Employee performance evaluations aren't a one-size-fits-all proposition. Every person who works for you makes a unique contribution to your business, so performance reviews should reflect individual situations. There are, however, a handful of general evaluation factors you can use to assess the progress of virtually every employee in your organization.

Work Product

The quality, quantity and substance of an employee's work is a primary component of a performance evaluation. An employee must have the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform her job. Can she get the job done without constantly asking for help? Does she have the skills she needs to be productive? Does she complete her work on time and without errors? This critical factor of a performance evaluation assesses how well the employee does the nuts and bolts of the job she was hired to do.

Attitude and Behavior

An employee who produces high-quality work can deflate her value to your business by engaging in behavior that disrupts the workplace and demoralizes her co-workers. A performance evaluation is a good time to address unsatisfactory behavior such as gossip, complaining and insubordination, but don't focus only on the negative. Praising positive behavior is as important as correcting behavior that needs improvement. A reliable employee who fosters a spirit of communication and cooperation deserves to be recognized and rewarded.

Progress Toward Goals

A regular performance review is an ideal time to review an employee's progress toward work-related goals. Employer and employee can discuss why incomplete goals were not achieved and whether the employee needs additional resources to reach her goals. You both may decide that a goal was unrealistic and adjust it. Reward the employee for goals she successfully achieved in proportion to the achievement. For example, completing a long, complex project on time and under budget may merit a cash bonus or raise, while giving a gift card or public recognition is suitable for minor achievements.

Performance Evaluation Form

Many employers use a form or template to conduct performance evaluations. The form should list the factors that are most important to your business and provide a rating scale for use during the evaluation. Reviewing the employee's job description may help you identify which factors you want to evaluate. Going over the form with a new employee during the on-boarding process helps establish your expectations for performance and helps the new hire work out ways to meet or exceed expectations.