Employee evaluation

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The employee assessment , employee assessment and personnel assessment is in the business organization theory , a component of the reward system for employees. It serves as an internal means for quality assurance or improvement of a company or a department.

Scope and shape

Employee evaluation deals with the perception and evaluation of an employee. It is basically considered in three phases: the observation, the evaluation and the discussion (mostly during an employee interview ). The supervisor should monitor behavioral characteristics continuously and objectively throughout the year. This requires suitable recording methods that are more convenient to implement web-based than paper-based. In the evaluation, evaluation criteria should be used that are understandable for the employee. The meeting serves as an exchange about the results of the two previous phases and about future improvement measures.

A distinction is made between employee evaluations after the conclusion of the employment relationship and ongoing employee evaluations. The most common form of employee evaluation after termination of the employment relationship, after a change of line manager or after internal transfers is the job reference .

Employee appraisals can be carried out together with the employee or carried out through him in the absence of the employee, e.g. B. to inform a senior manager or a future employer about the performance of the employee. Job references are generally issued by the employer without the involvement of the employee concerned. Appropriate suggestions and wishes of the employee regarding the content can nevertheless be taken into account.

Companies that are subject to the ERA collective bargaining agreement ( Südwestmetall Framework Agreement for the Metal and Electrical Industry) use the method of employee assessment by the assessor (disciplinary manager) to determine the performance component that exceeds the basic pay . This form of employee evaluation places particularly high demands on objectivity in order to keep employee complaints as low as possible. The criteria in the evaluation process must be worked out accordingly carefully. With the appropriate system support, the analytical evaluation method is superior to the highly condensed, summary method.

The employee evaluation ideally includes measures with the help of which all operationally relevant and observable personality elements can be recorded. These include:

Through standardized procedures, such as B. Questionnaires, the proportion of subjective assessments can be reduced in assessments. With the aim of doing as fair as possible to the employees in companies, prefabricated text modules or so-called items should be carefully developed. Companies that sometimes rely on pre-prepared criteria catalogs or questions, often damage their employer branding, which is so important for recruiting and retaining employees .

Regular employee evaluations in the form of an open employee interview prepared by both sides (every six months or annually) make it possible to determine the presence or absence of successes or progress.

For a successful assessment, some requirements should be met:

  • clearly defined corporate and departmental goals
  • Employee goals
  • Openness and transparency
  • Critical ability of both interlocutors
  • Willingness to implement measures

In conversation with the employee, you can look for possibilities for further improvement and record these as goals. It is often overlooked that the possibilities for improvement can also extend to the cooperation between the superior and the employee. This means that changes made by the superior can also be incorporated into this agreement. Fair and open appraisal interviews carried out in this way can contribute significantly to improving the motivation and performance of employees.

Absolute and relative rating

In the case of absolute evaluation , employees are assessed independently of one another.

In the relative evaluation , employees are evaluated in comparison to their colleagues. Examples are the 20-70-10 rule , according to which the best 20% of employees should be rewarded, the 70 next best 70% should be challenged and encouraged in the best possible way, while the weakest 10% should be fired. One consequence of a relative system is that even with an excellent workforce, some of the staff is rated poorly. Strict competitive systems of employee evaluation with a corresponding ranking (also known as forced ranking in English ), fixed quotas and the exclusion of so-called underperformers are used by some companies, while others are viewed as outdated.

In addition, the terminations provided for in the up or out system are not possible in countries with strong employee rights. In Germany, according to the media, a ranking of employees is permitted, provided that it is created according to objective criteria. However, this should not serve as the sole criterion for a dismissal: “For the Federal Labor Court, a below-average performance alone is not enough as a reason for termination. Accordingly, the average performance has to be significantly lower than the average over a long period of time in order to be able to part with an employee. "

In the mid-2010s, several companies abandoned a forced ranking . One of the reasons given is that employees would work against each other in the forced ranking in order to do as well as possible themselves.


Employee appraisal is in no way based on the sole benefit of the company. Rather, the assessment of the personnel serves both the goals of the company and the goals of the employees. With regard to the entrepreneurial aspect, the main goals are:

  • Objectification of personnel work : With the help of suitable personnel appraisal procedures, both objective and comparable results can be obtained.
  • Increase in work performance : Employees can be encouraged to permanently improve their performance by choosing the right assessment system.
  • Uniformity of leadership behavior : The leadership behavior can be adjusted using a uniform assessment system and also leads to uniform and effective leadership behavior on the part of superiors.
  • Improvement of leadership quality : An appraisal interview enables both the employee and the supervisor to participate in a discussion and at the same time offers the opportunity for a better supervisor-employee relationship.
  • Use of potential : The potential of the workforce can be expanded through targeted training and further training measures as possible weak points arise .

On the employee goals side, regular and systematic assessments give the opportunity to better assess performance and skills and consequently to align career planning accordingly. In addition, an employee interview offers the opportunity to discuss issues that are not directly related to the actual assessment. Another important aspect is protecting employees by making arbitrary disciplinary proceedings or unjustified dismissals more difficult to enforce.


The processes of personnel appraisal can basically be divided into summary and analytical processes. While summary procedures assess the performance of the employee as a whole, individual criteria are used in analytical procedures and combined into an overall assessment. The analytical method thus captures the observable behavioral characteristics in a more differentiated manner. With regard to assessment or perception errors , the analytical method is ahead of the summary by comparing individual criteria or characteristics. Furthermore, a distinction is made between quantitative and qualitative methods: quantitative methods assess employees using point systems, while qualitative methods are used to create a description of performance based on questions.

