In § 109 of the Trade, Commerce and Industry Regulation Act (Gewerbeordnung, GewO), the legislator has stipulated that salaried employees have a legal right to the issuance of an employer’s reference. In § 5 of the BetrVG the term employee is specified.
It is shown who is legally considered an employee and why managers with managerial responsibility and procuration do not have a legal right to a reference. In the case of employment contracts, Section 630 of the German Civil Code (BGB) is the legal basis. This paragraph contains equivalent guidelines as the trade regulations.
Who is entitled to an assessment?
In addition to salaried employees, trainees and employees in service relationships, all other groups of persons have no legal entitlement to the preparation of an employer’s reference. Your entitlement may be regulated differently in a collective agreement or individual contract.
If it is not possible to prepare an employer’s reference due to the legal situation or internal company regulations, an assessment or a letter of appraisal can be prepared as an alternative. This is similar in structure to an employer’s reference.
If managers are confronted with the request to write an appraisal, they must comprehensively answer the following questions for themselves:
- How does an evaluation differ from a job reference??
- For which groups of persons can an assessment be created??
- How can an appraisal represent the achievements and qualifications of an employee??
What is an evaluation? – Difference to an employer’s reference
The main difference between an appraisal and a reference can be found in the lack of a legal right to it. In addition, the usual benevolent reference language is not used in an appraisal, but open diction is preferred.
For example, an appraisal can be designed as an appreciative document from a former supervisor. Such an assessment is also called a letter of reference or recommendation. In many cases, the reference is also listed on the resume. In this way, the assessment with reference can be a decisive source of information in the application process, in addition to the application documents submitted.
Especially in management positions, the personal word of a former supervisor carries a lot of weight. It often has more value than official job references in terms of gaining knowledge for hiring companies, as individual inquiries are possible.
In contrast, a pure appraisal letter without recommendation of the reference contains mainly information about the skills, the activity in the company and the period of employment. It resembles a simple job reference, although it can be made more informal in its structure.
An appraisal is an appreciative document with the employee © fizkes – Shutterstock
When formulating an appraisal, the author is not bound by legal or statutory requirements. An appraisal letter is considered a personal, private document. For this reason, it is usually reproduced on the author’s letterhead.
For which groups of people an appraisal letter can be created
An appraisal letter is always written by a natural person. Appraisals or reference letters from companies are unusual. They would be in direct competition with conventional job references.
There is no defined group of people for whom appraisals are primarily written. In practice, mainly receive:
- trainees or
A letter of appraisal. Mentors in companies, professors at universities, the board of directors of an association or the supervisor of an intern are asked to write the evaluation letter individually and with a personal touch.
The same applies to managers who ask their supervisors in management to draft an appraisal or reference letter. You will receive a personal letter of recommendation from the responsible first-line manager upon request. This document, written in the "I" form, describes the collaboration between the direct supervisor and the person being appraised. It addresses specific achievements, reliability and teamwork, and the personal relationship.
In summary, appraisals and letters of reference can benefit any employee non-specifically. Here it is irrelevant whether they are permanent employees, freelancers or volunteers. It is crucial that emotions and positive information are conveyed with the personal letter of recommendation.
Letters of reference are for employees © Lida b2b – Shutterstock
A letter of reference is similar to a guarantor in a loan agreement. The author of the reference letter guarantees that the appraisee is dedicated, reliable and purposeful. When an evaluation is designed in this manner, it has the same impressive effect as a qualified job reference.
Assessment: structure and content – How to write an assessment?
A letter of recommendation or appraisal can be customized in terms of content and outward form with a personal touch.
The structure of an employee appraisal is divided into four essential points © Personalwissen
The following four characteristics are essential:
- The letter must make it clear through its form and presentation that it was created personally. The author’s contact information and signature must be visible to make it look credible.
- In the document it must be evident in which function an employee was active and in which period the author and the appraisee worked together. The writer of the appraisal should be hierarchically above the appraisee.
- The assessment should include information about the social behavior, teamwork skills and the essential soft skills and positive qualities.
- In the case of a letter of reference or recommendation, it must be clear why the author is recommending the person being evaluated.
Writing an assessment: Example of a meaningful letter of recommendation
Assessment for a sales representative
Personal letterhead of the supervisor
Ms. Schulze joined on 01.10.2019 as a certified pharmaceutical sales representative in the company. In my sales region, she took charge of her defined customers in the following geographic metropolitan area.
From the beginning I experienced Mrs. Schulze as highly engaged and very reliable. This can be seen in particular in the fact that discussed deadlines are kept at all times and that our customers praised the cooperation with her very much. Her sales territory has developed positively since she joined the company.
At the same time, Ms. Schulze manages to acquire a significant number of new customers in the territory each quarter and retain existing customers as prescribers in the long term. She achieves this through her open, authoritative and winning manner, as well as through clearly structured and goal-oriented sales pitches. The very good preparation and follow-up of their sales activities and their regular reporting must be particularly emphasized.
In the team and in the whole region Mrs. Schulze is regarded as a collegial, responsible and helpful team player. Due to her qualification and her abilities she took over PC – trainings in the area of MS Office and in the company-internal CRM – system in my department on regional meetings. Your presentations at regional conferences look qualified visualized as well as expertly thought out.
I very much appreciate working with Ms. Schulze because she is an extremely dedicated, professionally organized and extremely reliable employee who possesses both the sales and the human qualities to be successful as a pharmaceutical sales representative.
Signature as well as contact details (telephone / e-mail)
Summary and conclusion on writing an evaluation
When managers are asked to write an appraisal, they can generally use the contents of job references as a guide. Evaluations or letters of recommendation are always written as a personal document by a natural person and not in the company’s name. Supervisors, professors, mentors or trainers can act as authors of evaluations.
It is essential that evaluations captivate through their positive formulations and the personal choice of words of the writer. In this case, an assessment or a letter of reference can convey important information in a professional way. The appraisee will benefit from the appraisal for his future career.
FAQ – Write a review
There are significant differences between a job reference and an assessment. The assessment lacks a legal claim and the usual benevolent testimonial language. Open diction is preferred in its place. Usually, the assessment, an appreciative document designed by a former supervisor.
An assessment is characterized by essential characteristics that must be taken into account. The appraisal is a personal document written by a superior, who can provide clear reasons why the appraisee is to be recommended, in which function he worked and in which period he worked with the author. In addition, the assessment should be able to provide answers about social behavior, teamwork skills and essential soft skills.
There is no fixed group of people for whom assessments are created ostensibly. In practice, it is mainly freelancers, students, trainees or volunteers who receive an assessment upon request. The letters are usually written by mentors in companies, professors at universities, the board of directors of an association or the supervisor of a trainee.
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