An employee evaluation is the assessment and review of a worker’s job performance. Most companies have an employee evaluation system wherein employees are evaluated on a regular basis (often once a year).
Typically these assessments are done at year-end or on the employee's service anniversary. That is, if you were hired in February, your evaluation is in February, and if you were hired in December, your evaluation is in December. Many companies tie their annual raises to employee evaluations.
If your business does this and does evaluations based on your service anniversary, you can find that employees hired at the end of the year receive disproportionate raises compared to their coworkers. This happens when managers either use too much of their raise budget early in the year or save everything until the end when they must either use the money or lose it.
Why Employers Use Employee Evaluations
Regular employee evaluation helps remind workers what their managers expect in the workplace. They provide employers with information to use when making employment decisions, such as promotions, pay raises, and layoffs.
In a traditional employee evaluation, the manager or supervisor writes and presents the employee's contributions and shortcomings to the employee. The manager and employee then discuss improvements. Some organizations ask the employee to write a self-evaluation before the meeting.
Self-evaluations are often critical to your good performance rating. Managers cannot possibly know everything you do every day. So a well-written self-evaluation with successes and complex projects listed can inform, or remind, your manager about the goals you've accomplished and the contributions you've made during the year.
By writing this up, you can influence your manager's final decision about your performance rating. If you've received praise from clients, either internal or external, include them in your self-evaluation to let your manager know that others appreciate your work.
The performance evaluation process in organizations is ongoing - every day - as the manager or supervisor observes and coaches each employee's performance.
In many organizations with a formal employee evaluation process, employees are ranked and rated in comparison to other employees. Raises are assigned based on both the assessment ranking and the rating - usually one to five - that the manager assigns to the employee's performance.
Additionally, some organizations determine, in advance, the percentage of employees whom you can rank one, two, three, four, and five.
Managers and Employee Scores in an Evaluation
Some managers dislike giving negative feedback and will inflate their workers' ratings to avoid difficult conversations or to make their department look good up against their peers. However, remember that in the case of a layoff or firing, lawyers can subpoena these employee evaluations as evidence in a court case.
If a manager fires an employee for poor performance in June, but the employee can produce an evaluation from December that rates them highly, the company will have a hard time defending the decision to terminate.
Other managers feel that unless you were awarded a Nobel prize, you're nothing more than an average performer. These managers rate their employees lower than they should. This can demoralize employees and lead them to seek out new employment.
Managers should keep in mind that low-performance ratings lessen an employee's chances of promotion and growth within the company. They increase the chance of a voluntary termination. An accurate low rating can help weed out bad employees, but an inaccurate one can drive high performers out of the company.
Your Rights as an Employee
If you receive an evaluation that you disagree with, most companies have an appeal process. You generally can meet with a Human Resources manager and your manager, and sometimes your boss's boss, to go over the reasons for your rating. You can present evidence that perhaps your boss forgot. A well-written self-evaluation can often head off a false appraisal.
Keep in mind that many companies have forced rankings and can only mark a certain percentage of employees as exceeds expectations. You may have been spectacular, but if you weren't as spectacular as your coworkers, you may find your rating lower than you truly deserve.
Also Known As: performance appraisal, performance assessment, performance management