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performance appraisal methodsPerformance appraisals, often called performance reviews or performance evaluations, are essential as a method to rate your employee’s performance based on a given scale or rating. Performance appraisals allow a manager and an employee to access the overall performance of the employee, for the benefit of the employee and the organization. A good performance appraisal method should effectively communicate to the employee the areas that he is excelling at, as well as the areas that may require improvement. The main objective of a performance appraisal is to create an environment that helps to improve staff performance and thereby improve the organization itself. The How to counsel staff to improve their performance course will teach you various tips and techniques you can use to help you deal with staff to improve their skills and overall performance.

Staff and management often see performance reviews as a necessary evil that they must endure once in a while. But performance appraisal can be a valuable tool that can help you get the most out of your employees, and that can help an employee to grow and improve their skills and abilities. For a great article on how to create a performance review, read the Create Your Own Performance Review Template to Ensure Productivity and Growth blog from Udemy.

Performance appraisal methods are generally contained in an organization’s performance review documentation and depending on the particular review and position, performance appraisal methods may vary from job to job. It is important to select the methods that suit the particular job that is being appraised. There are a number of different performance appraisal methods that can be used to rate a particular employee’s proficiency at a particular job.

Performance appraisal methods include:

  1. Appraisals based on Job Results
  2. The Essay Appraisal Method
  3. Graphic Appraisal Methods
  4. Appraisal based on Mixed Scales
  5. Management by Objectives

Performance Appraisals Methods based on Job Results

This method uses job results in the form of objective measurable data to measure and evaluate an employee’s performance. This method is suited to jobs where results can be objectively stated and measured. A production line or craftsman for example can be rated based on the volume of production and the quality of the products they are producing. A salesman’s performance can be evaluated based on the volume of leads or number of sales he produces.

If you want to use this method in your job appraisal forms, then you need to assess the particular job to ascertain various levels and measurements that can be used in the appraisal. Measurements can be used to ensure productivity levels are met and these measurements can be used as motivation to improve performance. It is important to ensure that the levels you set are realistic and that these measurements and levels are communicated to the employee beforehand, to give the employee the opportunity to strive for the required levels of performance.

An example of this type of performance appraisal method would be:



No of Units produced:



No of rejected units allowed:



Review Comments or Conclusions:

The TUSK – Winning Project Management Framework for Executives offers some information on how to use performance reviews to improve employee performance.

Using Essays as a performance method

Writing appraisal essays or including appraisal essays in a job performance review, is one of the most common ways of evaluating an employee’s performance for the purposes of creating a performance appraisal. Essays are generally a written review of the employee’s performance created by the reviewer. Although there are situations where a written review of the employee may be helpful, performance review essays on their own, as a method for appraisal, are not necessarily the most helpful type of method for appraisal.

Essays or reviews are often open-ended and often lack standardization in terms of the review. Written reviews in essay form are often open to the bias of the evaluator. The interpretation of these reviews may be open to misinterpretation by the employee or other management, and that may lead to incorrect conclusions by the employee or organization. This method also creates a situation where the reviewer may not cover all of the salient aspects of a particular job, which means that some reviews may not be as helpful as others.

It is far more productive to include objective standards in a performance review, and then allow for comments or feedback by the reviewer, as an additional source of information for the performance review.

Graphic Appraisal Methods as a Way to Appraise Performance

Graphic appraisal methods or graphic scales are one of the more common methods used in performance reviews. These scales are often represented graphically and the scales are developed or determined on a job by job basis.

Secretarial and administrative jobs are good examples of where specific measurements cannot be made but where performance can be rated on a simple scale. Scales used for graphic appraisal are generally represented on a continuous line, from poor performance to excellent performance for example, or on a scale from one to five where one represents inferior performance and five represents superior performance.

The most important thing to keep in mind when developing a scale for the graphic appraisal of a particular position, is that the scale should be well defined in terms of the descriptions used for measurement. It is also important to ensure that the areas for appraisal are clearly defined to ensure that the reviewer and the employee understand exactly what is being measured.

An example of a graphic appraisal would be the following:

Rate the employee’s performance based on the following scale:


1.       Indicates unacceptable performance

2.       Indicates below average performance

3.       Indicates average performance

4.       Above average performance

5.       Superior performance

How would you rate this secretary’s performance in terms of effectively managing appointments?


Using the Mixed Scales Method for your Appraisal Performance Reviews

Mixed scales are a fairly recent method of performance appraisal. A mixed scale uses various different statements to assess performance, and then asks the reviewer to rate the employee’s performance based on a predefined scale for each statement.

To create a mixed scale, you need to define a specific performance area that needs to be appraised or assessed. You then need to create a number of statements for each area that reflect different levels of competency for that particular task. Finally, you need to create a scale that allows the reviewer to assess the statement using the appropriate scale. These types of scales are particularly useful when appraisals need to include information on interpersonal relationships within the organization.

Here is an example of a mixed scale method that involves the appraisal of a receptionist. These particular statements are designed to review the performance of the receptionist in terms of the way they handle incoming calls. The rating scale involves the reviewer selecting between three levels of rating. They should rate the statement with an “a” if the employee is better than the statement. A “b” means the statement correctly reflects the employee’s performance. A “c” indicates that the employee is worse than the statement.

The employee answers all calls in a friendly and efficient manner – a     b     c

The employee answers some calls quickly in an acceptable way – a      b     c

The employee does not answer calls efficiently – a     b     c

This method is particularly effective at eliminating reviewer bias. Creating three levels of statements for each performance point, and then creating performance reviews where the statements are written in a different order, often results in a less biased review since the reviewer must read the statement properly and then create a rating for each statement.

Using Management by Objectives as a method for performance appraisal

Management by objectives is a method where specific management goals are set and then used as a standard for performance appraisal. This method often relies on collaboration between employees and management to create a set of goals and objectives beforehand that will later be used for the purposes of evaluation.

This method is often very useful in environments where projects or teams are involved. Setting specific goals and objectives on a collaborative basis, and then using these goals as a measurement of performance and success, can serve as an excellent way to motivate your team or employees. The How to lead, coach and manage a team from the front course will teach you how to get the best from your team.

Choosing the Best Performance Appraisal Methods

It is important to realize that performance appraisals are a great management tool when the best appraisal methods for each type of job are selected. Ensuring optimal performance is especially essential for a new or small business where resources are often severely limited. The A Young Entrepreneur’s Guide To Growing A Business: Part 2 offers a section on performance reviews to help you get the most out of your staff. Another great resource designed to help you get the most out of your employee’s is the People Management Skills: Building Relationships That Get the Job Done Udemy blog.

Finally, the Working with Difficult People course offers you a number of tips and techniques to help you bring out the best in your staff, even when they may not be the easiest to work with to begin with.

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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