Staff assessment as a tool for performance improvement

Productivity of employees shapes success of the company. An important factor influencing the result is a clear understanding of where and at what speed you should move. Goal setting serves as a reliable regulator along the way. Side by side with goal setting comes the assessment process. It is important to understand here that assessment is not only the final result, but also an ongoing process of collecting information about the performance of people in your company. For if your employees are not developing, then what kind of long-term productivity can we talk about? Therefore, the ongoing process of staff assessment is key and can improve the efficiency of your business.

Continuous assessment allows you to correct errors in a timely manner. Of course, there is one condition: it must be systematic and objective. “How to achieve this?” is the question we’ll cover in this article.

What is staff assessment?

This is the process of monitoring the competencies, performance and professional growth of employees. Assessment is carried out in order to develop the skills of employees, find ways to improve them and increase the level of engagement by identifying weaknesses and eliminating them. Frequency of the procedure is determined individually by each company, taking into account the specifics of the business.

The effectiveness of the assessment procedure depends on several factors:

  • HR strategy and company focus,
  • methods used,
  • availability of modern solutions capable of systematizing the assessment procedure,
  • the level of organization and motivation of both the employees themselves and those HR specialists responsible for the assessment procedure.

Business goals and benefits of the assessment

Why do businesses need to assess staff? Here are some of the main goals of the procedure:


Find out if the employee fits the job
Assessment helps determine whether the specialist’s level corresponds to the cost of employing them and whether it is reasonable for the company to spend resources on their further development.

Discover the employee’s potential
Assessment serves as a convenient tool for finding employees who can take on leadership positions in the future. This, in fact, is the point of succession planning, when, instead of looking for people from outside, the company is preparing and developing full-time specialists who can take responsibility for a new top-level position.

Detrmine employee’s personal qualities
With the help of assessment, an HR specialist can easily find out if the employee is a team player or will perform better as an individual.


Assessment also provides benefits both for the business and for each individual employee.


For the business:

  • Ability to create individual training and development programs for staff based on assessment results
  • Finding ways to motivate and engage staff
  • Rethiking priorities and strategic HR goals
  • Identification of directions for organizational development and strengthening of corporate culture

For the employee:

  • Identifying one’s strengths and weaknesses
  • A clear understanding of the tasks and success criteria for their implementation
  • Receiving constructive feedback from management and colleagues
  • Opportunity to show your additional skills and abilities
  • Understanding of one’s further professional and career growth

Assessment principles

The staff assessment process will be effective if it meets the following points:

When is it appropriate to conduct staff assessment?

It is important to understand that employee assessment is not a one-time event, but a systematic procedure carried out at different stages of an employee’s work in a company, namely:

When recruiting a candidate for a position

Assessment is conducted to compare the skills and suitability of each of the candidates for the vacancy.

During the probation period

To understand whether a hired person meets expectations and evaluate the speed and quality of onboarding.

During performance of professional duties

To track professional and career development – at this stage, it is possible to review the salary and other employee incentives.

During learning

To check the studied material and search for areas for further improvement.

In case of transfer to another structural unit

To determine compliance with new functional responsibilities.

To form a pool of candidates

Assessment can help reveal personal qualities of specialists.

During dismissal

In case of employee dismissal, it is advisable for an HR manager to assess them for incompetence.

Performance Review as a unified assessment approach

To see a 360-degree picture of employee performance, give constructive feedback and help with setting goals, a comprehensive systemic assessment of employees – Performance Review – is implemented.

Why Performance Review?

This is the easiest and most effective way, thanks to continuous feedback, to identify the needs of employees, find their strengths and weaknesses and develop competencies. Performance review allows you to evaluate the skills of an employee in the framework of individual and team projects.

In addition, strategically, this approach helps in building a positive HR employer brand.

Assessment methods included in Performance Review 

When we talk about the comprehensive Performance Review procedure, the following methods are fundamental in it:


Perhaps the most common method of staff assessment. The bottom line is as follows: a person answers pre-prepared questions in writing or orally, and you, already having a complete picture of the answers in your hands, draw conclusions. Questionnaires help better understand each employee, assess their personal qualities, emotional characteristics and the level of current motivation. The method may be a component of other assessment metrics. As an example, questionnaires are used in assessment 360 to collect feedback from colleagues and customers.

The main method of assessing employee performance used by many companies. In fact, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are measurable goals set by management, based on achievement of which performance of an employee, department or company as a whole is assessed.

The method also involves setting the weight of a specific goal, for example, if a manager has two tasks – to sell products for 100 thousand and find 10 new customers – then the weight of the first one can be 70%, and the second one – 30%, respectively.

After the end of the established period, an overall assessment is conducted, taking into account the level of fulfillment of all the goals set and forming a performance indicator. The advantage of the method is transparency and the ability to adjust the processes in a certain area if the results lag behind the planned ones.


OKRsThe OKR (Objectives and Key Results) method was developed by Intel, and then, having proved its effectiveness, began to be used both by other corporations and small startups.

