How to Evaluate Employee Performance in 15 Easy Steps

How do I fairly evaluate an employee? When evaluating an employee for a periodic review, a raise, or a promotion, you need to have a checklist of measurable performance criteria that can be applied consistently to all members of your department. This article uses simple language to help you objectively evaluate how employees have performed their job duties and how they stack up against other employees in the same position.

NOTE: Keep these performance criteria in mind when preparing to meet with your boss on your own employee performance review!


Below are 15 performance criteria and 5 performance levels. Using these criteria as a guideline will ensure that you have fairly evaluated the employee. To obtain an overall rating of the employee, apply a performance level by number to each of the performance criteria. Add the total performance numbers and divide by 15.

Things You'll Need

  • Knowledge of employee's job requirements
  • Record of classes / training attended throughout the year
  • Attendance records
  • Productivity reports
  • Previous year's performance review


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      AMBITION / INITIATIVE - Does employee demonstrate ambition in the position (not to move out of it, but to perform it) and take initiative to improve the process, product, or overall work environment?

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      ATTENDANCE - Has the employee's attendance (even within company guidelines) had a negative impact on the department productivity or morale? Has the employee's attendance been exemplary?

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      ATTITUDE / COOPERATION - What is the employee's attitude towards you, towards peers, towards the work in general? Is he or she a pleasure or a chore to work with? Is the employee reasonably flexible when asked to perform a job function outside his or her normal duties, or to work outside his or her normal hours for a special project?

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      COMMUNICATION SKILLS - Does the employee have the ability to adequately communicate with peers, managers, and customers? Have there been any issues created, or solved, due to the employee's communication skills?

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      DEPARTMENT AND COMPANY ORIENTED - Does the employee have a broader view and deeper understanding than simply his or her own duties? Does he or she speak of the department or company with pride?

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      FOCUS - Is the employee able to maintain focus on the task at hand? Does he or she have difficulty prioritizing job duties above personal business or socializing with other employees?

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      IMPROVEMENT FROM PREVIOUS EVALUATION - Has the employee demonstrated marked improvement from the previous performance evaluation?

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      INTEGRITY - Does the employee demonstrate ethical behavior in the workplace? Does he or she respect the privacy of other employees and of customers?

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      KNOWS WHEN TO ASK - Is the employee able to differentiate between independence and arrogance in the performance of job duties? Does he or she know when to ask a question rather than simply making a guess and moving on?

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      LEVEL OF TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE - Does the employee have and demonstrate an acceptable level of technical knowledge to perform his or her job duties?

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      PRODUCTIVITY / DEADLINES - Is the employee able to consistently meet productivity requirements and project deadlines?

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      QUALITY OF WORK - Has there been positive or negative feedback from customers regarding the quality of the employee's work? What have you observed regarding the employee's work quality?

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      RELIABILITY / GO-TO PERSON - Is the employee reliable? Does he or she consistently demonstrate competence and dependability? Is he or she your "go-to" person?

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      STRESS MANAGEMENT - How does the employee deal with changes in the work environment? Is he or she able to sift through the "noise" and focus on breaking down the task at hand in order to complete it on time? How does the employee interact with other members of the department when tensions are high?

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      TEAMWORK / PITCHING IN - If the department is short-handed, does the employee willingly pitch in to finish tasks assigned to others in the department as appropriate? Does the employee volunteer to assist?

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      1) Needs Improvement - Employee has not fully mastered the requirements of the job or is not able to perform in a way that reflects understanding of the job duties. Needs additional training or practice to meet standards.

      2) Minimally Acceptable - Employee meets some of the essential functions, but has not demonstrated mastery of all job requirements.

      3) Meets Standards - Employee has little or no difficulty applying the technical/knowledge requirements of the position to perform in a fully competent manner.

      4) Exceeds Standards - Employee often exceeds standards in some aspects of the job, and fully and consistently meets standards in all remaining aspects.

      5) Outstanding - Employee possesses and applies a depth of job knowledge that makes the job look easy. Continually enhances knowledge and skills through self-study and structured training. Mentors other employees, as appropriate.

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