Performance evaluations are used to gauge an employee’s ability to meet the requirements of her job description and perform her duties as directed. Many evaluation processes examine performance, disciplinary issues, the meeting of goals and objectives and employee attitude. A judgmental or subjective approach to evaluation relies heavily on a manager’s personal assessment of performance more so than objective, pre-established evaluation criteria.

Uses of Judgmental Evaluations

A judgmental evaluation technique is typically used when assessing job performance in an area that's difficult to measure. For example, if a manager is evaluating the job performance of a sales associate, he can use concrete sales figures as a way to gauge whether goals and objectives are being met. A judgmental approach, however, is necessary when evaluating positions with intangible measurements. For example, creative endeavors such as art production or music writing are difficult to measure in numbers and require a subjective methodology.

Judgmental Evaluation Techniques

A judgmental performance evaluation should follow a format with as many measurable objectives as possible. This can include timeliness, attitude, dedication and teamwork. Without this semi-structured approach, it can be difficult for an employee to understand what the employer feels she is doing well and what areas need change. The approach should also use as many qualifiers as possible, especially with the manager describing, when necessary, areas for improvement. For example, an ad agency manager evaluating a jingle writer may not have a personal like for techno-style music but should be able to set aside that personal preference and describe other approaches he feels are more suitable for the agency’s clients.

Pros of Subjective Evaluations

A judgmental approach can be beneficial if the evaluator is a perceptive individual who is adept at providing specific criticism and feedback to employees. It can also be useful if the evaluation is not simply the opinion or perception of one individual but rather the consensus of other decision makers in an organization. In particular, this approach can work in a small-business environment where employees and managers have more direct contact.

Cons of Judgmental Evaluations

A judgmental evaluation is much less objective than a traditional scoring metric because it allows the evaluator’s personal views and opinions to enter into the equation. For example, a manager who doesn't personally like saccharine personalities may be overly critical of a customer service representative who is excessively cheerful, even if that individual is well received by customers. In this way, the personal views and opinions of the evaluator can interfere with providing a truly accurate assessment of how well an individual does her job in representing a company.