August 8, 2022
35 min read

7 Best Performance Review Templates for Perfect Performance Evaluation

In this article:

The bedrock of the performance review process is the performance review template.

Prominent market research company Harris Insights & Analytics reports that 24% of employees consider leaving their jobs due to inadequate performance feedback. Moreover, 95% of managers are unsatisfied with conventional employee performance review processes. Finally, the global performance management software market is anticipated to reach $18 billion by 2028. These three facts alone suggest that underestimating performance reviews is a major mistake.

A proper performance review template differentiates between higher productivity and higher employee retention. With various performance management platforms available, measuring employee performance is as easy as ever.

Let's dive deeper into the topic and explore different performance review forms that can pumper up business toward greater employee satisfaction and productivity.

What are performance reviews?

In a nutshell, this is a process of assessing an employee's work performance while following the guidelines of a performance review form. Effective performance review processes often depend on the quality of any given employee evaluation form and helpful feedback offered by managers.

With a focus on accurate evaluation and improvement, performance reviews must be structured in a certain way, using a specific process. Companies may rely on a performance review template to follow this process accordingly.

Conducting employee performance reviews is almost an art form. Harvard Business Review illustrates distinct performance evaluation aspects that make performance review as important as market research. To get the best value from performance review forms, you need to know more about it.

What performance review process addresses?

A good performance review template is the cornerstone of a performance review process. Yet, when using any template, you should understand what key aspects it addresses. In general, an effective review process focuses on the following:

  • How do employees either meet or fall behind particular objectives?
  • What do employees achieve or fail to achieve?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of any individual employee?
  • What performance goals do one need to adhere to in the future?
  • How do employees see their progress themselves?

These aspects explore past performance, set new performance expectations, and help gather feedback for measuring overall performance.

Why use a performance review template at all?

Looking deeper into the role of performance review templates, there are several angles to apply. Simply put, performance reviews can benefit parties on both ends, and Forbes agrees with that.

Benefits for business

A generic free performance review template can offer a range of business advantages not seen with a naked eye. It helps cover core values like:

  • Productivity
  • Work quality
  • Technical skills
  • Cooperation
  • Attitude
  • Creativity
  • Dependability
  • Communication skills

Managers who have used performance reviews in the past suggest the phenomenon bringing the following:

  • Better organizational planning. Comparing past employee reviews to ongoing ones helps companies evaluate the quality of the organizational performance. Equipped with the insights, managers can determine key drivers and set future corporate objectives.
  • Finding out the top and bottom performers. A performance review helps evaluate company resources in terms of human potential. It shows employees who outperform others and workers who underperform. These are all vital aspects to balance the company's performance.
  • Improved role clarification. Every team member should have identified roles to improve company productivity. Performance reviews help determine employee strengths and set roles based on such professional and personal attributes.
  • Open communication promotion. A good organizational structure entails a two-way conversation between management and employees.

Benefits for employees

A simple performance review template for managers and employees can facilitate the entire evaluation process. In other terms, a performance review often results in constructive feedback that serves as:

  • Motivational tool. After receiving feedback, employees can set better professional and personal goals. They can become task focused and motivated to reach higher standards of performance.
  • Training tool. Getting feedback along with self-reviews is a direct way to explore a particular employee's strengths and help a person understand how to reach personal success. Performance reviews train individuals to train toward better job performance.
  • Career development tool. Receiving peer feedback is a path toward finding a dream job. Essentially, a person translates feedback from a performance review into actionable career development instruments. The better employees understand where to move, the better their performance will be, which is a win-win scenario.

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Different types of performance reviews

It is safe to say there are several dozen performance review types available. However, the gist of all the reviews can be narrowed down to these types:

  • Weekly performance review: conducted every week.
  • Monthly performance review: conducted every month.
  • Mid-year performance review: conducted twice a year.
  • Quarterly performance review: conducted four times a year.
  • Year end performance review: conducted once a year.
  • Simple performance review: conducted annually, bi-annually, or quarterly.
  • Team performance review: conducted annually or quarterly.
  • 360 performance review: conducted annually or bi-annually.
  • Professional development review: conducted once a year.
  • Performance improvement review: conducted when an employee underperformed.
  • Self-assessment performance review: conducted annually or quarterly.
  • Peer appraisal performance review: conducted annually.
  • 30-60-90 performance review: conducted once a month for the first three months of employment.
  • Probation review: conducted after probation period.
  • Behavior change performance review: conducted bi-annually.
  • Goal-setting performance review: conducted annually or bi-annually.
  • Leadership performance review: conducted bi-annually.
  • Compensation performance review: conducted annually or bi-annually.
  • Sales performance review: conducted four times a year.

