An employee performance review is a meeting where a manager meets with an employee and evaluates that employee's performance in their job. It is a great time to take note of goals that have been met, tasks that have not been accomplished as expected, and the employee's strengths and weaknesses, among other specific job-related items. Employee performance reviews can be motivational, encouraging, and a great way to ensure team members are all focused on the goals that will drive the company forward. It is also a good time for managers to receive helpful feedback from individual team members.
Managers may use a number of tools or templates to guide their employee performance review sessions. The right performance review template can ensure the meeting goes smoothly and accomplishes key objectives.
What is a performance review template?
A performance review template is a starting point that managers can use to guide a performance review session. Some managers create their own because they know exactly what topics they want to cover during the review. Other managers follow a template that will help keep them focused. If they feel like something needs to be addressed that is not on the performance review template, they can add that topic. The template is there to make the review go smoothly, not to dictate exactly how the review must proceed.
Why use a performance review template?
Using a performance review template helps make the most of the review while taking some of the stress out of the meeting. It gives managers a way to give actionable feedback to the employee, express their performance expectations, and ensure the employee has the opportunity to provide feedback as well. Good performance review templates will assist in an honest conversation between manager and employee.
Many managers rely on performance review templates because they make their job a little bit easier. Effective managers know they don't have to reinvent the wheel (or the performance review process). Streamlining any repeated process is worth the effort in the long term.
What makes a good employee performance review template?
An effective employee performance review template will focus on the individual employee, providing a range of details about that person's specific work duties. To ensure the review is trackable over time, it should include key information, such as the date and whether it is a quarterly performance review, bi-annual review, annual review, etc. It should also include the reviewer's position and name.
Employee performance review templates usually have a rating system that allows the reviewer to put a value on key metrics, such as the employee's work ethic, attitude toward work, ability to work as part of a team, and so on. This gives the reviewer better insight into where the employee is doing well and where they can be encouraged to change or adjust.
A good performance review template also facilitates a discussion between the reviewer and the reviewee. It will probably include some open-ended questions that the reviewer can ask to gain feedback.
What are the steps in the performance review process?
Performance reviews look different from company to company, but they all usually have the same goal in mind. They are meant to give employees specific feedback on their work, encourage employee engagement, and allow managers to receive feedback from individual employees on a regular basis.
These are the basic steps in a typical performance review process. They will work for an annual performance review, a quarterly performance review, or any other performance evaluation you need to complete.
1. Prepare for the meeting.
To get ready for an effective performance review, the reviewer should look at previous performance reviews and any notes they have made concerning the employee.
Prepare for the upcoming performance review by noting anything that has changed, any achievements, goals that have been accomplished, and anything else notable. Detailed feedback on the core competencies of the employee's role, including praise for areas in which the employee exceeds expectations and constructive feedback for areas in which the employee's progress needs improvement.
If the reviewer has any questions for the employee, those can be written out in advance on the review sheet.
In some cases, the reviewer may not work closely with the employee and may not have firsthand knowledge to draw on. If that is the case, the reviewer should request feedback from managers who do know more about the employee, so the performance review can be as fair and relevant as possible.
2. Fill out the review template.
This should be done prior to the performance review. It will consist of rating the employee's performance and writing down any feedback. Actionable feedback is the best, so the employee can leave with a good idea of how to improve in the future.
For an effective review process, review the past performance of each of your direct reports, reflect on the professional development you've observed during the review period. Gather feedback on their technical skills, personal attributes related to their position, and the extent to which their work matches up with the core values of the team.
If there is a self-evaluation section for the employee to fill out, you can give that to the employee beforehand so it is ready by the time of the meeting.
3. Meet with the employee.
During the one-on-one meeting, the reviewer leads the discussion, usually beginning with a look at the employee's strengths and accomplishments and leading into the weaknesses and feedback about ways to improve.
It is very important that the reviewer does not do all the talking. The employee should feel comfortable enough to discuss their job, what they enjoy, what is a challenge, and so on.
4. Follow up.
If your company performs annual performance reviews, it can feel like a long time between reviews — especially if the employee doesn't get a lot of one-on-one time with the manager.
It's a good idea to follow up with the employee at a later date, perhaps to extend a conversation that occurred during the performance review meeting or to simply check in to make sure the employee felt like the review went well.
