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Please Tell Me There is an Answer to Evaluating Employee Performance

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I’d love to start this post with something profound, but I’ll be honest: This one has me a bit stumped. Over the years, performance appraisals have evolved from once a year to a timeframe I heard about recently. A company said that they are doing a formal review and incremental increases weekly. Seriously? Who has time for that?

Is there such a thing as the right balance?

There’s only one way to find out, which is by asking ourselves, “What is the problem we are trying to solve?”Is the intent of the performance appraisal to give employees honest feedback? Do we just need it to determine the annual increase? Or do we want it as a tool to encourage and improve performance?

Let’s understand the end game before we waste any more time implementing another performance appraisal tool. Agreed?
We all use performance appraisals in different ways. The key is knowing what way that is.

For example, let’s say your goal is to build a solid feedback loop between supervisors and employees. A tool supporting more frequent communication is the way to go.

Maybe your primary goal is to have a numerical differentiator to determine how much of an increase to give. A tool with the capability of quantifying work will be critical. Based on pay cycle, a quarterly or annual review will probably do the trick.

Some companies need to increase overall performance and productivity. Achieving this takes time and commitment from employees, supervisors, and leadership. No tool will fix a systemic issue, so understand what is going on before spending tens of thousands of dollars on a Band-Aid. When you are ready for a tool, look for one that has the ability for frequent interaction, goal setting, and numerical differentiators. At a policy level, it is best to wrap this around consequences for poor performance and/or productivity.

When reviewing performance appraisal tools, balance out the time it takes versus the output. Don’t allow the tool to be the work.
Employees will view a performance appraisal tool the way you do. If you think it’s useless and don’t understand its purpose, don’t expect them to.

A useful performance appraisal tool has purpose, everyone understands it, and there are consequences.

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