These are broadly used performance review types. Each of them grants particular benefits and should be conducted in specific scenarios. What is more, companies need to choose each particular performance review based on needs, objectives, and expectations. If employees are not lagging behind their performance indicators, you don’t need to conduct quarterly performances. In turn, if employees lack particular skills and need a performance boost, couple of weekly performance reviews with a professional development review template.

7 Performance review templates to consider

Why use a performance review template at all?

Now it's time to proceed to some in-depth insights based on hands-on experience using various performance review templates. Notably, employee performance review templates can be different. However, each one of them has something unique to offer.

1. G.O.O.D. performance development review template

G.O.O.D. is about Goals, Obstacles, Opportunities, and Decisions. The key objective of this review is to emphasize employee progress concerning certain purposes. Within the G.O.O.D. employee evaluation form, it is best to have questions linked to the employee objectives, aspects slowing one's progress toward achieving them, and actions an individual takes to surpass the challenges.

Regarding the advantages of the G.O.O.D. performance review template, one should note that it encourages dialogue, promotes reflections, and addresses future planning. In terms of disadvantages, the G.O.O.D. evaluation form is among the performance review templates that have no data-based metrics.

Questions to ask 

  • What are your major goals at work for the next 6/12 months? Do you feel you can achieve them? 
  • What type of support do you need to meet your goals easier? 
  • What are some of the main obstacles you come across at work? Do they prevent you from meeting your goals? 
  • How do you address those obstacles? Do you feel you need additional skills or knowledge to properly deal with obstacles? 
  • What are some of the major opportunities that have emerged as a result of your work? 
  • How do these opportunities help you grow personally and professionally? 
  • What were some of the main decisions you had to make at work? Were you comfortable with them? 
  • Are you happy with the outcomes of these decisions?
  • Is there anything you would change in this process? 

2. Year end performance review template

An annual performance review process includes summing up the overall performance within a review period, namely one year. Questions in the annual performance review template should correlate to the assessment of the group’s accomplishments and core values. Fill the annual performance review template with others because it creates transparency and illustrates the overall progress.

Pondering upon the upsides of this type of performance evaluation, it helps everyone onboard grasp a broad picture. And it enables an employee to see their role from such a perspective. The downside of this employee review template is that encapsulating the year of performance can be daunting, especially if too much data and metrics are involved.

Questions to ask

  • How would you evaluate your performance in the past year on a scale from 1 to 10?
  • Did you manage to meet all of your KPIs?
  • What were your 1-3 major wins in the past year? 
  • What were the 3 main challenges you faced? Were you satisfied with the way you addressed these challenges? 
  • What are the 1-3 major areas you’d like to improve next year? 
  • How would you rate your collaboration with the rest of the team? 
  • How would you rate your communication with management? 
  • Did you feel you lacked support? If so, how could it be improved in the future?
  • Did you have access to all of the necessary tools for work? How did these tools help facilitate your work process?

3. Mid-year performance review template

A mid-year performance review template should include the questions linked to the goals and objectives. It checks whether employees need to change their performance. Emphasize highlights, challenges, and future actions in the template.

The pros of this review are the opportunity to adjust performance before the annual performance review. The cons of this template stem from the fact that it leaves behind a six-month blank space between reviews. It is easy to overlook further underperformance with a mid-year performance review.

Questions to ask 

  • Do you think you have been successful in the past 6 months? Why or why not?
  • What were your goals for the past 6 months and did you manage to achieve them?
  • Did you have enough support from your colleagues and managers at work? Do you think this area could be improved?
  • Did you have access to all the necessary tools for work? 
  • Did you have any major challenges with your colleagues or supervisors that need to be addressed at this point?
  • How do you feel about the next 6 months? Did you set clear goals? 
  • What kind of support/resources do you need to meet those goals?

4. 90-day performance review template

The 90-day performance review template is one of the broadly-used instruments. It grants insights between the mid-year and annual reviews and helps to cover the gap between the approaches. The 90-day performance review template covers three key areas with specific questions.