The idea of the method is as follows: the company forms several complex key goals for a certain period of time (quarter or year), which are intended both for the entire company (department) and for a specific employee. For each goal, a number of measurable metrics are formed, according to which the degree of goal achievement will be assessed. To prevent burnout, it is recommended to set no more than 5 goals for the planned period and no more than 4 metrics for each of them.

The key feature of the method is that the goals set are fundamentally unattainable. That is, if they are 100% fulfilled, then they are considered not ambitious enough, and this should be taken into account in planning the next period. The optimal result will be if each goal is achieved by 65-70%. It is also important that OKRs do not affect the amount of bonuses and other incentives, and it is assumed that employees will follow ambitious goals without feeling fear.



360 assessmentThe 360-degree method, or, as it is also called, circular assessment, is a multidimensional way to assess an employee using feedback from colleagues, subordinates, management, and the employee’s self-assessment. This allows you to collect comprehensive data on a particular person and eliminate the subjectivity factor, which may be the case with feedback from only one person.

Sometimes, if a specific position requires it, feedback from internal employees is supplemented by customers’ and contractors’ assessment. The main purpose of such an assessment is to determine how appropriate a person is for the position.

There are also variations of this method, for example: assessment 90 (based on feedback only from the supervisor), 180 (supervisor’s feedback is supplemented by the employee’s self-assessment) and assessment 270 (supervisor’s feedback, self-assessment and feedback from subordinates).

1:1 meetings
This is a continuous feedback strategy that provides transparency and understanding of processes for both the employee and the manager or HR manager. In total, more than 70% of managers around the world believe that such meetings are the best tool for interacting with team members. They are seen as no less important by the employees themselves, especially those who have just joined the team. According to a survey by Qualee, 72% of new hires say face-to-face meetings are the most rewarding aspect of onboarding.Here it is important to understand that 1:1 meetings are not held to check the implementation of current tasks, but to communicate with each individual employee. Find out their questions, problems and ambitions.

How to set up an assessment process in a company?

To better organize the procedure for monitoring competencies, performance and general condition of employees, we recommend following these recommendations:

Start with planning

What do you want to receive after the assessment procedure? Make sure that already at the planning stage you have a holistic picture of the things that you plan to find out. Make a checklist ahead of time. In addition, we recommend talking with employees. They may be the ones who will tell you what processes and procedures in the company should be taken into account when drawing up a plan.

Define clear goals

“Why do it?” is the main question that you should ask yourself before each staff assessment procedure. A clear understanding of the goals of the process will help you better formulate requests and criteria. It is also important to communicate your vision to employees, because if they do not see the benefit in this, then the assessment process will become a secondary and unimportant task for them.

Ensure assessment transparency

Being honest and transparent with your employees is an important part of the assessment process. First, employees should be informed about the assessment in advance and the results you expect to see should be made clear to them. Secondly, each employee should have access to the assessment results – this will help them draw their own conclusions and understand how to improve themselves.

Be persistent and consistent

For your assessment process to be successful, make sure it is consistent. Quarterly or annually, but it is important to monitor the competencies, performance and condition of your employees regularly. This approach will provide you with up-to-date information, and your employees will understand that the company cares about them and is interested in their professional growth.

Focus on optimization

Assessment ≠ check. The goal of any reasonable assessment is to optimize and increase efficiency. Your employees need to understand this too. Having identified some shortcomings in the work of an employee, you must find ways to help them improve. It is important that this is a two-way communication, because often the reason lies not in the employee themselves, but in processes or other factors. This will not only contribute to the growth of employees, but also increase the trust in the organization.

How to make the assessment process consistent

Intelligent systems greatly simplify and optimize the process of staff assessment. We suggest having a look at the automated assessment process through the prism of the SMART HCM & LMS HR system:

In addition to the fact that the system contains ready-made templates for the methods described above, such as KPIs, 360 assessment, testing, questionnaires and other tools for monitoring competencies and skills, it also provides business with the following capabilities:

  • analysis of goals in a strategic context and making adjustments to the company’s strategy,
  • creation of own library of performance indicators,
  • formation of templates for distribution, allowing you to keep the structure of the goals of the entire company up to date,
  • setting up the assessment procedure and entering the results of the achievement of goals.

The solution also includes analytics based on Power BI, which provides tracking of the progress of completed goals in convenient reports with the possibility of customizing them.

An equally important role is played by LMS systems that allow you to assign individual training plans based on the results of the assessment. That is, having discovered the growth areas of a particular employee, you build a plan for their further development. With SMART HCM & LMS, it all happens on a single platform.

In addition, SMART HCM & LMS enables the employee to build their own development plan. This will increase employee engagement and allow them to independently manage their career development, as well as reduce the burden on HR managers. The latter, in turn, will be able to pay more attention to strategic issues.

In general, having an HR system helps you not only set up continuous assessment of employees and create conditions for their development, but also allows you to look at this process from a different, strategic angle.

If you are interested in the SMART HCM & LMS solution or need any advice on smart HR tools for your business, please contact us at

We wish you the best of success in building your dream team!

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