Employee evaluation by the supervisor

The subordinate appraisal, also known as this, is one of the most typical forms of personnel appraisal. Superiors assess the employees who report directly to them in terms of their performance and qualification potential. A distinction is made between a free description (independent selection of the assessment criteria by the superior) and bound assessment techniques. While the superior selects the assessment criteria himself or herself with a free description, bound assessment criteria tend to meet higher demands and increase the reliability and validity of the assessment criteria. Procedures in this regard would be u. a .:

  • Classification procedure : represents the most widespread method of employee evaluation. Using a multi-level scale, behavior observations, results or characteristic assessments are assigned.
  • Polarity method : Serves to record impressions in quantitative terms. The appraiser assesses a characteristic on the basis of a number of pairs of opposing attributes. By combining the results, a polarity profile is created that can be compared with ideal profiles.
  • Ranking process : Differentiating between employees and then draw up a list. This ranking can then be established either for individual assessment criteria or for an overall assessment.
  • Target comparison procedure : Specifies goals that are easy to check and give the assessor a degree of goal achievement. Using a standard value of 100%, an over- or under-achievement with regard to target achievement can be determined.
  • Method of critical incidents : Is a further development of the free description, whereby the description criteria are selected from a catalog and the successes and failures of the assessor are documented by means of written documentation.

The required data is collected, for example, in an employee interview or through questionnaires .


During the self-assessment, in addition to the assessors, the employees themselves are asked to rate their performance and potential. This integration is intended to promote the development process of every employee in order to increase the acceptance of the final judgments and to promote a better understanding of their own service provision.

Assessment by equals (colleagues)

The assessment of equals is a specific variant of the personnel assessment. The assessors are both hierarchically treated as equals with the person being assessed and also work in the same organizational area. The aim here is to use the knowledge of colleagues to assess performance and qualifications. As a rule, care is taken to ensure that all colleagues are assessed at the same time.

Assessment of superiors by their employees

In the superiors appraisal, superiors are assessed by their immediate employees with regard to their leadership behavior and, in some cases, their qualifications and performance characteristics. The results are either sent directly to the HR department or to the superiors themselves. With the Semco system that the Brazilian entrepreneur Ricardo Semler has implemented in his company, subordinates assess their superiors every six months, and the points results are then announced to everyone as a public notice . The assessment also takes place before promotions or new appointments to management positions. Employees who receive poor grades for a long time "usually leave Semco sooner or later" .

Employee evaluation by superiors, colleagues, employees and customers (360 ° evaluation)

360 ° assessment is one of the most comprehensive forms of personnel appraisal . In particular, the performance behavior of executives should be assessed from different perspectives. Thus, a comprehensive individual feedback should be made possible. It is a complete evaluation of the employee's performance, often using questionnaires and / or guided interviews by superiors / HR officers.



In companies with a works council , the employee representatives' rights of co-determination in questions of performance assessment must be observed when planning and carrying out employee reviews. Among other things, the establishment of general assessment principles requires the approval of the works council ( Section 94 (2 ) BetrVG ).

However, this is not required for the assessment of the individual employees, but the individual employee has the right to seek advice on this topic from the works council during working hours.

The same applies in the public service to the involvement of the staff council based on the respective staff representation law .

See also


  • Thomas Breisig: Personnel Assessment. 2005, ISBN 3-7663-3663-0 . (Target group: works councils)
  • E. Crisand, HJ Rahn: Personnel appraisal systems . 4th edition 2011, ISBN 978-3-937444-95-6 .
  • Elisabeth Haberleitner: Leadership Promote Coaching. This is how you develop the potential of your employees. ISBN 3-492-23931-5 .
  • Bernd-Uwe Kiefer: Pocket book for personnel assessment. Feedback in organizations. ISBN 3-8005-7306-7 .
  • Barbara Sommerhoff: Employee Assessment . Measure performance. Promote employees. Develop personnel. ISBN 3-478-36810-3 .

Individual evidence

  1. See the trade journals Kredit & Rating Praxis  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (No. 07/2005, PDF; 1.9 MB) and business today  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (Special print, PDF; 6.1 MB) from providers such as SIRIS .@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.siris-systeme.de  @1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.siris-systeme.de  
  2. ^ A b Robert Müller, Doris Brenner: Employee assessments and target agreements. From planning to implementation to evaluation. mi-Fachverlag, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-636-03069-6 , pp. 105-106.
  3. See SIRIS: ERA fee - ERA-TV .
  4. Julia Graven: Leadership: Microsoft overturns evaluation of "underperformers". Spiegel online, November 13, 2013, accessed December 19, 2015 .
  5. Stephan Maaß: Forced Rankings: How companies track down the underperformers. In: World N24. December 20, 2013, accessed November 18, 2017 .
  6. David RockBeth Jones: Why More and More Companies Are Ditching Performance Ratings. In: Harvard Business Review. Retrieved November 18, 2017 .
  7. Stephan Maaß: Performance: That is the end of the nasty bowling out of the company. In: World N24. September 4, 2015, accessed November 18, 2017 .
  8. a b c d Hans Jung: Personalwirtschaft. 9th edition, Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-486-59665-6 .
  9. a b c d e Jürgen Berthel, Fred G. Becker: Personnel Management. Basics for conceptions of company personnel work. 8th edition, Schäffer-Poeschel, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-7910-2614-5 .
  10. Ricardo Semler (translated by Michael Schmidt): The Semco system - management without managers - the new revolutionary leadership model. Heyne Verlag, Munich 1993, p. 404 and chapter 23.