August 25, 2022
25 min read

Performance Evaluation Template: A Step-by-step Guide

As managers spend hours preparing for performance evaluations, many of them wonder… is it worth the effort? In fact, according to Gallup, only 14% of employees strongly agree their performance evaluations inspire them to improve. However, research by Gartner shows that removing ratings is not the solution.

The real question is how to improve feedback instances to ensure they increase engagement and provide a stepping stone for productivity. 

The future of work has changed and performance management is shifting, after COVID-19, to an environment where continuous feedback, real conversations, and employee collaboration are the key.

Yet, while cultural change is a necessary start, having a checklist to help guide your conversations can prove handy. 

In this article, we will gather important questions that need to be addressed, provide a ready-to-use performance evaluation template, and share a step-by-step to guide you through the performance review process. If you are an HR manager or a leader, you will find everything you need to know to get started with performance evaluations. Keep reading!

Content

  1. What is a performance evaluation?
  2. The purpose of performance evaluation
  3. Different types of performance evaluation
  4. Benefits of performance evaluation 
  5. How to get started with a performance evaluation template 
  6. Performance evaluation template 
  7. Step-by-step guide to a performance evaluation
  8. Conclusion
  9. FAQ

What is a performance evaluation?

An employee performance evaluation is a systematic reviewing process that organizations use to understand employee strengths, areas of improvement, and overall productivity. 

While most organizations have an end-of-year evaluation and a mid-year checkup, performance evaluation is a process that goes beyond formal conversations, starts way before the one-to-one meeting, and needs constant follow-up in order to be effective.

The purpose of performance evaluation

Performance evaluation is a process designed for improvement led by leaders and HRs. While it provides management with a clear picture of the resources in place, it can also start conversations between leaders and their direct reports that can help clarify goals, identify obstacles, and clear the way for quality performance.

Different types of performance evaluation

Feedback doesn´t always have to be top-down. Combining many types of performance evaluations helps ensure all different points of view are considered. 

Check some useful performance evaluation examples below:

  • 360-degree review: This comprehensive evaluation gathers feedback from leaders, direct reports, and co-workers, with an intent to capture all dimensions of performance.
  • Manager evaluation: Direct reports evaluate the performance of their manager through surveys and one-to-one meetings. This gives valuable input on leadership skills. 
  • Self-assessment: The employee is requested to analyze his own performance – which is great for raising self-awareness and developing critical thinking.
  • Team assessment: The leader assesses the performance of the team as a whole, the roles of each individual, and the dynamics between the parts. Analyzing how people work together – not only at the individual level but also as a team – can be revealing.
  • Skill evaluation: Skill assessment tests can provide valuable inputs on how employees perform on on-the-job tasks and what skills they need to develop. For positions where technical abilities are important, this technique is very useful in the hiring process.

Benefits of performance evaluation  

Performance evaluations can be very beneficial for talent development – which ultimately impacts results.

A good performance evaluation:

  • Develops employee self-awareness: Evaluations help employees understand their contribution to the business and the gap between their performance and what is expected of them.
  • Encourages conversation: Establishing periodic instances to provide feedback ensures conversations between employees and leaders take place frequently.
  • Sets employees´ development paths: If an employee shows room for improvement or has an interest in picking up a course or training, or rotating within the company, this is the space to share development opportunities and thoughts.
  • Boost employee engagement and productivity: Employees want to be seen and heard. Providing constant constructive feedback can increase motivation and impact employee productivity.

How to get started with a performance evaluation template 

There are a number of performance review templates available, but what they all have in common is that they address past and current performance, help set expectations for the future, and measure how far businesses are from established goals.

Using performance evaluation forms can facilitate the process by ensuring you don't miss any important questions. Also, it’s easier for you to track all employees´ progress with the same tools and measure performance consistently.

Before getting started, it is important to understand that the success of a performance evaluation lies 50% in asking the right questions and the other 50% in how these questions are asked. The leadership style has a huge impact on the outcomes of the evaluation.

If you are in a leading position, check these five tips for delivering useful feedback:

  1. Set clear goals and expectations: Get sure both parties are aware of the evaluation criteria. Don't take anything for granted.
  2. Provide regular feedback: Giving one-to-one feedback on an ongoing basis takes the pressure off it and creates an open environment for conversation.
  3. Request feedback as much as you give it: If you value your employees´ feedback they will value yours. Make sure your team knows inputs are always welcome.
  4. Use specific examples to illustrate your points: There is nothing more annoying than abstract feedback. Use real-life situations to explain what you mean.
  5. Balance positivity and honesty: Be honest but choose your words carefully. Your employees need to hear you believe they can do better – provide realistic actionable feedback.

Related: 

Performance evaluation template 

As said, there are all kinds of evaluation templates and all of them have their pros and cons. In this article, we will present a qualitative performance evaluation template that we consider covers all the important points and leaves enough room for customization.

Keep reading to check what our performance evaluation template includes.

Employee´s basic information

In this part, write down the employee details such as:

  • Employee Name
  • Department 
  • Employee ID
  • Position Held

It is also a good idea to keep track of the reviewer's details, last review date, and current review date.

Goals and responsibilities

Include a brief summary of what the employee is being evaluated for, including a synthesis of the job description and performance goals set for the period. Starting the performance evaluation by going through previous agreements helps set a common ground for the conversation.

