How to Appraise Performance for Strengths and Weaknesses

An employee's performance will reveal his or her strengths as well as weaknesses.
An employee's performance will reveal his or her strengths as well as weaknesses. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Everyone comes to a job with a set of talents and abilities. If you have done your job in the interview, you recorded a list of strengths and weaknesses for each person. Once on the job, employees will fall on either side of a performance line. Rarely do they shine in every category. It takes regular observation and coaching to verify consistent strengths and weaknesses. They are used to measure job performance during the appraisal process.

Things You'll Need

  • Job description
  • Appraisal form

Observe employee performance over time. Everyone has a bad day. One missed deadline or complaint from a customer doesn’t indicate a weakness. Managers make the mistake of waiting until a few weeks before an appraisal is due to observe work performance and habits. An employee may be going through a stressful situation that negatively affects their otherwise strong performance.

Measure strengths and weaknesses against job requirements. An employee may have a great sense of humor or follow each process step meticulously. Those abilities may make him or her easy to work with, but are not necessarily strengths. Strengths or weaknesses should be measured against job requirements. If a call center agent is required to handle 20 calls each hour and an employee consistently handles 25 with ease, she is a strong communicator and problem solver. If the data for those calls is a jumble of errors, the lack of attention to detail is a weakness.

Review each employee independently and determine strengths that rise above the “satisfactory” performance level. A strength is a work habit or ability that consistently adds value, advances the cause and motivates others. Attention to detail, a sense of urgency to complete a task, exceeding work quotas, on-time every time — these positive work behaviors are valuable strengths for any job.

Identify specific weaknesses. Those are work habits or traits that consistently fall below the “satisfactory mark.” Late or incomplete assignments, tardiness or absenteeism, consistent errors or rework and the inability to work well with co-workers or follow instructions are all weaknesses that affect productivity and performance.

Target one or two strengths and weaknesses for improvement before the next scheduled appraisal. Set goals and determine action steps with the employee to reach those goals. Recognizing areas for improvement is the first step to higher productivity and performance.

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