Performance Appraisal

What is a 'Performance Appraisal'

An annual review of an employee’s overall contributions to the company by his/her manager. Performance appraisals, also called annual reviews, evaluate an employee’s skills, achievements and growth, or lack thereof. Companies use performance appraisals to give employees big-picture feedback on their work and to justify pay increases and bonuses, as well as termination decisions.

BREAKING DOWN 'Performance Appraisal'

Because companies have a limited pool of funds from which to award raises and bonuses, performance appraisals help determine how to allocate those funds. They provide a way for companies to determine which employees have contributed the most to the company’s growth so companies can reward their top-performing employees accordingly.

Performance appraisals also help employees and their managers create a plan for employee development through additional training and increased responsibilities, as well as to identify shortcomings the employee could work to resolve.

Ideally, the performance appraisal is not the only time during the year that managers and employees communicate about the employee’s contributions. More frequent conversations help keep everyone on the same page, develop a stronger relationship between employees and managers, and make annual reviews less stressful.