How to Do a Performance Evaluation That Won’t Make You Squirm


Bring up the words “performance evaluation” and most people will shudder, and most think it is a waste of time. The process is not well understood and even less well executed (very little training time is typically given to this critical process!). But it is a very important part of human resource management.

Performance evaluations can be informal conversation, weekly meetings, or a formal sit-down with a written evaluation – but the intent is the same, to give and receive feedback and make sure everyone is on the “same page.” If necessary, problems can be addressed rather than allowed to fester. As always, the human resource advice is to document performance and place it in the employee’s file, to protect against future legal issues.

In order to make this a productive process of mutual communication, you need to go back to the job description and review what is expected of this position. Take another look at this section of the example job description for the Staff Accountant:

Measurements of Successful Performance in this Position:

  • Key indicator reports and other standard reports are distributed to management based on the accounting schedule, 100% of the time, in keeping with the “On Time, The First Time” standard.
  • Journal entries, month-end balancing, sales tax, expense reports, inventory reports, and payroll are accurate to an agreed upon percentage, as measured by periodic audits.
  • Meets personal goals.
  • Completes all assigned training and educational programs.
  • Meets with his/her supervisor on a quarterly basis to discuss goals and progress.

That should be the basis for your “management by objectives” and the review itself.

A simple evaluation form can help you. For example, your performance evaluation form can contain this section:

progress on significant goals

… followed by a section for goal setting.

goals to be accomplished


Focus on expected performance and outcomes and set goals for personal and professional development. This takes the performance evaluation beyond the typically uncomfortable meeting where the manager fumbles for things to say and the employee can’t wait to get out of the room. Now it becomes a productive business meeting.

For more great human resource strategies and tools, check out my eBook, 7 Best Practices for Effective Human Resource Management, in the Amazon Kindle store.

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Posted in Employee Policies, Job Descriptions, Managing, Performance Evaluation Tagged with:

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