Periodically evaluating the performance of employees is an important responsibility of a small-business owner. Conducting evaluations provides an opportunity for an employer and employee to talk candidly about correcting performance issues, meeting goals and objectives, and looking ahead to the future. When a negative assessment is made, it can have varying effects on the employee. The staffer may take the performance improvement suggestions and look for ways to step up performance in the future, or be frustrated by the negative assessment and fail to make meaningful changes.

Positive Effect

In some instances, employees are not aware of their poor performance levels until receiving a negative evaluation. In this type of situation, bringing specific performance deficiencies to employees' attention provides an opportunity for them to reevaluate and refocus, and to start fresh with new goals and objectives. An employee may be grateful for the feedback and direction, particularly when the critique is constructive in nature and helps the staffer see the ways in which future improvements can benefit both his career and the success of the company. This type of person can be motivated by a poor review and strive to excel in the future.

Negative Effect

Some employees may feel frustrated, angry and resentful at a negative assessment, particularly if they disagree about the elements of the critique and believe they are doing an adequate job. In this case, an employee may see no reason to change future behaviors, believing the current levels of performance are acceptable. This can lead to continued poor performance as well as create a disgruntled employee who may care even less about his future performance levels. This type if individual has the potential to impact morale and the productivity of colleagues if he exhibits a continuing poor attitude toward the company.

Neutral Effect

Some people simply hear what they want to hear, so may not fully grasp the impact of a negative assessment and what it should mean to their future performance levels. In this instance, the employee may continue at the same pace without being motivated to improve performance, while simultaneously not becoming frustrated enough to further decrease performance levels either. In this instance, it is vital to establish specific goals for the employee and to reevaluate improvements within a short, predetermined span of time. This puts the employee on notice that certain expectations are in place for performance improvement and will be measured and evaluated in the near future.

Positive Spins On Negative Assessments

It is possible to put a positive spin on a negative assessment for any type of employee, thereby increasing the likelihood that performance will improve in the future. This is especially true if the employees are given the tools necessary to improve their skills. For example, if an employee receives a negative assessment because he was unfamiliar with a particular type of software program or has poor time-management skills, addressing these issues and resolving them can be all it takes for the employee to go from poor performance levels to exceptional ones. In this case, the employee is bolstered rather than frustrated by the assessment and will move forward in a positive way.