Questions to ask:

  • What long-term goals had we agreed on during our last feedback meeting?
  • What tasks and responsibilities did it imply?
  • What measurement criteria had we defined?

Performance

This is the core of the evaluation. A good practice is to score each goal individually – under some sort of rating system or numerical scale – and then analyze the overall performance.

Some areas that should be covered in the performance evaluation are:

  • Overall performance: Was the employee able to achieve set goals? In what percentage? How would you rate the overall job performance of the employee?
  • Areas of excellence: In what areas does the employee excel? What are his or her strengths? Take into consideration the core competencies of the employee, collaboration skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, and take note of all employee's accomplishments.
  • Areas of improvement: Is there any room for improvement? During the one-to-one, ask the employee questions to further understand the reason for under-performing in this area. Are there any obstacles standing in the way? What can you do to help as a leader? What can the employee do?
  • Future goals and expectations: What do you expect from the employee in the future? Provide actionable feedback with clear next steps and a time framework.

Related: 

What is Employee Performance Management in 2022
Top 12 Performance Review Software in 2022

Employees' comments and feedback

Listening is an important part of performance management. Employees should be able to discuss their feelings, their personal goals for the future, and anything they feel they need to share.

Questions to ask:

  • Are you satisfied with your current responsibilities and goals?
  • Where do you see yourself in the future?
  • What skills would you like to develop? How can I help you?

Below you will find, as promised, a ready-to-use general template. Feel free to customize it as much as you need.

Step-by-step guide to a performance evaluation

Now that you have the employee performance evaluation form, we would like to walk you through the entire evaluation process.

  1. Determine future goals of evaluation

At the beginning of each year, managers and their direct reports should have a goal-setting sit-up and set SMART goals for the next period. Remember SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-related.

Goals also need to be:

  • aligned with the company's goals (the greater goals we all aim to achieve)
  • agreed between both parts – this involves a two-way conversation

  1. Choose the type of performance evaluation 

Are you considering someone for a managing position? You should better use a 360º review. Or do you intend a person to reflect on their own performance? You should better pick up a self-assessment.

Use the type of performance evaluation that best serves your purpose – or a combination of them.

If you are using Effy.ai you can easily select the type of assessment you need and check the performance review templates available for it.

Performance evaluation template
  1. Select the template and customize it

In the performance evaluation template shared above you will find general areas that need to be covered. But if you want to make the conversation more personal (and you should!), it is important to customize the questions to go deeper into what matters most to you.

If you are using HR software such as Effy.ai, you can do this easily. Start with a review template, choose the questions you want to answer, and change whatever you like.

  1. Schedule the performance evaluation

Inform employees about the performance evaluation in advance so that they can get prepared for it. Give them homework – ask them to self-assess their performance prior to the meeting. It is also a good practice to gather feedback from colleagues.

  1. Gather performance data and analyze it

Face-to-face meetings – or at least videoconferences if you are far away – are the right choice for performance evaluations. But don´t forget that words get lost in the wind if you don't write them down. Make the habit of documenting all agreements and analyzing data afterward.

Some interesting things you can find in the performance evaluation data:

  • High performers: Are they fit for their current role and motivated?
  • Talent gaps: Do you need to recruit new people?
  • Skills gaps: Are there any training opportunities?
  • Overlapping positions: Can a position be eliminated? Do responsibilities need to be clarified?
  • Employee engagement: Are there any motivational opportunities?

  1. Follow up and provide constant feedback

Last but not least, keep in mind performance management is an everyday activity. You can´t expect people to change or improve over one annual conversation.

Offering regular informal feedback and constantly gathering inputs can reduce the pressure, help employees make corrections in real-time, and avoid unpleasant surprises in formal evaluation meetings.

And, of course, never forget to give positive feedback. Recognizing progress can be a powerful motivational treat.

Conclusion

Performance evaluations can increase motivation and productivity levels – but only if they are carried out properly.

While management style can determine the effectiveness of these conversations, having a performance evaluation template that works as a checklist can be very helpful. 

But don´t forget that customizing your employee evaluation form, having ongoing conversations, and creating an environment where feedback is always welcome are also important.

Sign up now and start simplifying your HR processes!

FAQ

How to conduct a performance evaluation?

These are six steps to conducting an effective performance evaluation:

  1. Determine future goals of the evaluation
  2. Choose the type of performance evaluation
  3. Select the template and customize it
  4. Schedule the performance evaluation
  5. Gather data and analyze it
  6. Follow up and provide constant feedback

What are good practices for performance evaluations?

If you are a leader and want to be able to deliver effective feedback, get sure to follow these five rules:

  1. Set clear goals and expectations
  2. Provide regular feedback
  3. Request feedback as much as you give it
  4. Use real-life examples to illustrate your points
  5. Balance positivity and honesty

Should I use software for performance evaluations?

Definitely. A performance management system such as Effy.ai can make performance evaluations simpler and faster with the following features:

  • automate notifications so you don't miss out on any important dates
  • schedule your conversations
  • provide useful evaluation templates
  • create quick surveys to gather feedback from employees and their co-workers
  • provide visual dashboards to help analyze the data
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