designed, first and foremost, to assist agency leaders in determining what kind of formal performance evaluation system—if any—is right for your agency.  Attendees will be trained on the legal pitfalls of continuing the use of broken performance evaluation systems that do not reflect the reality on the ground.  And attendees will be trained on the common structural failings that doom so many supervisors who are attempting to accurately gage the good, the bad and the ugly that they are observing in their subordinates’ day-to-day performance.

Course Objectives:

  • Performance evaluations—are they helping us or hurting us?
    • The cost of inaccurate performance evaluations in arbitration, in court and in the court of public opinion
    • Is there a cost associated with failing to acknowledge our high level performers?
    • Inaccurate performance evaluations—a toxic employee’s best friend
  • Structural errors in crafting performance evaluation systems
    • Different job descriptions but identical evaluation criteria
    • Evaluation criteria that is vague and meaningless
    • Are we encouraging supervisors to “circle right down the middle” regardless of an individual’s performance?
  • If performance evaluations matter, then why aren’t we training our supervisors to do them right?
  • The relationship between progressive discipline and performance evaluations
    • Are we essentially erasing write-ups and commendations with pre-scheduled evaluations?
Developing Organizational Performance Leadership