Businesses across industries use evaluation practices for a variety of purposes. Whether you are a nonprofit, commercial, government, or philanthropic business, an external evaluator is hired to measure the success of a program, a product, a system or even employee performance. External evaluations bring in a non-biased person or company from outside the organization to serve as a neutral and independent third party. This approach ensures personal feelings and prior knowledge of the company do not interfere with the specific evaluation task at hand. There are several different methods an external evaluator can use.
An outside evaluator can evaluate staff members on product or service information sought through one-on-one interviews. This allows the neutral and independent evaluator the opportunity to assess specific issues raised by the company. For example, if an external evaluator is brought in to gauge employee satisfaction with a diversity, equity, and inclusion plan, the evaluator may ask employees about issues related to hiring and retention practices, pay raises, promotions, and overall leadership and organizational norms, practices, and policies.
External evaluations can be conducted via focus groups in which a select group of people are brought into a controlled environment and asked specific questions about their individual perceptions or experiences with a business. For example, an external focus group may be used to gauge public perception or solicit feedback about staff engagement or customer service issues. Focus groups can be used to get input about why former clients ceased business relations with a company.
An impartial observer can evaluate various aspects of a company through observation techniques. For example, a company that wants to measure staff efficiency may use an external evaluator to observe customer interactions, timeliness of service delivery and traffic flow in and out of a place of business. A retail business may utilize an external observer to monitor customer wait times or customer and employee interactions.
Survey can be used externally to collect quantitative data from different sources. A survey may be targeted at current, past or prospective customers or at the general public. Surveys can help evaluate the effectiveness of a program or service by asking specific questions or requesting specific feedback. A survey can help identify target demographics.
External audits can be performed on different functions and systems of a business. Using this approach, an external evaluator examines specific issues encountered by a business. For example, a company that wants a racial equity audit may hire our firm to independently evaluate practices, policies, and norms of a business and make recommendations about measures to help make the business fairer and more equitable.
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