This page provides examples of employee performance evaluation policies and forms for local governments in Washington State, including information on merit pay increases.
Doing a good job is important both to employers and employees.
For the employing government, if its employees perform their work well, it is better able to maintain or improve the public's perception of its operation, it can accomplish its goals more efficiently and, possibly, with less expense, and it may be able to take on new tasks without adding additional staff or budgetary commitment.
For an employee, doing a good job helps create job satisfaction, may allow for career advancement, and may trigger higher wages or benefits. But how does one know whether they are doing a good job? Is the employee meeting the goals and duties of the position? Or is poor performance placing the employee's continued employment at risk?
Personnel performance evaluations, if made on a continuing basis, allow the employer and the employee an opportunity to see how things are going, determine if there are problems that can be fixed, and set out goals for the upcoming year (or months).
The following are examples of forms that could be used in making performance evaluations, along with materials that offer suggestions and criteria to help prepare the evaluations.
Washington Local Government Examples
- Burien Performance and Goals Evaluation (2018) – Includes purpose statement, instructions for employee and supervisor, city values and definitions, and forms to complete and sign
- Covington Regular Employee Performance Evaluation (2017) – Annual performance evaluation form, including a supervisor's evaluation checklist
- Ellensburg Performance Evaluation (2018) – Describes purpose and procedure for annual appraisals followed by the evaluation form
- King County Employee Performance Appraisal System – Provides information on the purpose, goals and process, and provides sample evaluation forms
- Pierce County Competency Examples with Performance Statements (2016) – Lists performance descriptions that can be used by employees and managers to measure and manage performance, and establish development plans
- Seattle Performance Evaluation for Consultant Services Form (2011)
- Spokane Performance Evaluation and Eligibility for Step Increases (2006) – Provides policy for conducting evaluations
Washington State Examples
- Washington State Office of Financial Management: Performance Planning and Evaluation – Provides form templates, rules, and guidance.
- University of Washington: Performance Management Supervisor Guide – Excellent discussion of the purpose for making evaluations as well as providing forms and guidance for making them.
- Western Washington: Performance Evaluation Manual for Supervisors (2011) – An excellent resource providing guidelines and considerations that can be used by a supervisor preparing for and during an employee evaluation.
- University of California, Berkeley: Performance Management Procedure and Guide to Managing Human Resources – Provides information for supervisors and employees to prepare for an carry out the evaluation process.
- University of Georgia: Classified Employee Performance Assessment (2014) – This form was prepared by the university, but it could easily be structured to apply to virtually any job position.
- Wright State University (Ohio): Performance Evaluation Process Overview – An excellent source of suggestions and guidelines for evaluating the performance of employees.
Most employees hope for periodic wage increases, and it is not uncommon for local government employers to provide cost of living increases, recognizing that the cost of goods and services are increasing.
Some jurisdictions will also recognize an employee's worth to the organization based upon their years of service, while other jurisdictions may choose to base wage increases upon the "merit" that an employee has achieved. Has a particular employee met or surpassed all of their employment goals? Has the employee worked efficiently? Have the employee's achievements resulted in savings? Depending upon performance, certain employees may be rewarded with a wage increase in recognition of the merit of their work.
Practice Tip: Unless a merit pay system is carefully constructed, there is a risk that any additional wage provided in recognition of the employee's merit could be considered a gift, which would violate the state constitution. Thus, criteria for a merit wage increase must be adopted in advance of any work being performed so that an employee will know that if the criteria is met or exceeded, a wage increase will follow, not as a gift but in recognition that the certain work goals have been met.
- Bothell Employee Classification and Salary Plan (2022) – Provides that salary advances within pay range, other than those received for promotions or as provided by collective bargaining agreements or the city’s salary administration policy, shall be based upon the employee’s annual performance evaluation.
- Ellensburg Compensation Policy (2023) – See Section 5.3 (Employee Pay Rates); defines merit pay as increase in pay of one step in the appropriate pay range, for the purpose of recognizing reliable achievement over time by the employee meeting or exceeding supervisory expectations.
- King County Executive Branch Performance Appraisal and Guidelines (2017) – Allows appointing authority to grant multiple step increases for employees participating in the county’s performance appraisal system based on performance evaluation scoring system available in Appendix A.
- Also see county auditor's management letter (2017) regarding changes necessary for the merit "Over the Top" program.
- Milton Compensation for Exempt Employees (2018) – Employee’s salary may be adjusted within established range based on an annual performance evaluation. Merit pay adjustment shall be recommended by employee’s supervisor and approved by mayor. Includes adopting resolution.
- Port of Seattle Total Rewards Program (2018) – Provides range of increase options documented in a "Pay For Performance Matrix" determined by the performance review conducted by the manager or supervisor.
The following articles discuss why performance evaluations should be performed and provide insight as to how such evaluations should be performed.
- Gallup Blog: Give Performance Reviews That Actually Inspire Employees (2017) – Offers ideas to make evaluations more meaningful and acceptable.
- Harvard Business Review: Why Government Workers are Harder to Motivate (2014)
- Harvard Business Review: Ditch Performance Reviews? How About Learn to do Them Well? (2010) – Outlines the challenges of performance reviews and offers suggestions for meeting the challenges.
- University of Rhode Island: How Do 360 Degree Performance Reviews Affect Employee Attitudes, Effectiveness And Performance? (2006) – A well-written, comprehensive article about the 360 degree performance review process.