Current State

Only 38% of organizations pay significant attention to employees’ competency and skill development throughout an annual performance evaluation cycle, according to Brandon Hall Group’s performance-management research. Far more organizations (71%) pay heavy attention to employees’ performance on particular initiatives or business goals. 


The traditional approach to employee performance evaluations leads to a perception of bias that reduces their value. Almost half of organizations (47%) responding to our research said bias impacts a manager’s evaluation of performance often or always. 

Perception of Managers’ Actions in Performance Evaluation 


Less than one-third of organizations believe there is a high correlation between the highest-performance evaluation scores and the highest-performing individuals in the organization. There are many reasons for this. The traditional process was designed in a different era when business did not move as fast. Now, an employee’s potential is more important than their past performance. 

It is up to organizations to change their performance evaluation process. Performance evaluation can be improved in many ways, according to our research. 

Top 5* Performance Management Factors Employers Plan to Address Over The Next Six Months 

Through these improved processes — and others based on the needs of individual organizations — managers must obtain a more complete picture of their team members’ performance, value and potential. That knowledge then must be leveraged to improve talent and learning processes to build a more agile and capable workforce to meet future business needs. 

Brandon Hall Group POV

Based on our quantitative research, interviews with scores of organizations and performance management leading practices from Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Excellence Awards program, here are seven questions managers should ask themselves when evaluating and having performance conversations with employees 

Would I Promote This Individual Right Now if I Could? 

Answering this question requires a lot of knowledge about employees — their performance, of course, but also their level of engagement, their future aspirations, their ability to collaborate with teammates, hidden skills and competencies they might have that are not necessarily reflected in their job performance, and their feeling about the organization and its mission, goals and values. Even if there is not a promotion opportunity available, understanding who on the manager’s team is ready for promotion — and why — is extremely valuable.  38% of organizations ask this question during the evaluation process, our research shows 

What Are the Future Opportunities for This Individual? 

Once you understand whether someone is ready for promotion, you must understand what opportunities exist for the person. If there are none — or none of interest to the employee — the organization needs to solve this before the person becomes a flight risk. 19% of organizations ask this question, according to our surveys. 

What Development Opportunities Can I Offer in the Employee’s Current Role? 

Whether the employee is ready for advancement now or needs more development, an IDP or other type of plan should be created so the employee can continue to build capabilities in their job. If there are no learning opportunities in the current role, that is a problem not just for the employee’s development but for the organization’s ability to develop talent. 24% of organizations ask this question according to our data. 

How Important Is This Person to the Team? 

 This question helps to answer the promotability and opportunities questions, and provides perspective on the health and needs of the manager’s team. Every manager should understand the value each team member brings. 74% of organizations say managers consider this question during the evaluation process, our research shows. 

Would I Give the Highest Salary Increase to This Individual? 

This question is a natural extension of the previous one and makes you really think about the employee’s value from a financial standpoint. The follow-up questions about giving the highest salary increase (or bonus) are why or why not? 36% of organizations say their managers consider this question, according to our research. 

How Difficult Is This Employee to Replace?

Considering this question forces you to again think about the employee’s true value, but also about the depth of your talent pipeline. If the person is hard to replace and there is little talent on the bench, that presents issues that need to be addressed. 49% of organizations ask this question, our research shows. 

What Is This Person’s Flight Risk? 

This is the natural extension of the previous question. If the flight risk is high, the next question is, what do we do about it? 21% ask this question, according to our research. 

All these questions are pertinent in the performance evaluation. In addition, think of insights the organization would have if each manager considered these factors for all employees? If acted upon appropriately, the talent-management process would be greatly improved. 


Brandon Hall Group Strategy Briefs answer the critical questions learning, talent, HR and business leaders must address to manage their human capital. To tackle these critical questions in more detail, we built tools, frameworks, research summaries and business builders based on up-to-date research and case studies for you to implement best and next Human Capital Management (HCM) practices. To gain access to these valuable resources, contact

Leading minds in HCM choose Brandon Hall Group to help them build future-proof employee-development plans for the new era. For more than 28 years, we have empowered, recognized and certified excellence in organizations around the world, influencing the development of over 10,000,000 associates and executives.

Claude Werder

Claude Werder oversees Brandon Hall Group's analyst team, new product development, corporate development, the HCM Excellence Conference 2015, publishing, and social media and marketing strategies for Brandon Hall Group. In that role, he manages Brandon Hall Group’s research priorities, Membership Program and Member Center, and Brandon Hall Group’s exclusive KnowledgeBases of research data and HCM solution providers, services and products.