Motivate Employees with Effective Performance Appraisals

Create A Better Employee Performance Appraisal Process In 5 Steps

Editors Note: Employee retention continues to be a hot topic among large and small employers, alike. So, we updated this archived article to provide you with insight that will help you motivate your existing employees with effective performance appraisals.


Hiring high-caliber employees is the first step in building a strong company. Getting superior performance from each existing employee is the second. To motivate your employees to give their best performance every day, you must first take a closer look at your company’s culture.

Employers should create a culture of excellence – one in which employees are aware of the company’s high standards and high expectations. You should then work to build a sense of teamwork and camaraderie. Above all, employees should know they are part of a team that respects them as individuals and values their role in the overall operation of the business. Finally, employers should work to provide programs that encourage mutual performance feedback.

By implementing these techniques, your company will be positioned to attract and retain the industry’s best workers while simultaneously gaining a competitive edge by maximizing the potential of each employee.

Here at Rea & Associates, we use performance appraisals as a tool to encourage employees to think about their own professional development. To get the most out of your performance appraisal efforts, consider the following tips.


Listen to episode 172, “How To Ensure Your Best Employees Stay Put,” on Rea’s award-winning podcast, unsuitable on Rea Radio.

1. Provide a clear definition of what ‘top-notch performance’ looks like.

A supervisor must know employees’ day-to-day tasks so that he or she can provide the employee with a picture of what a successful employee would look like. Start by providing your employees with a clear, written job description to illustrate what success looks like for each role in your company. Your definitions should not be based solely on tasks. Be sure to include the personal characteristics an employee might demonstrate to effectively achieve success in their current positions.

2. Encourage self-evaluations.

Encouraging your employees to evaluate their own work performance is a great way for them to better understand their role in the business and their overall contribution to the success of the company. This two-way dialog improves employee retention by showing workers that their opinions matter. Furthermore, it encourages them to take ownership of their ongoing professional development while helping their supervisors gain insight into the employee’s mindset. By listening to what your employees have to say, you gain valuable insight that can be used to ignite their passion for the job.

3. Include multiple reviews.

Your employees will likely work with many other people over the course of a day, which means that feedback secured and provided exclusively by one’s direct supervisor is unlikely to provide a true understanding of an employee’s true work performance. To develop an accurate picture of your employee’s performance, try include input from others on your team. A more thorough approach will provide you with additional information related to your employee’s work performance and how they perform as part of your company’s team. That being said, a word of caution: Do not link pay to evaluations whenever peer reviews are part of the evaluation process. Allowing coworkers to help determine who does or does not receive a raise can create a bias in the process.

4. Give example-oriented comments.

The feedback you provide to your employees should zero in on specific tasks. In this way, employees can see tangible examples of how they can improve moving forward.

5. Spend most of the discussion on the future.

Almost 75 percent of an effective performance appraisal focuses on the employee’s goals and future direction for improvement. Written goals should be reviewed and updated at least annually.

When employees know what’s expected of them, they are more likely to deliver the results you want. Having the best people working for you is the foundation to a successful company.

By Renee West, SHRM-SCP, PHR (New Philadelphia office)

Looking for more insight that will help you recruit and retain top talent? Check out these resources:

Build A Strong Organization With An Interview Plan

Podcast | Recruit A Team That Loves To Give Back

Find & Keep Top Talent In Today’s Economy


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