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Mesa Community College Harmful Employee Performance Evaluations Email


The following message from Veronica Dunaway, the vice president of human relations, seeks to help supervisors and managers write safe and helpful performance reviews.

Your Task: Analyze the vice president’s message. List at least five weaknesses. Pay special attention to its tone. Then, in a word document, revise the e-mail so that it reflects some of the writing techniques you have learned from the textbook. How can you make this e-mail more courteous, positive, concise, precise, and audience-oriented?

To:         All Supervisors and Departmental Managers

From:    Veronica Dunaway <>

Subject:  Dangerous Employee Performance Evaluations


This is something I hate to do, but I must warn you that recently one of our employees filed a lawsuit against the company because of comments a supervisor made during a performance evaluation. This did not have to happen. Look, people, you must do better!

Because none of you are dense, here are suggestions you must observe when making evaluations of employees:

  • You cannot accurately evaluate an employee’s performance unless you have a system to measure that performance. That’s why the obvious very first step is developing performance standards and goals for each employee. To be effective, these standards and goals must be shared with the employee. However, don’t do it orally. Do it in writing.
  • The performance of each employee must be monitored throughout the year. Keep a log for each worker. Note memorable incidents or projects in which he was involved. But don’t just keep favorable comments. I know that many of you are understandably averse to placing negative comments in an employee’s file. However, MAN UP! Even negative comments must be included as part of the evaluation process.
  • Once a year each employee must be formally evaluated in a written performance appraisal—yes, I do mean written! In a face-to-face meeting, let the employee know what you think they did well and what areas the employee may be able to improve. Be specific, give deadlines, be honest, and be realistic.

Giving evaluations can be difficult. With careful preparation, however, the process can be smooth and safe. Don’t allow yourself or the company to get involved in any more legal ramifications.


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