Questions to ask

  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of this role?
  • Are the duties of your job what you expected? Why or why not?
  • What excites you the most about your daily duties?
  • Do you have the necessary tools and resources to carry out your duties?
  • What tools and resources could help you perform your job better?
  • Do you have all the information needed to perform your duties effectively?
  • Are there any goals that will be hard for you to achieve this month/quarter?
  • Do you understand how your personal goals align with company goals?
  • What are the best ways to achieve success over the next 6, 9, or 12 months?

5. Peer review template

A peer review template is about gathering feedback from people working with an employee under review. The questions within the template explore the strengths and weaknesses of the person.

The advantage of peer review templates is granting insights managers might have overlooked. The disadvantage of this approach is that the interviewee's bias can corrupt the findings. A peer review template and quarterly performance review feedback should be used.

How would you evaluate your colleagues:

  • communication inside a team
  • preparedness to step up and support other co-workers 
  • integrity and accountability 
  • ability to set clear goals that contribute to the overall team’s success
  • ability to successfully meet those goals within a designated time-frame
  • initiative and willingness to suggest ideas for improvement 
  • ability to form and maintain strong, professional relationships at work

6. Self-performance review template

A self-assessment review template enables an individual to evaluate personal performance. This employee review template focuses on questions that discover obstacles to better performance.

The benefit of a self-assessment employee review template is about the adoption of self-reflective attitudes. People are encouraged to boost their performance through self-evaluation. The drawback of the template stems from the lack of feedback on the part of managers and peers. At this point, self-assessment can be one-sided.

Questions to ask

  • What 2-3 strengths did you exhibit in the performance period that most helped you be successful? Give examples of how these strengths positively impacted the team, department, or company.
  • What have been your top accomplishments in the performance period? What impact did each have on the team, department, or company?
  • What challenges, if any, did you encounter during this performance period? How did they impact your performance?
  • What goals/objectives should you focus on over the next performance period?
  • What are your top 3 strengths, and how did you apply them to your work since your last review?
  • What are the 3 wins you want to celebrate since your last review? What led to those wins?
  • Where would you like to improve? What are three opportunities for growth to focus on before your next review?

7. Team performance review template

The team performance review template has questions linked to successes of teamwork, instances of proper collaboration, and aspects that make team communication comfortable.

The definite benefit of this free  performance review template is to envision people as a group and promote collaboration. The challenge of this template is that scoring too high or too low can damage the results. The template must show balanced metrics and use a proper rating scale.

Questions to ask 

  • How would you rate your team’s success in meeting company goals on a scale from 1 to 10? Please explain your reasoning. 
  • What are some of the major strengths of your team? 
  • What are critical improvement areas? 
  • What are some of the main challenges you faced as a team and how did you overcome it? What are your key takeaways from the process?
  • How is your team collaboration? Do you get enough support from your colleagues? 
  • How would you rate your team communication? Is there anything that should be improved? 
  • Are you comfortable seeking support from your colleagues? 
  • Do you feel your team has enough support from the management? 

Related:

How to get started with a performance review template?

How to get started with a performance review template?

The quality of a performance review depends on how well a manager handles it. Following are the tips for starters and non-starters that help you get the best performance review up and running.

Customization

Each performance review should be customized to achieve a specific purpose. Include core values and competencies you are looking for during an assessment.

Clear purpose

A performance review template must have a well-defined objective. Think in advance about what you intend to find.

Not too overbearing

Remember that people cannot handle too much information all at once. Make a review a gradual process with several linked assessment sessions.

Proper rating scale

Use the right rating scale suitable for each particular review. While some templates need numerical scales, others, like self-reviews, can be more descriptive.

S.M.A.R.T. goals

Set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely objectives. The success of any review depends on how well S.M.A.R.T. goals are predefined.

Promote development

A review leads to feedback. And feedback should encourage an employee to develop in one way or another.

Pursue objectivity

While a review process can be upheld in a non-informal environment with plain language, you mustn't appeal to subjectivity or stay ambiguous. Show respect and objectivity.

In-detail feedback

There is nothing worse than abstract feedback. An employee should know exactly what you mean when delivering feedback.

Starting a conversation

A review should be an opportunity to start a conversation and build a bridge for further communication. You will likely assess the same employee in the future. And you need to establish some common ground to do that.

Into the future

A performance review should always focus on the future. An employee review is a process offering some insights into how a person can become a better performer in the future. That is why employee reviews are upheld continuously.

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.

Why conduct performance reviews?

Highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability. The most successful businesses make employee engagement a core business strategy value. Highly engaged employees come to work each day involved, passionate, present and energetic. 

