What Is a Performance Appraisal Evaluation?

T. Briseno

A performance appraisal evaluation is a method some organizations use to measure employee strengths and weaknesses. Often, for this type of performance review, employees have to complete paper or electronic filing of a self-assessment, weighing actual job performance against a rating system or scale from the highest to the lowest in terms of how well they think they do in their roles. After rating past and current performance, employees are typically asked to set goals for improvement in the future, usually with a set time-line for completing each goal. When employees complete their portion of the performance appraisal evaluation, generally a direct supervisor will review the assessment and goals and add comments, agreement or disagreement to ratings, and additional goals or critiques.

A performance appraisal evaluates an employee's performance.
A performance appraisal evaluates an employee's performance.

Organizations in the corporate, educational, governmental, and other fields can use a performance appraisal evaluation as a tool in determining salary increases, or, when poor performance is recorded, disciplinary actions for employees. Many companies perform annual reviews based on an individual's date of hire, but others may choose a performance quarter or other set time for filings to begin. Some organizations develop custom paperwork and reporting tools, while others purchase and utilize available software from an outside vendor.

Favorable performance reviews on the job may lead to a raise.
Favorable performance reviews on the job may lead to a raise.

Completing a performance appraisal evaluation can be time-consuming and will likely involve good record-keeping throughout the work year. A company may allow billable hours, or time set aside during the work day, for the employee to compile and file the needed papers. Employees may need to identify three or more off-site clients and/or on-site coworkers on their evaluations who can attest to their performance on specific projects or tasks. Self-assessment questions can vary from multiple choice format to short essay form and will likely include questions about strengths, weaknesses, and individual accomplishments. If completing a second or follow-up performance appraisal evaluation, employees usually will be asked about goals set on the previous appraisal and how they were met or not met.

A supervisor has an important role in balancing employee self-assessments with comments from colleagues and actual records of measurable performance on tasks. Whether a supervisor agrees or disagrees with an employee's own rating will determine possible pay increases or increased responsibilities within a department or organization. Generally, supervisors also decide whether to approve or revise an employee's goals for the coming review period or they are in charge of setting them for the employee. One of the clearest and most objective parts of a performance appraisal evaluation can be the goals section because it gives an employee a well-defined set of instructions for what the employer would like to see in the coming months or year. Completing goals can ensure at least some success before it's time to fill out the next review.

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