Improve the Performance Evaluation Process

By Mulder, Armand | Law & Order, September 2004 | Go to article overview

Improve the Performance Evaluation Process

Mulder, Armand, Law & Order

It is that time of the year again; performance evaluations are due by the end of the month. For many a supervisor and manager this is an exercise in writing fairy tales; for others it is sheer misery, and only a handful will do the job right.

Like it or not, performance evaluations are here to stay unless a better system replaces it. Let's be honest about it: who takes performance evaluations seriously these days, other than attorneys who will use the performance evaluation against the agency, management and supervisors during tort or criminal trials? And while many Human Resource Managers insist on timely submittal of performance evaluations, not many review them for truthfulness, completeness and accuracy or they would not accept so many "walks on water" evaluations.

Recipients of these evaluations dismiss them as another useless piece of paper in their personnel files, unless of course the evaluation gives them a less than perfect rating or worse, calls for remedial training of the person being rated.

Credibility Problem

Why has performance appraisals fallen into such a credibility problem? First of all, most folks who do performance evaluations don't know how to do them right, because they were never taught adequately; others just don't care because they know that if they are truthful in their evaluation of staff, upper management- be they inter or intra agency- are not likely to support them when the employee grieves the evaluation. Others know that more often than not the evaluation is often ignored during such times when individuals are considered for special assignments or promotion to the next rank. Unfortunately, many of these promotions and assignments are frequently based on "who in this group of candidates irritated me the least," or "who will give me the least grief," or "who among our favorites deserves it this time."

Other times promotions are made based on the need to maintain the existing "good old boy" network or to meet some internal or external special interest group's agenda. Rarely is the performance evaluation brought to the forefront in such situations, because the decision makers know very well that many evaluations are fairy tales. Another reason performance evaluations are done poorly is because it is not done often enough by a runof-the-mill supervisor or manager for such an individual to develop the necessary expertise. It is thus no surprise that many supervisors feel that the exercise of writing performance evaluations is a waste of time. This perception must be changed.

Shifting Gears

First, we must shift gears in how we think about measuring and evaluating performances. Performance evaluations, as they are conducted now in many public and private organizations (based on a review of many studies on this topic and by the comments made by many law enforcement command officers in recent interviews) do not measure an individual's contribution to the overall mission of the organization or the goals and objectives of that individual's unit.

Instead, supervisors are asked to rate individuals' performances based on a forced feed performance boiler plate/form. For example, many a performance evaluation boiler plate asks supervisors to rate an employee on generic skills and behaviors such as communications skills, initiative, quality and quantity of work, knowledge of rules and regulations, ethics, and so on. Not that these behaviors are irrelevant, however, a direct relationship to the accomplishment of the agency's mission is often missing.

What such generic, forced fed forms fail to do is allow the rater to specifically rate the employee's performance in furtherance of his team's mission, or how he added value to the department's mission and strategic plan. For example, how well did the individual perform in the application of the Scanning, Analyzing, Responding and Assessing (SARA) model in resolving a loitering problem on a known drug dealing street corner? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Improve the Performance Evaluation Process


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.