Increasing employee engagement can be achieved with regular check-ins and feedback. Actually, 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback once a week. 

Performance reviews are an important way to promote professional development within a company. They allow employees to be recognized. In fact, 37% of employees say that they feel more encouraged to produce better work if they receive more personal recognition. 

Here are a few principal reasons why these evaluations are vital for creating a symbiotic business environment:

  1. Allow for suggestions

The first step is to create an environment that promotes open conversation and feedback between all employees and management. During regular reviews, a business gives its employees a platform to voice their opinion and make suggestions regarding their work.

This is important because four out of ten employees receiving little feedback reportedly disengaged from their work. 

Constructive feedback is all about providing useful observations, guidance, or suggestions for the recipient's work. As a result, people may become faster, improve behaviors in the workplace and gain fresh insights. 

  1. Enhance performance

When employees are aware of company expectations, they are more likely to perform according to goals and standards. This is where performance evaluation comes to play. It ensures that everyone is on the same page as they all work toward a similar objective. 

Productivity is enhanced in 12.5% of staff after being reviewed by management. The best performing staff and the staff that may be lacking in some areas need evaluation to live up to their true potential in a workplace. 

  1. Deliver guidance for improvements

Performance reviews often reveal that not all employees are up to par regarding their work. Identifying team members and areas of work that should be improved is only half the battle. 

After recognizing any weak spots in a business, it is essential to deliver guidance on how to refine these weaknesses. Lead staff in the right direction by laying out a clear and precise plan to polish their capabilities. 

  1. Determine training focuses 

Job training is a way to keep up with the constantly changing world of technology and business. Performance reviews help target the areas that need to be trained. Coaching a team with a specific skill set can prepare them for future projects.

Quality development can provide the tools needed to equip a company and its workers for any challenges they may have. 

  1. Set goals 

Goal setting is fundamental for professional growth within a company. Choosing these goals and relaying them to employees is a key aspect of the performance appraisal system. Seeing eye to eye on all company goals — long and short-term — can skyrocket a business's success. 

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.

Wrapping Up

An effective performance review stems from a manager's ability to choose a proper template to meet the criteria of a certain scenario. These employee performance review templates from annual to peer reviews show how productivity and performance can be taken to another level.

Performance reviews bring the best results when employees have time to prepare for them. Besides, the reviews need to result in constructive and detailed feedback. It all depends on the quality of questions chosen for any particular template. While it can be a daunting task for the uninitiated, there are platforms that are ready to help.

Sign up now! And experience the true potential of a well-designed employee performance review template. 

FAQ: Performance Review Templates in 2023

What is performance review and why is it important?

A performance review is a way for managers to assess the work of their employees and highlight areas that can be improved in the future.

This systematic process objectively measures an employee's achievements over a certain period. Evaluations involve recognizing people’s strengths and weaknesses, supplying them with feedback and helping them set future performance goals.

What should I say in a performance review?

Often, it is all about explaining your experience in the workplace. Mention any concerns you might have or any questions that arise. Managers and employers often need an employee output to understand which workflows to change. In addition, speak about your strengths, and indicate how you used them in particular situations. 

How should you rate yourself on the performance review?

It is paramount to rate yourself objectively. Any deviation or unfair rating thwarts the output and makes feedback inapplicable to your particular scenario. The rating scale for a review is from 1 to 10. Never try to cheat on a performance review, namely because it will bear adverse effects for you in the long run. 

Why do managers hate performance reviews?

It would be reasonable to say that employees and managers might dislike performance reviews using incorrect instruments and approaches. If managers don’t rate employees objectively, employees hate that. In turn, when managers need to deliver some feedback requiring improvements, the ones that might hurt employees’ feelings, the reviewer will then dislike the review process.

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 tool 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

What are examples of performance evaluation?

Here is an example of a performance evaluation:

"Mark has been one of the most diligent content editor team members. He performs exceptionally well under time pressures and adapts to the project's needs. He always communicates his concerns promptly to get quick outcomes, and he consistently motivates the rest of the staff.

He monitors the quality of his work and is highly analytical. Consequently, he is continually bettering himself. Currently, my biggest concern is whether he will be able to handle more significant tasks."

Clearly, for a manager's performance evaluation to be effective, they must present and coordinate it professionally, ensuring that the negatives do not overshadow the positives. This demonstrates the manager's leadership abilities and the employee's annual performance.

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