Performance Management Template + Examples for Better Reviews

No matter what side of the table you're on, performance reviews can be anxiety-inducing. For employees, poorly conducted reviews introduce ambiguity and job dissatisfaction. Managers, too, may struggle with delivering feedback effectively. 

The right employee performance review templates overcome these issues by providing a clear framework for meaningful and effective evaluations. These review forms also systematise the process and help eliminate inconsistent standards – a leading cause of ineffective reviews as reported by Psychology Today.*

To kickstart your reviews, we’ve shared a tried and tested template below, along with tips to guide your review process. By the end of the article, you should have the insights you need to hold reviews that boost employee performance and growth.

Employee performance review template 

Save time with a ready-to-use employee performance review template. The template is flexible and can be used for any review period, including annual, quarterly, or monthly performance reviews. The template is designed to help you:

  • Organise and deliver structured reviews

  • Provide consistent and actionable feedback to all employees

  • Ensure greater employee engagement and satisfaction

  • Define better goals to improve performance

Types of performance reviews

Performance reviews can be tailored to fit the needs of companies and employees. Whether conducted annually, semi-annually, quarterly or after specific projects, these different review formats offer unique benefits. Choose a review type based on how often performance reviews are required.

Sales teams, for instance, might benefit from regular performance feedback and check-ins. Teams focused on consistent long-term goals may benefit from longer review cycles.

1. Annual performance review

Annual performance reviews often provide the most comprehensive overview of an employee's performance. As the name implies, these reviews track performance over the entire year.

They are best for setting long-term goals, discussing overall progress and planning for future development.

2. Semi-annual performance review 

Performed twice a year, semi-annual reviews allow for more frequent performance evaluations while still providing ample time for employees to work toward achieving new goals. 

These reviews are valuable for adjusting goals mid-year, addressing any emerging issues and ensuring continuous improvement. 

3. Quarterly performance review 

Quarterly performance reviews offer regular and timely feedback, helping employees stay on track with their goals. 

This format is best for fast-paced work environments where frequent assessments help employees address performance issues and keep pace with shifting priorities.

4. Project performance review

Project-based reviews evaluate employee performance at the end of a specific project. 

This format is ideal for roles that are project-driven, leading to targeted feedback on the skills and outcomes related to the completed project. The information gained from these reviews helps with planning future projects, too.

Manage employee performance

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The performance review process

The most effective employee evaluations follow a systemic approach that creates an accurate and clear view of performance. While not all reviews follow the same process, many will include the following steps:

1. Plan: This initial stage involves setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals. Clear objectives are defined, creating a roadmap for employees to follow.

2. Monitor: Feedback and check-in sessions are held throughout the review cycle. Continuous monitoring enables managers to track job performance and provide support as needed.

3. Review: At the end of the review cycle, managers evaluate employee performance against set goals. This stage involves a detailed analysis of achievements, any challenges faced and overall performance.

4. Rate: Employees are assessed and rated based on job performance. Achievement is recognised, new goals are set, and improvement areas are identified. Performance rating scales can be used to determine rewards and career development plans.

What should be addressed in the job performance review process? 

To be comprehensive, performance reviews must look beyond pure performance evaluations and provide helpful feedback and a roadmap for employee development. 

Following a holistic approach leads to more meaningful conversations while also encouraging employee engagement and buy-in. With this in mind, consider developing your reviews so they cover the following areas.

Overview of employee’s performance

A key part of managing performance is keeping track of previous evaluations. Having a clear idea of an employee’s past performance history will help you identify whether improvements or strides have been made. This ensures continuity and acknowledges the employee's growth and development. 

Align career goals with business goals

When employees are unengaged, they’re likely to ask questions like: “Does the organisation care about the work I do?” If you’ve ever asked that question, you know what it’s like to feel undervalued.

To prevent employees from feeling this way, it's essential to align personal career goals with business goals. When employees see that their performance and development are tied to business success, and see how their daily work has an impact. 

In your performance reviews, discuss each employee’s goals and connect them with the business. Then create development plans that tie personal aspirations back to business needs. 

Provide the employee with constructive feedback 

A rating scale is a helpful tool to enable managers to provide consistent and constructive feedback to all employees. A five-point rating system, for instance, rates employees according to how ‘Poor,’ ‘Below Average,’ ‘Good,’ ‘Very Good,’ or ‘Outstanding’ they perform in certain areas. 

However, rating scales are only valuable when paired with meaningful feedback and clear next steps for improvement. In other words: A rating should initiate a discussion, not conclude it. 

Once engaged in an open dialogue, managers and employees can determine how core competencies can be utilised in the business's best interest.

Address career development 

Supporting your employees to improve performance and develop in their careers is critical to retaining top talent

Put a structured plan in place to help employees achieve their career goals. The plan should pinpoint development opportunities such as training programmes, workshops, and stretch assignments. As part of this plan, set actionable steps and timelines to support the employee’s growth. 

