Performance evaluations are periodic reviews of employee performance. While most organizations have some type of employee appraisal system, not all of them have clear goals that help optimize the benefits of evaluations. Without clear objectives, appraisals may become a process of going through the motions, which causes employees to view them as necessary evils.


A major objective of evaluations is to motivate employees to a higher level of performance. By addressing areas for improvement and encouraging the employee to work on them, you can motivate him to deliver better results. When you point out areas of strong performance, you reinforce the positive feelings the employee has about doing go work. On the whole, your goal is to leave the employee feeling good about where he stands, but motivated to grow and deliver even more.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is closely related to the motivational motives of evaluation. When you meet to review an employee's work, your evaluation should be directly related to goals you set with her for her job. If a sales employee has a monthly goal of $50,000 in sales, you can compare her actual performance to the goal. When an employee struggles to meet her work goals, you can discuss additional coaching and training needs to get her there. If she has consistently or easily met her objectives, your evaluation is a chance to raise the bar with higher goals.

Convey Importance

One subtle objective of evaluations is to show employees that they are valued. Taking the time to share your feedback helps the employee get a better sense of how he fits into the company and why his job matters. While this type of attention doesn't cover up for months of ignoring employees, it does reinforce other efforts you make to strengthen employee morale.

Employee Development

The strongest evaluations are connected to a broader system of employee development. This involves collaboration between managers and employees to set goals for skill development and job promotion. Each evaluation offers a chance to review skill levels for an employee related to her current job and prospective job. You can discuss training and methods for the employee to enhance current skills and acquire new ones that prepare her for the next step in her career. This helps with employee retention and strengthens the company over time through more loyal and knowledgeable workers.