What Makes a Poor Employee Evaluation?

Employee evaluations give you an opportunity to praise good work and recognize staff contributions, which can be a motivating process. Evaluations also provide you with the chance to correct employees who are not meeting your expectations. An evaluation done poorly can leave you with unintended consequences that affect employee morale, retention rates and work productivity.


  1. If you, your managers and your employees don’t take the evaluation process seriously, they often end up just wasting time. Opportunities for improvement are lost when you enter into an evaluation with inaccurate or outdated information, an uncaring attitude or insufficient time to go over important details. Employees know when you don’t give the evaluations much weight or attention and tend to disregard the process as well. Putting off a scheduled evaluation also sends the message that the reviews are not a priority to you.


  1. Employees should know when an evaluation is imminent and on what criteria they will be judged. Serious infractions that have not been discussed ahead of time do not belong in an evaluation or the employee may feel ambushed. Evaluations provide time to discuss patterns of behavior, goals and expectations. They should include a level of praise or concern based on the time period since the most recent review, usually six months to a year in most companies. When evaluations are due, try to stick to your schedule, otherwise employees may spend fruitless time worrying about the upcoming review and wondering what will happen, even if the delay has nothing to do with them.

Lack of Preparation

  1. You lose respect when you enter an evaluation unprepared. You should have written records of the most recent evaluation on which you base your current recommendations. Employees’ pay raises often are based on the reviews and employees expect you to be fair, honest and up-to-date on pertinent facts about their jobs. Have copies of attendance records, sales results, customer complaints and supervisor remarks at hand during the evaluation. Prepare a list of questions for each employee to keep the interview on track. Keep the interview motivational to leave employees with a positive impression of you, the company and their place in the business.


  1. Evaluating employees with poor performance reviews provides its own set of challenges. While your goal may be constructive, designed to show where the employee can improve, you may end up with an angry or hurt employee. A lack of sensitivity leads to hurt feelings and misunderstood criticism. Done improperly, an evaluation of a poor performing employee can lead to an even greater deterioration in her job performance. Direct confrontation leads to defensiveness, denial and resistance, making it difficult to correct the employee’s behaviors.