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Employee Evaluation Process: Do’s and Don’ts

Employee evaluations, which can sometimes be called performance evaluations or employee performance appraisals, are a powerful tool to motivate employees, acknowledge achievements, find weaknesses, inform career trajectories, and much more. It’s no wonder why most organizations use them, at minimum, on an annual basis.

But what are the key steps to the performance evaluation process? What should be included in every good employee evaluation? In order to ensure the best performance review process, we’ve compiled a few employee evaluation examples to guide you. Use these Do’s and Don’ts as an employee evaluation criteria checklist.


Know the benefits of an employee evaluation so that you can use it properly and effectively.

Here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Improves collaboration and communication between teams, individuals, and managers
  2. Increases performance
  3. Increases engagement
  4. Increases productivity
  5. Improves company culture
  6. Identifies candidates for promotion
  7. Identifies training needs
  8. Improves satisfaction
  9. Improves retention
  10. Increases profitability


Confuse the sort of evaluation you’re trying to do, so that you don’t end up collecting the wrong information. There are different sorts of employee evaluations, and they each serve a different purpose.

  1. Top-Level Down – The traditional review method most envision, in which management is evaluating the employee, typically by meeting directly with them to discuss their performance. This method can be used to look at promotions, training needs, or other opportunities to help the employee succeed within the company.
  2. 360-Degree feedback – Self-reflection and evaluation can occur here, along with the evaluation of peers and team members. It is a multi-feedback, multi-source sort of review where an employee can gain feedback and understanding from their coworkers’ input. This is geared towards personal growth and development.
  3. Self-evaluation – The employee can assess themselves directly on how they feel they are doing within the organization, and their answers can be used for development and career training. Self-evaluations are not as objective, so sometimes may be added to 360-degree evaluations to help with skew and objectivity.
  4. Ranking – Employees designate a group—department, managers, or individuals—from highest to lowest, typically on a graphical rating survey template or design. This can be used for overall sentiment for the given topics.

While there are some other types or subgenres, these evaluation types encompass most of them. As they all have different purposes, you want to make sure you are using the right one that will be the most useful to you.


Plan out your employee evaluation process and questions. It’s not just about the questions on the evaluation—though those are super important—it’s also about what actions you take with the data you’ve received. Things like:

  1. Consider how you’re going to administer the evaluation. Will you make it in person, online survey, anonymous, etc? Depending on what type of evaluation you’re doing, things like anonymity and privacy become particularly important.
  2. Will you have training available depending on the results, and if so, what sort of training?
  3. Determine if things like internal promotion decisions, satisfaction data, company culture strategizing, etc. are based on the evaluation response.
  4. Time management, for taking the survey, getting responses, and time for meetings (if applicable) must all be accounted for in your process.
  5. Know the participants, their levels of investment in the process, and their roles.

Of course, most of this is determined first within the HR department, based on the strategies or needs of senior management or the executive leadership team. But it should still be understood and agreed upon by all parties.


You shouldn’t delay or not have good timing when it comes to evaluations, especially those that may affect employee pay, promotions, or training. Doing so, in general, can lower employee morale, lower employee satisfaction, and lower employee engagement. Employees want to feel heard, appreciated, and part of a team at their organizations. Employee evaluations are a powerful way to give them this feeling, even if it’s a top-level down employee review.

An evaluation opens a door of communication, transparency, and authenticity between employees and managers when done correctly, and can be a significant engagement driver. And if done wrong, it can also make an employee feel unimportant, or as if the company doesn’t care about their needs.

If you have the plan for annual employee reviews, then make sure you have allotted sufficient timeframes for getting them done. This is part of a promise made to the employees, and you should keep it.


Be candid, consistent, and clear on policies and procedures. Why? Because these will help ensure the validity of your data, as well as make the employee more comfortable. You don’t have to sugarcoat negative or constructive feedback. The more open you are when it comes to expectations and understanding job responsibilities and duties, the more effective an evaluation can be for the entire company.

In every way, employee evaluations are important to everyone within a company, no matter their position. Expressing this sentiment, adhering to growth and progression of your business, and strategically planning the use cases will make you more successful with employee evaluations in the future.


Fail because of lack of proper technology. Let’s face it, data can get really messy. While it can be easier to only look at information from a 1:1 interview evaluation, what if you want to monitor trends, keep up with performance checks, or time with company and sentiment?

What if you’re conducting a 360-degree evaluation in a company of 15,000 employees and 30 major departments?

You can imagine how having agile, robust, and powerful analytics can help you keep track of everything with easy-to-read reports. You’ll need software that can automate some of the processes, integrate with important HRM applications, and keep track of vast amounts of data in dynamic reporting. Even if you ignore the risk of human error as the most important reason to invest in software, efficiency and operational excellence require technology that is flexible enough to grow and produce results.

The technology aspect can benefit in ways like:

  1. Access to real-time information on a platform
  2. Audit trail available and accessible
  3. Identifies trends and blind spot
  4. Helps develop promotion, training, career development profiles
  5. Assists in KPI tracking

Make sure your technology is responsive and helps you do more with less!

The employee evaluation process is one that should be well thought out, outlined, and carried out along a strong feedback cycle for continuous improvement. Its use is invaluable to an organization seeking to do better by their employees and customers. Perfecting your process for evaluating employees will help you fully leverage their power for your company. Our employee evaluation template can help you connect performance and data to inform better decisions for you employees.

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