Employee evaluations, staff appraisals, performance reviews. Whatever you call them, the process of examining your growth and accomplishments over time should be an enlightening experience for you and your boss, yet when it comes to discovering the usefulness and effectiveness of employee evaluations, it depends whom you ask.

In a recent survey, 91 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said formal evaluations are somewhat or very effective in helping employees improve their performance, but only 55 percent of workers interviewed agreed. In fact, nearly one in three workers said employee evaluations are somewhat or very ineffective, and 11 percent said they don’t receive evaluations at all.

It’s easy to understand why employees dislike evaluations. Employee evaluations are usually annual events that jam a year’s worth of hard work into a 30 minute interview, skimming old accomplishments and focusing heavily on recent performance. Add to it that employee evaluations always seem to come during the holidays, it’s an inconvenient time of the year when work is piling up and family members long removed continue appearing on doorsteps.

Some HR experts advise companies to add an August meeting to their normal evaluation schedule, so employees can be evaluated semi-annually. But since so many employees already just don’t see the worth in evaluations, is this really enough? From the employee standpoint, are employee evaluations really necessary at all?

If employee evaluations at your company are anything like those done by “the Bobs” in the comedy “Office Space” where slacker employees are promoted and hardworking employees are overlooked and even fired, it’s time to protest management to nix employee evaluations.

But if employee evaluations at your company are well-thought-out, professional meetings, they really are necessary. Here’s why:

They Allow You To Know Where You Stand In Your Company

In today’s economy, ignorance in the workplace is not bliss. In order to be successful, employees need to know how their performance stacks up to co-workers’ and if it’s likely their careers will grow within a company or if they should contemplate searching for a new job. Employee evaluations allow employees and bosses to examine a project or task from the other’s point of view, and they give both parties an opportunity to discuss the employee’s strengths and weaknesses in a nonthreatening way. Employee evaluations also give employees the opportunity to explain poor results or promote great performance.

They Give You An Opportunity To Ask For A Raise Or Promotion

Employee evaluations are traditionally the most common time employees ask for and are granted pay raises and promotions. While you can ask for a raise or promotion from your boss at any time, employee evaluations are the most ideal for a few reasons. For one, your boss is highly aware of your professional accomplishments and contributions to the company. Two, employee evaluations successfully weed out underperforming employees (as you’ll see below), potentially freeing up money, benefits, and positions. And three, because employees so often ask for raises or promotions during employee evaluations, your boss most likely expects your asking and already investigated what he’s able to offer.

They Weed Out Underperforming Employees

Underperforming employees or downright bad hires cost companies huge sums of money—between the cost of recruiting, training, salary, healthcare, and benefits, 41 percent of companies estimate they cost more than $25,000, and one in four say they cost more than $50,000. But you don’t need statistics to tell you that underperforming employees affect your day-to-day activities. Their poorly researched ideas take time away from your brainstorming during meetings, and their inability to complete work in a timely manner results in an increased workload for you. Employee evaluations identify and weed out these underperformers, so you can work more effectively in a better environment.

Despite the uneasiness or excitement employee evaluations conjure, at the end of the day, they truly are necessary in the workplace. Employee evaluations allow employees to know where they stand in their companies, they give employees an opportunity to ask for a raise or promotion, and they successfully weed out underperforming employees, making the workplace a more enjoyable and more productive place to be.

What are your thoughts? Do you think employee evaluations are really necessary?

Sudy Bharadwaj is a co-founder and the CEO of Jackalope Jobs, a job seeker focused platform, making the job search social, fast and easy. Learn how Sudy and Jackalope Jobs obsess over job seekers by connecting with them on Twitter.

Image: Shutterstock

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