Rule of Thirds Employee Evaluation Tool
Originally published: 05/03/2019 09:57
Publication number: ELQ-16079-1
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Rule of Thirds Employee Evaluation Tool

Employees can be divided into three categories related to employee performance. This is called the rule of thirds

One third of employees are above average performers, one third are average performers and one third are below average performers. Of course, this is a general rule but if you go through the process of evaluating each employee using my employee performance evaluation grid worksheet, you may find this to be true.

The goal is to break the rule and move your average performers to above average and eliminate the below average employees either through training, finding a better fit for their skills or ending their employment if possible.

Above Average Performing Employees
You want to maximize the talent and skills of this group of employees and do what you can to retain them. You need to keep close contact, so you have a good sense of their job satisfaction and the type of challenge they need to stay engaged. Invest time and money in these employees as they often produce more quality work than the other two thirds combined.

Average Performing Employees
This group of employees get the work done satisfactory and are productive but have lots of room for improvement. You need to get to know them and their core talents and skills. Find out what motivates them most about the job and see where their motivation and their talents align. Create more opportunities to use their talents more fully and provide the training and support they need.

Below Average Performing Employees
These employees are either in the wrong job, have lost interest or need to be confronted about their performance. If they are in the wrong job and cannot be transferred to a new role, they need to leave. Keeping employees who do not fit or enjoy their work is not helping anyone.
If they have developed a negative attitude or resentments causing them to underperform, they need to be confronted and given clear consequences if they do not modify their behavior. Rigorous follow-up and feedback is required by the manager so they know if they are on track to keep their job.

Training and development can help with below average performing employees but first you need to find the root cause of the problem and see when training might be part of the solution.

This Best Practice includes
1 Excel Worksheet

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Further information

To use the rule of thirds to determine who are your above average, average and below average employees

Employee performance evaluation and employee development planning

Individual employee performance review


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