1. What is a performance review?
Performance review is a systematic process during which managers or HR leaders assess employees’ accomplishments to identify their strengths and weaknesses while assisting them with goal setting and communicating future expectations for the job.
- Leaders use this process to motivate employees, drive their professional growth, and clarify roles, responsibilities, and accountability in the workplace.
- Employees use the performance review results to reorient their energy towards accomplishing the company’s mission and vision.
There are five key pillars to a successful performance review:
- Frequency: In the current business environment, creating a performance culture in the workplace is crucial. You cannot evaluate the performance of your employees once every few years and expect things will go in the desired direction. Instead, measure your workforce performance annually, bi-annually, or quarterly.
- Set SMART goals to track and measure employees’ progress. Clear, SMART goals, meaning Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, can determine your workforce’s areas of improvement and what they should focus on in the future to align their performance to the broader company priorities.
Goals should be written with clarity to indicate what you intend to do.
Goals should be qualifiable so that you have actual data that you have met your objectives.
Goals should be attainable; they should stretch you little enough that you feel challenged but are well-defined and sufficient to achieve them.
Goals must be achievable and realistic with available resources.
Goals should have a well-defined schedule, including a start and finish date.
- A rating system: Most companies use a five-point grading system for evaluating their employees’ performance. It is crucial to tie enough explanations to each rate so that employees know what they did well and what is expected of them to move up a grade.
- Strengths: Don’t let your employees’ strengths go unnoticed. Use the performance review process to praise your team member’s unique skills, such as problem-solving, attention to detail, and communication skills, and encourage positive behaviors.
- Weaknesses: The performance review period is an excellent opportunity to address any weaknesses and areas of growth. Avoid criticism; instead, include constructive feedback and assist your team members in gaining first-hand insights into where they have room to develop. Provide a wide range of training to build a stronger team and improve its morale.
2. How to prepare for the performance review meeting?
With proper preparation, performance reviews are excellent tools for managers and employees to gauge performance, set goals, and address areas of development.
Preparing for the performance review allows both parties to clarify expectations, revise their assessments, and prepare feedback.
As an Employee
- Familiarize yourself with your company’s performance review process (frequency, format, guidelines).
- Collect evidence and results to highlight your accomplishments since the last
- performance review.
- Think about your expectations and consider your future career goals.
- Prepare to ask questions, receive, and provide feedback.
As a Manager
- Gather feedback from those working closely with the employee being reviewed.
- Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and other available data sources to evaluate the employee’s work objectively.
- Prepare to answer potential questions, address sensitive topics, and give honest feedback.
- Establish areas of improvement and provide clear and specific suggestions and solutions for performance improvement.
3. What is a performance review template?
A performance review template is a structured document or form used by organizations to assess and evaluate an employee’s job performance, skills, accomplishments, and areas for development. It typically includes predefined criteria and rating scales to provide consistency and objectivity in the evaluation process.
If you want to build a strong performance review process, you need a solid bedrock. The performance review template is the foundation of this process.
The template serves as a framework for managers or supervisors to provide feedback, set goals, and discuss performance-related matters with employees during formal performance review meetings.
There is no one-size-fits-all template for all the reviews. The various types of templates differ depending on what goal you aim to achieve following your evaluation.
4. What should you include in your performance review template?
Crafting a performance review template can be overwhelming. Each organization is trying to do something unique: a simple and intuitive template that covers all you need.
You can customize your performance review templates (check our next chapter for examples), but each form must include the following:
- Employee’s name and ID
- Job title
- Reviewer’s name and title
To track your employee evolution over time, it is essential to include a time frame in your performance review template (annual, bi-annual, or quarter) and the date when the review takes place.
When rating your employee’s evolution over a specific time, you must explain what each rating stands for.
Overall Employee’s Performance Rating Scale
Performance is exceptional
The employee shows extraordinary commitment in their role. The results are outstanding regarding work quality, quantity, and timeliness. Employees’ contributions have a high positive impact on the company’s bottom line. The employee exhibits excellent skills, knowledge, creativity, and initiative in all areas of responsibility. They serve as a role model true to our mission and values.
Performance Exceeds expectations
The employee exceeds work quality, quantity, and timeliness expectations. They exhibit mastery in most areas of responsibility, significantly contributing to the company’s bottom line and serving as an excellent example of our mission and values.
Performance meets expectations
Performance meets established expectations regarding work quality, efficiency, and timeliness in areas of responsibility. The employee exhibits proficiency and achieves critically set goals. Their behaviors are consistent with our mission and values.
Performance is below expectations
The employee’s performance fails to meet most established expectations, and/or one or more critical goals were not accomplished. Behavior may not be consistent with our company’s mission and values. Continued development and improvement are required to meet expectations successfully.
