Best Practices for Employee Performance Evaluations

Picture of Katie Fleming

Katie Fleming

Co-founder and COO of Owner Actions

A manager and an employee work through one of their regular performance evaluations

Does your business conduct performance evaluations for its employees? If so, your team is likely benefiting. Employee performance evaluations can offer them clear expectations, acknowledgments of hard work, coaching and redirection, and opportunities to speak with you one on one about their concerns and career goals.

As the owner of the business, you can benefit from this process, too. You can hear, firsthand, what matters to your team, where they struggle, and what they need to succeed. You can talk about problems as they emerge and coach individual employees toward better paths. Further, the time you invest in employee performance evaluations may help you avoid terminations, a toxic workplace culture, or disengagement among your employees.

This article will help you set up your approach to employee performance evaluations and implement best practices to help you, your business, and your team thrive.


How can I deliver effective employee performance evaluations?

Great employee performance evaluations include performance standards and goals.

Performance standards are items you hold your employees accountable to meeting. They describe what you want your team to accomplish in a given period, which might include completing a set number of outbound calls a week or meeting a specific sales goal per quarter. The performance standards you set should be specific, achievable, and relevant to your a person’s role.

Goals are customized to each employee to help them magnify their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Examples here could include the completion of training, the successful leadership of a side project, or another accomplishment that directly relates to the person holding the role and improves their odds of success.

With this in mind, you should set performance standards and goals for each of your employees around what you want them to achieve. Then, share those items with your employees. Give them clear expectations on what they are to do and what they’re expected to attain.


Be sure to document the performance standards and goals you set for your employees. You can either create a Word document or Excel spreadsheet for each employee or use a performance tracking system to simplify the task.


We prefer these tools for employee performance tracking:


How do I track whether my employees are meeting their standards and goals?

Regular evaluations should help. Try setting up a brief meeting with each of your employees monthly to talk about their progress and successes. If you find barriers to their successes, you and your employee can set plans to overcome them or find other goals that are more fitting for their path.

After the meeting, document your discussion. The records you keep will help you conduct your annual employee performance review.


How do I take on the annual employee performance evaluations?

Planning to give employee performance review sessions each year? Refer to your notes on performance standards, goals, and monthly progress updates to plan your discussion and write your formal report.

Using metrics, sales records, other reporting tools, and your own observations, you’ll evaluate your employees against some or all of the following points:

  • Did they exceed, meet, or fail to live up to their standards and goals?
  • Were they strong, moderate, or struggling performers?
  • Did they excel or struggle in producing quality work?
  • Had they offered solutions to emerging problems?
  • Had they shown improvement since the last evaluation period?
  • Did they receive good, fair, or poor feedback from customers, supervisors, and other employees?
  • Had they responded well or poorly to coaching, redirection, and feedback since the last evaluation?
  • Did they seem engaged, unengaged, or actively disengaged from their work?
  • How had they contributed to the culture of the workplace?
  • Had they shown accountability for their work and obligations?


What works best for most owners and managers is to write a full performance evaluation before meeting with your employees. You might also ask your employees to complete a self-evaluation. Other team members or supervisors can provide input, too. This prework can be a big help for setting up talking points about your employees’ strengths and opportunities for growth, but it’s also a great way to create the documents you’ll need to file in your employees’ records.

You can certainly create your own employee performance review forms. Or, you can save time on this step and download a free, readymade template. These two options work well for many businesses:


How should I deliver feedback during the employee performance evaluations?

Coach your employees to success by keeping these points in mind:

  • Speak honestly about your employees’ performance.
  • Offer specific examples of their successes, how they’ve met their goals, and where their opportunities for improvement lie.
  • Listen to your employees’ take on their performance and the challenges they’ve faced.
  • Set firm, realistic goals together to ensure your employees take ownership of them.


If performance plans are necessary, work with your HR rep to build and document a clear plan that you’ll share with your employees.

Interested in contracting with a fractional HR rep? Check out one of these popular options:

Play Video

CYB Human Resources

We put the human back in human resources.

You’re busy running a business, and if you’re like most managers, HR matters consume more than their fair share of time in your day. CYB Human Resources can help. Work with their team of SHRM-certified HR experts to form your HR strategy, construct training programs and documents, implement staff retention plans, and work through the personnel problems you need to take on. Contact Katie and her team today for a free quote.

Play Video


Put your HR on autopilot.

Looking for a dedicated HR Manager who will be your go-to resource for any people-related matter? Bambee has got your covered. Lean on their expertise to streamline your HR processes, identify your HR gaps, and automate your onboarding, policies, and employee training. They’ll even take on HR problems, support you through terminations, and provide the management coaching you need to perform at your best. Want to learn more? Click the link below.

Play Video


Powerful HR solutions with exceptional follow-through.

For more than 30 years, Insperity has been helping businesses like yours tackle HR challenges and access better benefits, technologies, and services that they might have alone. Their team excels at taking care of businesses and the people they employ. Interested in learning more? Click the Connect button below, and an Insperity team member will walk you through their services, which include full-service HR and specific, piece-by-piece HR tasks.


What’s next?

Log into your owner’s portal for a free step-by-step guide to lead your team, navigate legal concerns, prepare for tax and financial matters, and set up systems for success.

Want to take on other tasks?

Owners like you love our free step-by-step guides. Build one that's customized to your goals.



Leave a Reply

Related Posts