Jay Van Deusen, president of Van Deusen Construction, in Bel Air, Md., says the company has been using this evaluation system for a couple of years now.

There are really two parts to it. The first is the “key accountabilities” set for each employee at the time they are hired (for more information about this. Some of these are unique to the employee and his or her job; some are constant across the board for all Van Deusen employees. “They can see clearly what it takes to be successful,” Van Deusen says.

The second part is the evaluation itself. The employee, the employee's supervisor, and Van Deusen each take their turn — independent of one another — grading the employee's performance in each of these areas. Just as importantly, they also each have the opportunity to comment on progress made, note things that could be improved, and give a pat on the back for a job well done when appropriate. After they've each completed the task, they get together to discuss it. “It's a 360-degree review,” Van Deusen says.

We've had to significantly alter the form to get it to fit on a single page. As Van Deusen uses it, the “conversation” runs down the page, rather than horizontally across it. Additionally, each key accountability is described in a “notes” section; to save space, we've only shown one example of that.

We've also fabricated this review; the key accountabilities are those of Van Deusen's actual bookkeeper, but the employee name and all the grades and comments have been changed.