Employee Performance Evaluation Best Practices

Employee Performance Evaluation

A recent survey by Leadership IQ highlighted that 42% of organizations identified a surprising trend: high-performing employees showed lower engagement compared to their lower-performing colleagues. In essence, those who bring substantial value to the organization felt less connected to their workplace than those with comparatively lower contributions. This highlights the importance of aligning your employee performance evaluation with your organization’s mission and core values to accurately identify both high and low performers.

When high performers lack full engagement, it adversely affects client and customer relationships and compromises results. To nurture top performers, coach low performers, and identify future leaders, your team requires accurate data. Below, we present a comprehensive guide to effective practices for conducting performance reviews and employee evaluations. These insights are customized to aid your team in the dual tasks of identifying high and low performers, while also initiating a 9-Box talent review.


Best Practices for Performance Reviews

Decide On Objectives vs. Goals and Behaviors

Align the performance review process with your organization’s identity and its individuals. You can opt to evaluate performance objectives or both goals and objectives. Consider the standard for measuring employees—job description, quarterly goals, or a mix. Additionally, assess employees based on behaviors they exhibit, holding them accountable to your organization’s core values and behavior competencies. This ensures a holistic assessment rewarding good performance and behaviors.

More crucial than deciding the review’s content is understanding its presence on the review form. Whether using objectives, goals, or both, clarity in their definitions matters. Listing vague job descriptions doesn’t just confuse employees but also complicates leaders’ ability to provide effective performance feedback. Clear definitions establish precise expectations for both parties.

Set Expectations Before the Performance Review

WorkDove prioritizes empowering managers to lead performance reviews, the most effective method for identifying high and low performers. As part of our commitment, we recommend managers hold pre-cycle alignment conversations. For instance, before semi-annual performance reviews, managers should engage in one-on-one alignment discussions with each direct report. This allows leaders to engage in face-to-face conversations, showcasing the review form’s objectives, goals, and values, briefly discussing expectations. Involving employees from the start boosts engagement, and reduces post-review misalignment. Setting expectations in advance also empowers managers to exercise their coaching skills effectively.

Define Employee Performance Evaluation Standards

Standardization in performance reviews minimizes potential bias and fosters consistency across the organization. WorkDove integrates a customizable 5-star rating scale, enabling clients to align star definitions with the organization’s shared language. Regardless of the chosen employee performance evaluation standard, achieving consistency is vital for the impartial and precise identification of high and low performers.

Leverage Performance Management Tools

While all of these listed tips can be executed in a paper-based performance process, it’s always recommended to opt for a digital tool that grows with your organization and enhances the employee experience. Digital performance review software tools like WorkDove eliminate the risk of paper trails getting lost and also allow you to track trends and compare historical data. For instance, the Performance-Values Matrix enables review results to be filtered by year or cycle, granting access to how overall performance is trending organizationally, all the way down to the individual employee and their performance journey with your company.

Calibrate Review Scores

After pinpointing high and low performers through your performance management software, consider calibrating reviews and scores. Leadership styles vary: some managers question 5-star ratings, while others hesitate with 1-star ratings even when needed. These diverse approaches highlight the importance of evaluating both group and individual scores. WorkDove lets senior managers explore their structure and access reviews, ensuring transparency throughout the process.

Initiate Your 9-Box Talent Review

When effectively implemented, these tips facilitate a smooth leadership succession planning process and a 9-Box Grid talent review. Having identified high and low performers and acted upon these determinations, you possess a dependable approach to identifying potential future leaders—those exceptional high performers. Leveraging accurate performance data from the Performance Review, WorkDove’s 9-Box Software initiates the selection process for these potential leaders.

Cultivate a Coaching Organization


Implementing these best practices fosters a culture centered on coaching and development, which distinguishes your organization. Make it a priority to allocate 80% of your time to coaching and developing high performers, while designating the remaining 20% to create plans for low performers. This approach heightens engagement among high performers, promotes the growth of low performers, and attracts more high-performing talent to your teams.


As you strategically invest in high performers, they become advocates, positively impacting your company’s reputation. By following these guidelines, your organization fosters a culture of engagement, development, and continuous improvement, ensuring that all performers contribute to success.