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Secretaries wear a number of hats in the workplace. They are the executives’ gatekeepers, the first responders for job seekers looking for open jobs and the employees who have to interact with practically every worker, regardless of position, title or role. Therefore, in addition to their computer proficiency, they need core competencies and professional traits that enable them to perform their job duties. Evaluating a secretary’s job performance requires fair and objective rating for functional expertise and balanced feedback concerning core competencies and professional traits.
Read the secretary’s job description to ensure you have a clear understanding of the secretary’s responsibilities. Review past performance appraisals, attendance and productivity records, feedback from colleagues, disciplinary actions and commendations. If there was a performance improvement plan in place before the current appraisal, review the goals set out in that plan to determine whether she’s achieved the milestones contained in the improvement plan.
Measure his functional skills, meaning how well he knows how to use software applications, such as MS Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint. Rate his proficiency and accuracy in producing letters and spreadsheets. Determine whether his composition skills are up to par – whether his writing skills require constant oversight to catch errors or if he routinely overlooks important elements of written communication. Simplify the rating process for functional expertise by using a numeric or alpha scale. For example, on a scale of 1 to 10, rank his secretarial skills as a 5 or 6 if you believe they are average. For a secretary whose work never has to be corrected, rate his expertise closer to or at a 10.
Rate the secretary’s performance in specialty areas, such as legal, medical and executive assistance. For example, if the secretary works for a law firm, evaluate performance in areas such as how familiar the secretary is with legal processes and the law firm structure and organization. Likewise, evaluate a medical secretary according to duties that include interaction with patients, medical terminology and familiarity with health-care-related patient privacy measures. Executive secretary job performance can be rated according to how the secretary handles logistics for executive board meetings and matters relevant to executive leadership.
Look at the core competencies required to be a secretary; use the job description to determine the core competencies needed to fulfill the job requirements. Core competencies are qualities a secretary needs to do her job. For example, verbal and written communication skills, an eye for detail and perfectionism, and the ability to discern what falls under her supervisor’s purview and which matters she can resolve within her own authority. These are areas that usually can’t be measured using a rating scale like the one used for functional skills. Measuring core competencies must have concrete examples to determine the secretary’s performance rating. For example, to determine where her performance falls in terms of resolving workplace issues with her position’s authority, review the way she handles customer-service issues. If she has effectively resolved issues with irate clients, then her rating should be well above average for problem-solving capabilities.
Examine his professional traits — these often are the traits upon which a hiring decision is made. Candidates with excellent functional expertise and superb core competencies might seem best suited for the secretarial role; however, it’s the professional traits that usually convince a hiring manager that the secretary will be a good fit for the organization. Look for illustrations of professional traits, such as dependability, integrity and work ethic. For example, to evaluate a secretary’s dependability, review his attendance records and feedback from co-workers, if provided. If he rarely misses a day of work for unexpected absences and always is the employee others can count on to pitch in, then his score for dependability should be quite high.
List the secretary’s professional goals for the next evaluation period. If there are goals from the previous evaluation period that haven’t been accomplished, incorporate and prioritize those goals for the coming evaluation period with new goals. Provide balanced feedback for the secretary’s job performance, which means complimentary remarks as well as constructive input.