How to Write an Employee Evaluation in 6 Steps (With Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 1, 2022 | Published December 12, 2019

Updated June 1, 2022

Published December 12, 2019

If you have a management or supervisory role, you may need to write employee evaluations regarding workplace performance. An evaluation might be necessary following an employee’s probationary period or for an annual review. It is important to offer insightful and constructive feedback in the evaluation to ensure your team members remain motivated and continue to develop valuable skills.

In this article, we explain what an employee evaluation is, how to write an effective employee evaluation and provide examples. 

What is a performance review?

A performance review is a written review of an individual’s contributions on the job. These assessments require managers to review employees’ work productivity, essential skills and competencies, ability to meet deadlines, capacity to work with a team and attendance history.

Many companies have their own templates for these reviews, but most follow a similar structure. Employee evaluations typically require managers to make comments or use a rating system to rank their team members’ abilities to perform specific tasks and master certain skills. These assessments also invite managers to recount employee contributions and areas where they need improvement.

Companies of all sizes typically conduct employee evaluations annually as part of a year-end review process. In some cases, a manager will provide an evaluation after an employee’s work anniversary. Evaluations often determine whether a team member will receive a promotion or raise. 

How to write an employee evaluation

You can follow these steps to create an effective employee evaluation:

1. Review the employee’s job description

Get a current copy of each person’s job description and review the requirements. After working closely with team members, you may have adjusted your expectations based on each person’s typical performance and capabilities. Rereading each team member’s job description will provide context for your review based on their original expected responsibilities. 

As you read job descriptions, consider how well your team members perform their responsibilities and meet the requirements of the position. Make note of what each person does well, where your team members could improve and when they exceed expectations. Use these notes to frame your evaluation comments.

2. Highlight areas of improvement

If you’ve worked with a team member for more than one review cycle, find last year’s evaluations. Reread each one carefully to remind yourself about how your team members have performed in the past. Make note of issues they needed to address and areas where you suggested improvement. 

Consider how your team members have progressed throughout the year. Highlight the areas where they’ve improved, and be as specific as possible. If your team members have acquired new skills, completed training sessions or earned certifications, include those details in your employee evaluations. Try to remember the entire year of work to create a thorough and detailed evaluation that includes all of the progress.

3. Compare strengths and weaknesses

Next, use past evaluations and job descriptions to create a list of each team member’s strengths and weaknesses. Try using a SWOT framework—strength, weakness, opportunity and threat—to guide this part of the employee evaluation notes.

First, consider strengths, which include positive attributes, key accomplishments and areas of specialty. Then, make note of team members’ weaknesses, which include factors that prevent them from achieving goals. Third, consider opportunities for your team to excel in their performance. Finally, outline threats that could make a negative impact on their performance.

As you’re conducting this SWOT analysis, gather data to support your claims. You’ll need attendance numbers that demonstrate attendance records and sales numbers to highlight employees’ capacity for contributing to the company. Since your evaluation can impact your team members’ abilities to advance their careers, you’ll want to make sure your assessments are as accurate as possible.

4. Recommend actionable goals

Employee evaluations can not only influence annual raises and promotion opportunities but also help your team members plan for the year ahead. As you write your employee evaluations, think about how you can empower your team members to improve their performance and advance their careers.

Consider your team members’ job descriptions, past performance and your company’s strategic plan to determine objectives you can set for the coming year. Recommend actionable goals that will benefit individual employees, your team as a unit and your organization as a whole.

It can be helpful to establish SMART goals. By setting specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-based objectives, you can better help your team improve and excel.

Read more: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

5. Provide constructive feedback

Your team members will typically have skills and areas where they need to improve. Strive to provide positive feedback throughout your reviews. If you mention an area or a skill your team members haven’t yet mastered, recommend a tactic that can help them improve. By providing constructive criticism, you’ll give your team members actionable advice while still writing objective evaluations of their performance.

6. Welcome employee input

Give your team members ample opportunity to respond to their reviews and provide input on your comments, evaluations and goals. The more you engage them throughout the evaluation, the more likely they are to feel invested in setting ambitious goals and making progress toward key objectives.

Employee evaluation example

Use the following employee evaluation example to frame your statements and guide your language:

Evaluation for Rodrigo Rodriguez
Manager: Jamie Alvarez
Date: Dec. 14, 2019
Company: Georgia Flooring

Goals

- You take your performance goals seriously, and you implement clear plans for achieving objectives.
- You have a good understanding of how to reach your goals, and you request the resources you need to accomplish objectives.

Communication

- You present points thoughtfully during team meetings, and you excel at applying the feedback you receive during in-person discussions.
- You provide clear written instructions, and you always respond to emails promptly.

Learning

- You quickly acquire new skills and techniques.
- You adapt well to changing environments.

Work ethic

- You demonstrate a strong work ethic and often exceed expected productivity levels.
- You overcame several significant challenges this year, showing your resilience and commitment.

Leadership

- You manage projects and teams effectively, always ensuring that tasks remain on schedule and under budget.
- You serve as an excellent role model for your team, regularly demonstrating your strong work ethic and capacity to work as part of a team.

Teamwork

- You never hesitate to assist team members when they need help navigating a challenge or resolving an issue.
- You excel at delegating tasks to others, but you sometimes refuse to let other team members assign projects.

Innovation

- You have a strong understanding of standard approaches, but you never hesitate to try experimental methods.
- You maintain a strong sense of curiosity that enables you to think creatively.

Recommendation: Rodrigo has been an invaluable member of the team throughout the past year. He continually motivates his coworkers and works hard to make sure we meet deadlines. Sometimes, Rodrigo tries to manage too many leadership projects. I would recommend he attends Georgia Flooring’s teamwork workshop in February. Based on his performance, I believe Rodrigo deserves a 5% raise.

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