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Sylvester Kay-Adade: These are a Few Things You Should Know About Proper Employee Evaluation



dreamstime_l_45429605Employee evaluation is one of the most crucial periods in an organization. Quite possibly, as a supervisor, you may have noticed that most employees are not too excited about reviews. This is mostly because of evaluations usually connote a conflict of perception of results and/or negative criticism. For this reason, when performing evaluations, it is important to communicate the reason(s) for the evaluation to your subordinates.

Some basic reasons are: development/training, feedback, motivation, and recognition.

Ideally, evaluations is one of those situations where supervisors should be a coach and judge simultaneously – a coach in the sense of being firm and looking forward to an improvement in the performance of the employees, and a judge by being fair, considering even performance in past sessions. Sadly, it is not the case in most institutions in Nigeria, and that’s unfortunate. An evaluation is not an excuse to berate or embarrass an employee. It is to help employees improve their performance and enhance the overall productivity of the organization.

To this end, there are three (3) widely recognized performance standards of evaluation – Absolute, Relative and 360◦.

The absolute standard involves evaluation based on the periodic (monthly, quarterly, annually) review of an employee’s performance.

The relative standard involves evaluation each time an employee has faulted or is commended.

The 360◦ evaluation involves evaluation based on reviews from an employee’s clients/customers, peers and supervisors. In my opinion, the 360◦ evolution is the most effective, but also the most tasking to coordinate.

Whichever standard you decide to use for the performance evaluation of your subordinates, here are some pointers:

  1. The evaluation is a legal document and hence be conducted in a private formal or semi-formal setting between only the supervisors and the employee being reviewed.
  2. The information in the evaluation should not surprise the employee. This is why prompt feedback is essential. A wrong doing must be addressed within a reasonable time-frame after committed not saved until performance reviews.
  3. The performance should be held periodically – monthly, quarterly or annually. An effective way is to hold it on the eve/day of the anniversary of employment. This way, it is more of a process than an event, and an employee’s growth or lack thereof can be monitored.

As earlier stated, evaluations are to review performance, and hence, must be objective. Hence, I’d like to warn against three (3) common errors supervisors tend to make while making performance evaluations:

  1. The halo error: This is overvaluing and/or undervaluing subordinates’ performances based on their personality. Every personality has its strengths and weaknesses. Assertive people aren’t necessarily more productive than quiet people.
  2. The recency error: This is overvaluing and/or undervaluing subordinates’ performances based on their recent activities. This is why it is important to file every commendation/warning involving the employee.
  3. The similarity error: This is overvaluing and/or undervaluing subordinates’ performances based on familiarity/state of the relationship with the supervisor. A review is to objective – a tool to build, not a weapon to destroy. There should be not favoritism in the workplace either, well, at least not when objectivity is required.

Finally, this goes without saying, but employees are individuals and should be reviewed based on their merits or lack thereof, not who/what they are. There is no such thing as all Yoruba people are loud or respectful, all Igbo people are cheats or friendly, all Hausa people are dirty or fair, and so on. That is nonsense. Please do not ever make concessions or deductions on the basis of age, color, disability, gender or tribe of an employee.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Sylvester is a businessman, investor, and serial entrepreneur. He is passionate about small business and primarily runs Herança Financial, a small and medium enterprises (SMEs) advisory firm. He also keeps an online journal where he frequently shares his experiences and views on entrepreneurship, finance, and life.


  1. Tosin

    May 17, 2016 at 1:15 pm


  2. KacheeTee

    May 18, 2016 at 10:30 am

    This was a good read. I’ve always wanted to write on Employee Evaluations and Feedbacks, and this pretty much summed it. Well done!

    Crucial point: “The information in the evaluation should not surprise the employee. This is why prompt feedback is essential”.

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