Performance is very unsatisfactory
Performance is constantly below minimum established expectations, and the employee fails to achieve reasonable progress toward critical goals. Behavior does not reflect our company’s mission and values. Significant improvement is needed in most areas of responsibility to meet expectations successfully.
Skills and goals
Include in your performance review template your employee’s particular skills and the goals they need to achieve.
Giving employees room to express additional comments is an excellent way to collect honest feedback and communicate challenging aspects of their job.
Date and signatures
Don’t forget to write down the performance review date and sign the template – you and the reviewed employee.
Employee Performance Review Templates
Use one of the following templates to assess your employees’ skills and workplace behaviors objectively.
Template 1: Simple Performance Review
A simple performance review focuses on employees' qualities, skills, and goals rather than numbers and scales. It provides clear context and perspectives about employees' performance.
A simple performance review is an excellent approach when you look for a basic yet efficient way to communicate your expectations and learn your employees' opinions and feedback.
Download the Employee Performance Review Template
Template 2: Quarterly Performance Evaluation
A quarterly performance review is essential for a company's continuous development strategy. A quarterly scheduled evaluation provides time and space for managers and employees to reflect on past projects and set milestones for the next three months.
Regular performance reviews help employees focus on short-term objectives by keeping them accountable and on the right track. Managers can use this tool to assess the worker's progress and identify areas of improvement and career growth opportunities.
Quarterly performance reviews are crucial for strengthening workplace relationships and maintaining high levels of employee engagement.
Download the Quarterly Performance Review Template
Template 3: Peer Performance Review
Peer performance review is a relatively new concept in the workplace and is gaining more attention due to its nature. It is a socially-based process of gathering feedback from the workers the employee has been working with and interacting with daily: colleagues, peers, or other managers.
Peer review captures first-hand outlooks of an employee's performance and behaviors while removing the biases that may occur from a single evaluation: the manager's. Peer performance reviews can give managers valuable insights about an employee's progress, skills, competencies, and ethics.
Download the Peer Performance Review Template
Template 4: Numerical Scale Performance Review
A numerical scale performance review takes a more quantitative approach. This form assigns a rating scale for employees' crucial skills and behaviors. Usually, the appraisal uses a 5-point descriptive scale, with five being outstanding and one being poor.
A numerical scale performance review is more practical and informative for employees when accompanied by additional comments and suggestions. For managers, it provides a clear image that helps them compare employee performance across teams, divisions, or the entire company.
Download the Numerical Scale Performance Review Template
Template 5: Mid-year performance review
When performed annually, the employee progress review may be tedious and prompt feelings of stress and anxiety.
Mid-year performance reviews give employees a roadmap for the next six months while they get guidance on overcoming obstacles and getting back on track with their goals.
At the same time, they are excellent tools for managers to continuously assess employee's progress, provide constructive feedback, and build engagement.
Download the Mid-Year Performance Review Template
Template 6: 90-Day Performance Review
The first 90 days in a new position are crucial for an employee to familiarize with the workplace environment and learn their roles, responsibilities, and company's culture. After this adjustment period, the direct manager should organize a one-on-one meeting with the new hire to evaluate their overall performance, work productivity, future goals, and expectations.
A 90-day performance review is an excellent opportunity for managers to get the new hire's feedback concerning any challenges met during the 3-months probationary period. They can also learn about any relevant aspects of the onboarding process and optimize the organization's hiring and onboarding procedures.
Related: You might be also interested about the 30 60 90 day plan and template.
Download the 90-Day Performance Review Template
Template 7: GOOD Performance Review
G.O.O.D. is an acronym for goals, obstacles, opportunities, and decisions. These are the four highlights of this type of performance review. They are the foundation of an open conversation between the manager and employee about what is working and what can be improved.
The G.O.O.D. performance review framework improves internal communication in the workplace, boosts employees' morale and trust, and allows people to express their concerns, opinions, and experiences.
Download the GOOD Performance Review Template
Template 8: Annual Performance Review
The annual performance review measures an employee's results and accomplishments over the past twelve months; it assesses past outcomes that can't change and focuses on the future, which employees can improve following more frequent one-on-one meetings throughout the year.
This traditional annual employee review is an efficient method to analyze an employee's long-term performance. Recently, most companies have replaced it with modern quarterly or monthly performance reviews. They are more collaborative and transparent, and performance review tools provide results based on rich and real-time employee data.
Download the Annual Performance Review Template
Regularly reviewing employees’ performance is essential for nurturing a motivated workforce. Creating and implementing a robust performance review strategy ensures a more productive work environment, where employees are encouraged to achieve their goals, and temporary performance slips are easily and fast fixed.
The performance review templates are the perfect tools for managers to remain objective when evaluating an employee’s progress and behavior.
A documented and transparent performance review process gives you guidelines and structure for honest feedback and open communication.