Building an Effective Performance Evaluation Tool

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Evaluation of an employee’s performance is an integral part of every organization undertakings (Sims, 2007). The aim of every manager is to have a workforce that is productive and progressive. This helps to maximize the utility of this factor of production. Maximum utility can only be achieved through close monitoring of the employees’ activities. Theory X developed by Mc Gregor states that people have a natural dislike for work and hence must be continually motivated towards performance (Schermerhorn, 2010). The managers then involve the employees through setting realistic performance standards and monitor them continually to ensure that they don’t deviate from what is set.

At the end of the budgeted period, the employee’s performance is measured against the standards to ascertain the extent to which the performance targets have been achieved. The evaluation results are monitored throughout the periods in order to identify the trend of employees’ performance over the years. This is the process of performance appraisal which is the official way of communicating to the organization’s employees about their level of performance in the organization (Rao, 2004).

Reasons for performance evaluation

Performance evaluation is usually carried out by various organizations for varied reasons. Some of the most common objectives of this exercise include:

  1. To identify the high performing employees and reward them accordingly. This acts as a motivator for all employees to improve their output.
  2. For development purposes. Performance evaluation enables the organization to identify the weak areas among employees so as to effectively plan for training programs.
  3. To prove legal compliance in case of law suits. Performance evaluation documents can be used to justify decisions in organizations such as promotions, dismissals and transfers.
  4. Communication purposes. A performance evaluation process can be used to gain information from the employees about serious issues in the organization such as the challenges encountered in the course of doing business and a shortage of other factors of production.

Performance evaluation methods

To carry out the exercise of performance evaluation, various methods have been developed. The methods adopted in any organization depend on the nature of assessment and the effectiveness of the method in giving the required results. In order to be objective in the assessment, employees with the same job description are assessed using the same evaluation method (Breakwell & Millward, 1995). The following are some of the methods of evaluating performance that can be adopted.

Rating scales

These are several numerical scales that denote various degrees of performance on the various performance attributes from the best to the worst possible. The best performance level is rated using the highest numerical figure in the scale, and the figures diminish towards the least performance level. It is especially useful in subjective rating methods.

Cost accounting method

In this method, the evaluator attempts to undertake a cost-benefit analysis on the employee. The yields from an employee’s performance in the organization are checked if they compare with the cost of maintaining the employee in the organization.

Comparative evaluation method

This method attempts to evaluate employees’ performance by comparing them with others in the same organization. It is usually a special way of benchmarking in the organization through establishing the best performing employee using this performance as a benchmark to gauge other employees’ performance.

Checklist method

In this method, all the desirable characteristics are listed down. If the evaluator believes that the employee has attained the characteristic, he checks it in the checklist, if not, he leaves it blank.

Essay evaluation

In this method, the evaluator is required to write down the strong and weak points of the employee. This method is particularly useful in assisting management to plan for training and development programs for their employees.

Forced choice method

This method involves the use of two or more words that describe the operation level of employees. All employees must fit in one of the choices presented.

Of all these evaluation methods explained above, the most appropriate method for the purpose of appraising the staff working in the capacity of “Study Abroad Manager” in our case is the valuation method, since most of the rating criteria are subjective, based on the duties of the employees working in that situation. The performance rating tool is as shown below:

Evaluation tool for “Study Abroad Manager’s job

Employee Name ………………………………… Employment Number ……………………


Evaluator’s Name ………………………………..

Job Title: Study abroad Manager

Evaluation tool scale and rating
Rating Excellent Very good Average Below average Poor
Score 5 4 3 2 1
Items Excellent Poor
Ability to effectively handle immigration issues
Ability to supervise and ensure accuracy for inputs to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
The ability to oversee English as a Second Language program
Ability to market and recruit students from other countries to attend this university
Ability to market and recruit students at this university to study abroad
Ability to coordinate acculturation activities for incoming foreign students
Ability to provide counseling and guidance to potential outgoing students and their family members
The ability to recruit local “Host Families” and coordinate their support and activities with international students
Ability to interact with various academic and administrative department chairs to, ensure consistency and cohesion with international studies and the current academic programs offered, and ensure the safety and well-being of both incoming and outgoing students
The ability to oversee the two student assistants


It is now clear that there exist various performance evaluation tools for measuring both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of an employee’s performance. There are no specific methods for assessing performance of employees in specific types of jobs. The method adopted is dependent on its applicability based on the performance variables being measured. However, more than one method can be used in order to capture as many facets as possible for exhaustiveness reasons.


Breakwell, G. M., & Millward, L. (1995). Basic evaluation methods : analyzing performance, practice and procedure. Leicester: The British Psychological Society.

Rao, T. V. (2004). Performance management and appraisal systems : HR tools for global competitiveness. New Delhi: Response Books.

Schermerhorn, J. R. (2010). Management. Chichester: John Wiley [distributor].

Sims, R. R. (2007). Human resource management : contemporary issues, challenges and opportunities. Greenwich: Information Age Publishers.

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