Presenting an Employee Evaluation to a Subordinate

by Erin Schreiner

Though not often popular with employees -- left trembling in their loafers with fear over what will happen if they don’t do well -- evaluations provide valuable opportunities for reflection and growth. The way in which you present the evaluation results will influence the effectiveness of this tool. With even the most profound effort, you likely won’t change employees’ long-held views of the evaluation process, but you can make the experience more palatable and effective.

Pick the Setting

When and where you present the employee evaluation will impact how well the employee takes the critiques. Avoid Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, recommends Boise State University, as employees aren't often open to critiques at these busy business times. When selecting your physical setting, choose a neutral one like a meeting room instead of your office where you have home court advantage. Schedule at least an hour block of uninterrupted time. Don’t take any phone calls or walk-in meetings during this block. Declining interruptions shows the employee that this process is important to you, which may increase the degree to which it is important to him.

Preview the Meeting Topics

You have time to plan what you will say at the evaluation meeting. Provide the subordinate the same luxury, suggests Linda Davis O’Connell for Learnologie, an education-based company. Send the employee a bulleted list of the topics you will discuss and ask him to come prepared for the conversation. Keep this list broad; include, for instance, “Report Accuracy,” but don't include details like whether this is something you consider the employee's strength or weakness. With this approach, you can get an accurate appraisal of how your employee views his performance.

Present Evidence

When going over your findings with the employee, provide irrefutable evidence to back up your ratings, reminds Jeff Haden for MoneyWatch. If you tell the employee that he needs to work on customer satisfaction, follow this statement with customer satisfaction survey results that verify the statement.

Discuss Growth

An employee evaluation should be an opportunity for growth, not a slap on the wrist. After you present your findings, discuss goal-setting. Talk about what you want the subordinate to do moving forward, reminding him that you will put extra emphasis on these goal areas during the next evaluation cycle.


An effective evaluation presentation is a conversation, not a lecture. While you will likely start by being dominant and explaining your findings, after you present this information, open the floor to the subordinate. Listen actively as he counters any points you have made. If he says something that invalidates one of your findings, change your evaluation accordingly. Respond to all of his concerns, even if you won’t change his score as a result, and he will likely leave feeling more involved in the evaluation process and more content with the results.

About the Author

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.

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