How to write an employee evaluation: Evaluating an employee’s performance requires thoughtful consideration of the facts and an objective writing style

Here are helpful guidelines to writing an evaluation.

In the workplace, you may reach a level of supervision where you will be asked to provide an employee evaluation for someone whose work performance you oversee or are familiar with. The evaluation may be part of an annual performance review process at your organization, or it may be solicited due to special circumstances surrounding a job-related event or the employee in question.

An evaluation uses objective industry criteria to assess a person’s performance. For example, if you evaluate someone who works on a factory assembly line, that person’s duties may include running a machine, checking a product for consistency and acceptability, keeping the area clean, and maintaining equipment. Each of these tasks may entail a list of specific actions that the employee is supposed to perform on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Using a checkmark grid of dated tasks, a supervisor can quickly see the degree to which an employee performed the required duties. A “Comments” section allows for notations about the employee’s effectiveness, or lack of, in performing the job.

How to write an employee evaluation

Annual, semi-annual, or quarterly evaluations often are prepared on ready-made forms for this purpose. At other times, an evaluation may be written sporadically or “on demand” to meet a special need within the company or arising from specific circumstances. As with all company documentation, keep a file copy and give one to the employee.

Evaluation criteria may include attendance, attitude (to coworkers, supervisors, and clients), job performance, limitations, and opportunities for improvement. Disciplinary actions may be noted, if any have occurred since the previous evaluation. The form may provide a numerical scoring grid with point values, or it may simply ask for summary comments about the employee’s job skills. Evaluation used for merit pay, raises, and bonuses may require documentation of the employee’s going “above and beyond” routine duties, such as willingness to stay late, come in early, or assume additional tasks for an employee who is on vacation or on temporary disability leave.

Make objective statements. Rather than stating, “The employee does a decent job,” write “Miss Smith has no record of policy violations or disciplinary actions.” Include feedback like “Two supervisors in Miss Smith’s department have provided strong written assessments of her work performance over the past year.”

Arrange to go over the review with the employee, allowing for explanations or feedback, which should be noted in the file. Both the employee and the supervisor should sign the form, and the employee should receive a copy. Disciplinary actions, if any, should be spelled out, along with expectations for revised performance.

Some companies use a SWOT analysis–strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for growth, and threats to improvement. You can develop your own grid to better suit your organization’s objectives, using a numerical scale or other weighting system to measure performance across a spectrum of job activities.

Evaluating an employee’s job performance requires thought, care, and objectivity. Set aside time to do a good job for those under your authority, since evaluations often impact an employee’s progress, or lack of, within a company.

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