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Choosing the most relevant criteria to use when creating or adapting your performance review is an important step in creating an evaluation process.

Performance review is evolving and is being transformed in order to better meet the needs of the four generations in the current labour market.

To choose the best criteria possible, you will need to determine your company’s core values. Why do you want to evaluate your employees, what is the expected result? The title you use for evaluating your staff will influence its content, frequency and criteria, which is why it is important to select your title before getting started.



Why adapt or create a new performance review process?


Do you want to improve your employees’ overall performance, their level of contribution to the company, their career development, or retention? While you may be tempted to choose all of the above, you need to ask your management team what is most important in their point of view.

The answer will steer the direction of the meetings, the name you attribute to them and how often they are held.

For example, if performance is the most important issue in your company, you should set measurable objectives and monitor them regularly.

If you plan to rely on meeting with your employees to discuss their career development, it would be better to centre the discussion on the future rather than on work that has already been achieved.



Giving your project a name: evaluation, appreciation, recognition, contribution, performance… what’s best?


It’s hard to know which name to choose for your evaluations since it’s a part of human resources management that is evolving very quickly. Choosing a buzzword is an enticing option but finding a title that is representative of your company is your best bet.

While some choose to focus on performance review, others use the term employee recognition.

According to Vanessa RibreauShopify uses the term Impact Assessment: “We distance ourselves from the word performance because we believe our employees’ impact goes beyond their daily tasks. Their work affects the company’s global objectives.”

Other companies use recurrent “One on One” meetings, like at Groupe Germain Hôtels. They rely on these meetings to encourage honest discussions between employees and managers.

Carolanne Bercegeay-Desrochers explains, “By implementing one-on-one meetings, an employee’s level of trust in his boss grows exponentially. These regular meetings make it possible to find out how the employee is really doing but are also advantageous in helping the employee with his career development.



How often should you meet with your employees?


The answer here isn’t a magic number. It really depends on the reason you want to evaluate your staff in the first place. The more regular the meetings, the stronger the relationship between managers and their employees. The length of the meeting should be shorter if they are conducted weekly or monthly.

You can also choose to hold the meetings once a year, but to get excellent results, you have to find a way to keep a written record of everything that has happened over the course of 12 months. Otherwise, people tend to focus on the most recent 3 months and forget about the other nine. The process also becomes more cumbersome to manage if all the data from the last year need to be retrieved in order to evaluate each employee.

Christine Corbeil, President and Consultant at Kalibre Conseil believes that “It’s not the number of meetings that counts. Instead, it’s the quality time spent between a manager and an employee, and their chance to have a two-way discussion.”

Although there are often formal meetings scheduled, walking around the office and talking to employees can also be very valuable. If you only talk to employees during scheduled meetings, they won’t feel as comfortable confiding in you. This advice applies to both managers and members of the HR team.



Choosing the right evaluation criteria


First, make a very important choice. Do you want to link performance and salary increases? Yes or no, the answer will have a significant impact on the content and criteria of your meetings.

The criteria you choose has to be aligned with the company’s vision and mission. The values should be reflected in all company decisions and processes, including the performance review.

Identify the elements that your employees can control. If your employee has a customer satisfaction objective, but doesn’t interact with customers, he has no control over the attainment of the objective.



Evaluation criteria examples


If you have measurable objectives in place, you can link these criteria to them:

  • Customer retention
  • Achievement of specific projects
  • Productivity
  • Sales results


Establishing measurable evaluation criteria will help your managers be more objective in their assessments and rely on facts and figures rather than on their intuition or perception of the employee being evaluated. This then reduces the chances of favouritism, whether it is voluntary or unconscious.

It also reduces unpleasant surprises that could arise during salary negotiations. If the employee knows his objectives and that he didn’t attain them, he won’t expect to receive a bonus for that year.

For a sales representative, objectives are easy to quantify. But what about evaluating a member of the human resources team?

Chantal Lamoureux, Director of Professional Development and Quality of Practice for the Ordre des CRHA recommends analyzing the actions that can be taken to achieve each objective. For example, the objective “To participate on the team building committee” could be measured in the following way: the employee has to attend 80% of the meetings, and must submit 5 ideas, and so on.

If you choose to evaluate overall appreciation of an employee’s contribution, you can assign them a rating, number or letter, depending on what you prefer.

Christine Corbeil, President and Consultant at Kalibre Conseil, suggests that managers answer these questions by imagining that their personal money is in play:

  • If you had to rebuild your team from scratch, would you hire this employee again?
  • Would you be reluctant to compensate the employee to the maximum of your financial ability?
  • Does the employee make a difference in the company? If he left tomorrow, what would the impact be?
  • Which business value(s) does the employee need to dedicate more time to?
  • What has been accomplished since you last met?
  • How could the employee contribute further to the organization?



To sum up: choose criteria that is consistent with your company’s vision


Determining the content and evaluation criteria is a team effort that must be decided collaboratively with the administration, management and employees. Human resources will then ensure that each of the relevant stakeholders has the necessary tools to understand the process and adapt accordingly.

This isn’t the kind of project that happens overnight. However, it’s worth spending time on it to make your employees more productive, but also more engaged and motivated.


This article was written following an interview with four human resources professionals:

Chantal Lamoureux, CRHA

Ordre des CRHA

Director of Professional Development and Quality of Practice

Carolanne Bercegeay-Desrochers, CRHA

Groupe Germain Hôtels

Coordinator, Culture and Talent

Christine Corbeil, CRHA

Kalibre Conseil


Vanessa Ribreau


HR Business Partner