Performance Appraisal and Employee Motivation


Employee motivation is at the heart of every organization that envisions success. A motivated workforce is the hallmark of excellence in an organization and, ultimately, success. In such a case then employees tend to have goals that they strive to achieve, and whether they do reach them or not, they expect to receive feedback so that they can monitor their progress (Idowu, 2017). Feedback could be provided throughout a workday. However, many organizations have a formal process of giving employees feedback on their performance company-wide referred to as performance appraisal. The process entails an evaluation of employees’ performance against the set goals for a given period. In essence, performance appraisals require taking time to observe and measure an employee’s performance during the appraisal period, recording the observations made, communicating them to the particular employee in addition to rewarding high performance and crafting ways of improving deficiencies (Minnesota University Libraries, n.d). A performance appraisal of a specific employee is perceived as a motivation tool to push an employee towards improving their productivity.

Key Terms

Employee Motivation, Performance Appraisal, Feedback.

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This paper explores the extent to which performance appraisal systems could influence employee motivation. It offers a brief background of employee motivation and how it relates to performance appraisal. The paper then provides a discussion on to what end performance appraisals influence workforce motivation borrowing from past scholarly works.

Performance Appraisal and Employee Motivation

The best employee evaluation technique should be one that motivates with development. In essence, this is what performance appraisals do an organization’s workforce. The moment employees see their goals clearly defined and understands their performance deficiencies and the career development solutions that have been put in place to help them advance in their careers, they get motivated to achieve those goals (Muhammad, 2015). As such, employees derive motivation from their past successes and failures, which is a good boost for productivity.

Performance appraisals turn employees around. To employees whose needs revolve around personal effectiveness, goal attainment, and achievement performance appraisals provides them with a wake-up call that they have lost track and need to get re-energized and refocused. By evaluating employees’ performance with respect to their success in achieving the previous year’s goals, employees can set new goals for the next performance appraisal period with an understanding of their current footing (Mathew & Johnson, 2015). To put it into perspective, performance appraisal systems motivate a workforce by acting as a constant reminder of where they are set to reach and how much they need to stretch to get there.

Performance appraisals enhance employee motivation by tying performance to promotions, annual bonuses, and pay. According to Idowu (2017), research has demonstrated that performance appraisals tend to effectively motivate employees if they are efficiently tied to reward decisions for top performance and for terminating low performing employees. Indeed in light of motivation theories, this is very true. The reinforcement theory notes that rewarded behavior is ultimately repeated. Since most performance appraisal systems tie appraisal results to rewards employees to bear the perception that performance is always entitled to reward motivating them to improve on their performances. Caution should, however, be taken to ensure that appraisal ratings are accurate to avoid unfairness.

In conclusion, although performance appraisals systems have been found to be an effective way of resolving performance challenges and motivating employees, there are only a few organizations that utilize its full potential. In most organizations, performance appraisals are perceived as a bureaucratic procedure that employees and their managers despise. As such, organizations must frame their performance appraisal systems in a form that employees with adore.


Idowu, A. (2017). Effectiveness of performance appraisal system and its effect on employee motivation. Nile Journal of Business and Economics, 3(5), 15-39.

Mathew, U. & Johnson, J. (2015). Impact of Performance Appraisal and Work Motivation on Work Performance of employee: With Special Reference to A Multi-Specialty Hospital in Kerala,IOSR Journal of Business and Management (IOSR-JBM) e-ISSN: 2278-487X, p-ISSN: 2319-7668. Volume 17, Issue 6. Ver. II, PP 21-24.

Minnesota University Libraries, (n.d). Organizational Behavior: 6.4 Motivating Employees Through Performance Appraisals.  Minnesota University Libraries, retrieved from

Muhammad F. K. (2015). Role of Performance Appraisal System on Employees Motivation.IOSR Journal of Business and Management (IOSR-JBM) e-ISSN: 2278-487X.Volume 8, Issue 4 (Mar. – Apr. 2013), PP 66-83.



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