9 tips for an effective employee performance review
Want to make your employee performance reviews as effective as possible? Check out these helpful tips:
- Let employees know what to expect during a typical performance review meeting, so they can feel more prepared and less nervous.
- Keep a file of notes about each employee, so you can jot things down throughout the year and refer to them during the performance review.
- Prepare for the review in advance but not too far in advance. You want to have the review fresh in your memory during the meeting.
- Ensure that each employee review is done in private. Group employee performance reviews are not usually helpful, and they can create friction between employees.
- Focus on the positive. If something negative needs to be addressed, use specific, actionable language, so it feels less like an accusation and more like a way to improve.
- Put specific feedback in writing, so the employee can take it with them and refer to it in the future.
- Be honest, open, and authentic.
- Share your goals, so the employee understands how their job helps meet those goals. (Need help setting work goals? Check out this helpful article from Indeed.)
- Make it clear that ongoing feedback is good for the entire team, and you are happy to meet again if the employee has more feedback or questions about their job.
Simple performance review template
Performance review templates don't have to be complicated to be effective. While you will probably want to customize any stock template to fit your unique needs, it's always handy to have a starting point. Check out this simple performance review template that you can use as a guideline during your employee performance review process.
Date of Last Review
Work Attendance Statistics (Days at work, days on vacation, sick days, days during which the employee arrived late)
Ratings section, including an explanation of what the ratings mean.
- Organizational skills
- Ability to meet goals
- Quality of work
- Overall work ethic
- Communication skills
- Willingness to learn new skills
Self-evaluation section, which allows the employee to rate themselves. It can be a self-evaluation on the same things you rated the employee on above, or it can be simple questions, such as, "What have you accomplished since the last review?" and "How would you describe your strengths and weaknesses in your job?"
Manager evaluation section, which allows the employee to rate the manager.
Goals section, in which goals from the last review can be discussed as well as goals for the future. Short-term and long-term goals should be mentioned. These goals can also include questions about personal goals the employee has for professional development.
Obstacles section, in which the review can ask questions about specific obstacles the employee may face during the work day that could impede on reaching their goals.
Comments section, in which the reviewer can put in writing any specific feedback for the employee.
Overall performance score, which could be taken from the total ratings or could be a choice between Excellent, Good, Average, and Needs Improvement.
Performance review process FAQ
What is an employee performance review?
An employee performance review is a process in which an employer evaluates an employee's work performance and provides feedback to help the employee grow and improve in their role.
Why is it important to have an employee performance review?
Employee performance reviews are important because they provide employees with a clear understanding of their strengths and areas for improvement, as well as feedback on their performance. This helps employees set goals, grow professionally, and contribute to the success of the company.
How often should employee performance review take place?
The frequency of employee performance reviews varies depending on the company, but they are typically conducted annually, semi-annually, or quarterly.
Who is responsible for conducting employee performance reviews?
Employee performance reviews are typically conducted by a supervisor or manager who is responsible for overseeing the employee's work.
What should be included in an employee performance review?
An employee performance review should include a comprehensive evaluation of the employee's job performance, including their strengths, areas for improvement, and feedback on specific tasks or projects. The review should also include a discussion of the employee's goals and plans for future growth.
How can employee performance reviews drive results?
By providing clear, constructive feedback, employee performance reviews can help employees understand their performance and set goals for improvement. This can drive results by improving employee performance, increasing job satisfaction, and boosting morale, which can all contribute to the success of the company.
How can companies ensure that employee performance reviews are effective and fair?
Companies can ensure that employee performance reviews are effective and fair by using a consistent evaluation process, providing regular and ongoing feedback, and involving employees in the review process. It is also important to provide training for managers and supervisors to ensure that the review process is conducted objectively and fairly.
Get results using an employee performance review template
An employee performance review template is a great tool to help your review meetings go smoothly. They help managers provide effective feedback to employees, and they help employees understand how their performance is affecting the bigger picture. When managers and employees are on the same page, focused work can be accomplished. When goals are being met, employees are encouraged to work harder and achieve even more. When employees know their managers care about their day-to-day achievements and obstacles, they feel respected and will put more effort into their job. All these different aspects work together to drive real results in your company.
Get started on your employee performance review process using the above template as a guide. Change sections as needed to fit your needs. When your entire team collaborates, you'll see results.