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Employee Evaluation Definition

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An employee evaluation is a tool used by managers and human resource departments to review an employee's performance during a set period of time. Often evaluations include details about productivity, attitude, punctuality, and the employee's ability to meet goals. Employee evaluations can have a positive impact on all aspects of the business when they are properly utilized to help coach and reward employees.

Evaluation Process

Each company has its own unique way of conducting employee evaluations. Most typically, the human resources department will have a form with questions for the manager to answer. These forms are filled out with responses based on the employee's work during the set review period. Written employee evaluations are completed by the manager and reviewed with the employee to acknowledge accomplishments and establish a plan for improving weak areas of performance.


There are many benefits to conducting employee evaluations. Employees that are having problems in specific areas will gain the advantage of receiving personal attention to help overcome challenges, while employees that have gone above expectations are acknowledged for their efforts.Employee evaluations also serve as a written record of any areas that need to be improved. These evaluations can assist in situations where unemployment insurance claims are made by proving that the company attempted to help the employee improve productivity without positive results. When properly done, an employee evaluation can be an excellent motivational tool.

Importance of Employee Evaluations

Written evaluations are very important in large companies with multiple departments. As upper level management is unable to know the details of each employee's performance, a written review allows these key managers quickly access relevant information when needed. Human resource managers benefit from employee evaluations, as the ability to track common concerns across multiple departments allows for more effective planning of training programs.

Resistance to Employee Evaluations

Many mangers and employees dislike employee evaluations. One of the common problems associated with these evaluations is that the manager may not have the detailed memory of the time period the review covers. As a result, the manager will base the responses on recent history only. This can give a false view of the employee's productivity as well as fail to acknowledge improvements the employee made during the time between reviews. Often it is the negative aspects of the employee that will stand out in the manager's memory, which can overshadow any positives on the worker's record. Employees often feel that these evaluations are impersonal and unfair. An employee that receives a review that highlights the negatives over the positives can lose motivation or seek employment elsewhere.

Establishing Expectations

Before an evaluation, the management team should clearly state goals and expectations of their employee's performance. Setting weekly, monthly, and yearly goals that allow for progress to be tracked is more factual than the opinions of a manager alone. Often combining goal setting and tracking with a traditional employee evaluations will better meet the needs of the company and its employees.


Jillian Peterson began her professional writing career in 2007, writing training manuals for the staffing industry. She contributes to eHow, specializing in staffing, employment and business-management topics. Peterson has an Associate of Arts in business management from the University of Phoenix and is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in nursing at the University of West Georgia.

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