Design Performance Appraisal Form – Scoring Systems

Use of Performance Appraisal Form

The performance appraisal is used for various purposes:

  • Probationary appraisal
  • Quarterly or mid-year review
  • Annual appraisal

Some companies use the same form for different purposes. I prefer separate forms since they serve different purposes.

Parts of a Performance Appraisal Form

Performance appraisal forms vary widely in design. A comprehensive traditional performance appraisal will have the following components:

  • Personal particulars
  • Goals or Deliverables or Key Result Areas or Responsibilities
  • Skills or Competencies or Performance Factors or Performance Categories
  • Professional Development Plan or Development Goals
  • Supervisor and Employee Comments
  • Overall Ratings
  • Acknowledgement
  • Moderation

Is Scoring Required?

A scoring system is not essential for performance appraisal form. The supervisor or manager is still able to separately rank his or her staff in terms of overall performance.

Number of Goals or Key Responsibilities

To give some focus to the job, some appraisal may limit the number of goals or responsibilities to a fixed number, for example 5 to 7. Miscellaneous responsibilities can be grouped together as one group under the heading “miscellaneous responsibilities”.

Skills or Competencies or Performance Factors

Some organization appraises both goals or responsibilities and competencies, that is the what and how things are done. Other organizations appraise just one of the 2. In business, we are after the business results, so it makes more sense to appraise goals or responsibilities. Usually management staff are appraised based on goals or deliverables while supervisor and rank and file staff are appraised on responsibilities.

There are 2 types of skills, competencies or performance factors:

  • Technical – These are skills related specifically to the job. This does not necessarily mean engineering skills.
  • Generic – general skills. These are generally the transferable or life skills.

A technical competency matrix can be used for appraising the performance of rank and file staff, especially staff who are doing the primary work of the company. It depends on the nature of the tasks within the job. If the job contents change too often, then using a technical competency matrix may not be useful or becomes too troublesome to update. However, the use of technical competency matrix is rare.

Matrix of generic competencies or performance factors is more commonly used. However their nature is subjective and less quantifiable than business results, and tends to lead to staff grievances, especially when appraisal scores are used to determine salary adjustments.

Because of this, some organization prefer to use generic competencies for professional development purposes rather than rewards. There are organizations that do away with it entirely and work on enforcing work standards instead.


Where staff is appraised on both goals or responsibilities and competencies, different weightage may be given, for example 70% for goals or responsibilities and 30% for competencies.

Further to this, different weightage may be given to different responsibilities to reflect their importance in the performance of the job role. This also reflects how much time the staff is expected to be spending on each responsibility or goal.

The weightage for the miscellaneous responsibilities may be further split according to the sub-components.

Priorities for Professional Development

The professional development plan is form a key part of career development. In this plan:

  • Review your talents or strengths.
  • Review your development opportunities (knowledge or skills that you want to enhance).

The company, especially a small size organization has to be clear about what is meant by the words “career development”.  A move from one job to another may not necessarily be a promotion. The old way of having organizational career pathways is passe. The emphasis now is developing T shape competencies to help increase workforce flexibility, considering the volatility of the business environment.

Professional development may arise because of a number of reasons:

  • Plan to automate a specific function
  • Plan to outsource a specific function

Scoring is not used in the personal development areas. However, for better management of resources, development can be prioritized. The employee and supervisor would discuss and document the development goals to be achieved during the next performance cycle. These may include formal training or education courses, on-the-job training, temporary project assignments or mentoring programs. The development goals may be prioritize as critical, moderate and value added.

Target dates for achievement of these development goals are outlined, along with any explanation of how they will help the employee’s professional development. To identify these goals, employee and supervisor review development needs identified in the previous performance cycle.

Scoring Section

Unlike school, you are not scoring an individual’s performance against a perfect score of 100. What we want to do is to arrive a score for the subsections; then an overall score. This is assuming that we are using the overall score for compensation or reward purposes, such as salary adjustments or bonus payouts.

Let us assumed the following design:

There are 2 sections (goals and generic competencies) to be scored. Both sections use a 5 point rating scale, where “Not Applicable” option is not used.

There are 7 items in the “Goals” section and this section account for 70% (0.7) of the total score. There are 8 items in the “Competencies” section and this section account for 30% (0.3) of the score.

Let the actual or given scores for the items in the “Goal” section be 2,3,3,2,3,4,4. The average score will be the total of these actual scores divided by 7 (7 items). The answer is 3.

Let the actual or given scores for the items in the “Competencies” section  be 2,3,3,2,3,4,4,3. The average score will be the total of these actual scores divided by 7 (7 items). The answer is 3.

The overall score in this case will be 3.

Comments Section

The scores for the 2 sections and the overall scores are usually presented in a table close to the end of the performance appraisal form.

A space is provided to document remarks on why the scores were given as such.

Final Words

Performance scoring is not a science because of the following reasons:

  • Appraiser and moderators’ bias
  • Factors beyond the appraiser and appraisee’s control that affects achievement of goals

It is not necessary to have a performance scoring system. The department head can always rank the employees by comparison and give it a score. In the end, the department needs to document his or her justifications.

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