A formal evaluation is a written list and summary of an employee's performance. It is an opportunity for a manager and employee to go over the strengths and weaknesses of work performance. During the formal evaluation there should be no surprises, as communication between a manager and an employee should be ongoing.
You can conduct formal evaluations under a few circumstances. When an employee starts at a company, there is typically a probationary period. A formal evaluation should follow the probationary period. In addition to this, an employee should receive a formal evaluation at least once a year. And lastly, if an employee has received disciplinary action, there may be a formal evaluation to document the situation.
The format of a formal evaluation can vary depending on the needs of the company. A company may choose to use a format where there are ratings in a number of categories. The other possibility is to have written sections of a person's strengths, weaknesses and goals. The format can also be a combination of both ratings and written comments. Although format can vary, it is crucial that the evaluation used is the same among all employees, so treatment of all employees is consistent.
The goal of a formal evaluation is to let employees know how they have performed in all areas of their jobs. The areas covered can include cooperation, attendance and punctuality, reliability, initiative, attitude and specific job skills. Each of these areas can be broken down into smaller components. An example of this would be within the attitude category -- you can have components such as "accepts construction criticism," "willingly offers assistance" and "shows consideration to others." Other areas you can cover are the strengths and weaknesses of the employee.
Presentation of the formal evaluation should be in a setting where the manager and employee can talk freely. The location should be one where other employees cannot hear the results of the evaluation. The employee should have a copy of the evaluation so he can follow along as the manager explains it. After the evaluation, the employee and manager should both sign the evaluation and it should be placed in the employee’s file.