Conducting fair, objective and accurate performance evaluations for your employees can be a daunting task. Maintaining consistency can be challenging, especially if you have more than one supervisor evaluating the same class of employees – workers doing the same tasks on different shifts, for example. Using a rubric is a way to standardize your evaluations.

Types of Rubrics

Broadly speaking, there are two types of rubrics. The holistic rubric has one overall score for performance. While you can enumerate the criteria that determine each level on your performance scale, the holistic approach is not likely to give the unambiguous evaluation that both you and your employees need. The analytic rubric breaks job performance into the different outcomes you seek to measure. The more specific your descriptions of the outcomes you expect and the criteria by which you evaluate them, the better your rubric will be.

Establishing Outcomes

To be successful, your rubric must identify and assess the key elements of an employee's job. Since the rubric is a guide for the employee as well as an evaluational tool for you, the language must leave no room for interpretation and debate. Your employees should understand that the criteria elaborated in the rubric are the standards on which their job performance will be rated. A good starting point for your rubric is the employee's job description. Since a typical job description lists the responsibilities and tasks associated with that position, you can build your performance evaluation around them. You might wish to add others such as office demeanor or professional conduct.

Building the Rubric

For each of your desired outcomes – the tasks in the job description – construct a scale to measure your employees' performance. Short scales (1 – 4) are better than long ones (1 – 10). With the longer scales, there is greater potential for employees to question your judgment. “I really think I deserve a 9 instead of an 8 because...” For each outcome, assign performance standards. Begin with 1 = Does not meet expectations … 5 = Excels at job. But do not stop there, because those criteria are too subjective. In each ranking, give a precise description of that level of performance. The more detailed your descriptions, the easier it is to complete the form. If you wish to compile an overall score, tally up the scores for all of the outcomes. If your rubric has 10 outcomes with five ranks for each, the maximum score an employee could receive would be 50.

Refining the Rubric

You will need to refine your rubric, making it a work-in-progress. For example, wording that is clear to you may not be understood in the same way by employees. When evaluating employees, have them complete the form first as a self-assessment. The degree to which your review parallels the employee's review will demonstrate what areas need clarification. While your review always trumps an employee's, his feedback is important to show areas that need more exact wording.