According to studies, 65% of employees want feedback from their employer which can improve and encourage them to perform well. An employee performance review is much more than looking at results sheets. Of course, this is important but can these results be improved even further? That’s what modern techniques of how to evaluate an employee have been looking for. 

The reasoning goes something like this: we will find out together what this employee is good at, how this can help our company, what he needs to improve even more, agree with him on a plan to develop all this and, in the end, everyone gets the results better results:

  • the employee is trained and develops his career;
  • you and your company achieve your goals and targets.

But it is not always easy to reach this goal. Before we focus on the latest employee appraisal methodologies, I will take a look at everything that’s commonly used in the marketplace, what has worked and what hasn’t.

After that, we will understand more clearly why evaluating an employee’s performance by competencies or by the 360-degree evaluation method are the most indicated ways to achieve improvement in results.

I will start with the seven most traditional models of how to evaluate an employee.

employee performance evaluation
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1. Employee performance evaluation by a graphic scale

This is the most used method due to its simplicity, ease of application and comparison of results. It is basically a table with 6 columns.  The first lists the items to be evaluated, for example: 

quality at work;

commitment, knowledge; 


teamwork ; 

achievement of goals; 


and others that are relevant to your business.

In the other 5 columns, alternatives such as: excellent, good, regular, poor and weak must be indicated.

Usually, this table is filled in by the employee’s immediate superior. This model is very agile but has the disadvantage of being extremely simplistic.

2. Employee performance evaluation by forced choice

You may have already answered this type of questionnaire, which is often used in the form of a self-assessment. One of the most used models consists of blocks of four sentences that apparently do not have a correlation with each other and that describe some behavior or characteristic of the employee.

The evaluator must mark only two sentences in each block of four, using a plus sign (+) for the sentence that best characterizes the subject and a minus sign (-) for the one that has the least to do with him. The other two sentences in each block are left blank.

Here’s a hypothetical example of a four-sentence block:

( ) Has high production

( ) Has a lot of initiative

( ) Does not tolerate pressure

( ) Fumbles with numbers

Despite being more detailed in their employee assessment, many managers are a little complicated when choosing alternatives.

3. Employee performance evaluation by field survey

The survey method requires the help of a human resources specialist who will interview each manager to assess the performance of his subordinates, providing all the technical and theoretical assistance he needs. They will then hold a meeting to decide together how they can plan each employee’s training. Because it is a standardized method, it has less subjectivity. However, expert assistance is required.

4. Employee performance evaluation for critical incidents

Focused on “off-the-curve” performances, this method pays attention only to extreme attitudes, either very positive or very negative, leaving aside “normal performance”. By verifying the amount of each type of “critical incident”, it is believed that the manager can assess what are the strengths and weaknesses of each employee. The disadvantage of this model is that it requires constant monitoring by the team.

5. Employee performance evaluation by objectives

Of the traditional methods of how to evaluate an employee, this is the one that brings the best results, because it comes from a conversation and agreement between leader and subordinate. After analyzing the company’s objectives together, the manager and employee define goals and objectives to be achieved and ways to improve performance. At specific periods, they meet again to evaluate progress and results.

But how to do this without getting lost in the middle of so much information? Well, you can prepare presentations such as leadership PowerPoint to discuss your goals so that you and the employee can come up with action plans.

6. Employee performance assessment by skills

A more current and modern method of evaluating employees is based on the idea that employees themselves can identify their strengths and weaknesses. Thus, it is up to the manager and the human resources team to help him identify how these competencies fit into the organization’s objectives. In this context, it is essential to understand capabilities as the set of behaviors that make a person stand out in a group in certain specific contexts. 

Competences are usually identified as the union of three essential characteristics of the individual such as knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Determine a plan to achieve this evolution and apply it at work. The results are usually interesting because your employees realize that this professional evolution will also benefit their personal careers.

7. 360-degree employee performance review

According to Forbes, more than 85% of 500 Fortune companies use 360-degree performance reviews to assess the overall leadership development process. As the name implies, the 360-degree assessment aims to inform the employee of the evaluations of all his colleagues, subordinates, superiors and even suppliers and customers. Don’t forget to do a self-assessment as well.

Evidently, the employee will not know who gave each of the feedback about him, but he will have a panoramic view of how his performance is evaluated by the company as a whole and by the other stakeholders. In this way, without individualizing opinions, employees become aware of which of their qualities are admired by the group and which should be worked on. 

Then, similarly to the evaluation by competencies, it is necessary to implement an individual and collective improvement plan, seeking the continuous evolution of the performance of all and, consequently, of the company.

As you’ve noticed, the most current methods don’t just focus on how to evaluate an employee’s performance. They seek to make employees aware of their potential and how they can develop them in a planned and effective manner.


The outcome of an employee’s performance evaluation may help identify the strengths and weaknesses of your employees. It will also help in setting the employees a better understanding of the employer’s expectations of them. This process has a huge impact on the company’s performance, morale and productivity.