Then, schedule regular check-ins to discuss progress and adjust goals as needed. If capacity allows, provide additional mentorship and coaching to further support your employees on their career paths, and encourage them to set personal milestones and take ownership of their development. 

Provide opportunities for improvement

If an employee is struggling, a performance improvement plan (PIP) can be implemented. A PIP outlines specific areas of concern, sets clear performance expectations and includes defined goals. It should provide actionable steps the employee needs to take to improve performance. 

The plan should also offer support mechanisms such as regular check-ins, mentorship, and access to training resources. 

By setting a timeline for achieving PIP goals and providing consistent feedback, the improvement plan ensures the employee is clear on what to do to improve their performance. 

Improvement plans can also be implemented for employees who are meeting expectations, but who want to excel further. 

Ask about employee satisfaction

Getting honest feedback during a one-on-one performance meeting can be challenging. Employees may feel put on the spot, especially if they need to balance their honest feelings with being diplomatic.

Side-step this issue by giving employees a self-evaluation form to complete in their own time. The evaluation form should help them assess their performance and express any unmet career expectations. 

Self-assessments promote open communication and address dissatisfaction, ideally, before it impacts morale and productivity. 

Safeguarding employee satisfaction is particularly important for remote-first roles as limited, online-only contact can lead some employees to feel isolated from the organisation. 

List next steps

At the end of a performance review, outline clear next steps that you will use for tracking progress and setting goals for the next review period. This ensures accountability and provides a roadmap for future performance evaluations. Here’s a list of steps to include.

  1. Set specific goals: Define clear, achievable goals aligned with personal and business objectives. 

  2. Action plan: Develop a detailed action plan outlining steps to achieve these goals. If professional development goals are identified, include steps on managing training and development.

  3. Regular check-ins: Schedule regular follow-up meetings to monitor progress.

  4. Support and resources: Identify any necessary training, tools or resources required for success.

  5. Feedback mechanisms: Establish a system for ongoing feedback and adjustments.

  6. Timeline and milestones: Create a timeline with specific milestones to track progress and celebrate achievements.

  7. Documentation: Ensure all goals, plans and feedback are documented for reference in future reviews.

Better training management

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Performance review examples

Five-point grading system example

A five-point grading system is a straightforward way to evaluate employee performance. The system uses a scale from 1 to 5 to rate various aspects of an employee’s work such as:

  • Job knowledge

  • Skills

  • Quality of work 

  • Productivity

  • Dependability

  • Cooperation

  • Initiative 

  • Leadership

Rating each aspect provides a window into the performance of an employee's core competencies. Combining the scores gives an overview of their entire performance. 

Here’s an example of how the system could be used in your reviews, focusing only on the ‘job knowledge.’

Criteria

Job Knowledge

1: Unsatisfactory

Lacks understanding of job requirements

2: Below expectations

Limited understanding of job requirements

3: Meets expectations

Adequate understanding of job requirements

4: Exceeds expectations

Good understanding of job requirements

5: Excellent

Exceptional understanding of job requirements

Rating and comments

[Add rating and additional context here]

Developmental performance review example

Unlike traditional performance reviews that focus primarily on evaluating past performance, developmental reviews emphasise future growth and development. This approach helps employees feel valued and supported.

Talking points to address

  • Short-term career goals (1–2 years): Discuss immediate objectives and what the employee hopes to achieve in the short term. This could include mastering specific skills or completing certain projects.

  • Long-term career goals (3–5 years): Explore the employee’s broader career aspirations and where they see themselves in the future. This might involve moving into a leadership role or transitioning to a different department.

  • Desired future roles or positions: Identify specific positions or roles the employee wants to pursue. Help identify a clear career path, with steps to reaching those positions.

Plan for development

  • Courses and learning opportunities: Recommend relevant training programs, workshops or certifications to help the employee acquire skills and knowledge.

  • Mentoring needs: Suggest finding a mentor within the organisation who can provide guidance, share experiences and offer valuable insights to help the employee grow.

  • Stretch projects: Assign challenging projects that push employees out of their comfort zone and help them develop new capabilities. These projects should be aligned with their career goals and interests.

360-degree feedback review example

360-degree feedback reviews help you source insights on an employee’s performance from the people they work most closely with. With feedback from various perspectives, you gain a more holistic view of their work.

These reviews are suitable when evaluating performance for most roles. Feedback can be drawn from supervisors, peers, direct reports, customers and self-assessment. 

Peer feedback is often anonymised so colleagues can freely share their perspectives. 360-degree evaluations can take many forms – with many combining with the five-point grading system explored above. 

Example questions for your 360-degree reviews

These six open-ended questions are designed to capture specific details about an employee’s performance:

  1. What would you say are this person’s strengths?

  2. What should they start doing?

  3. What should they continue doing?

  4. What should they stop doing?

  5. What are three words you would use to describe this team member?

  6. What’s an area you’d like to see this employee improve?

Wrapping up the performance management and evaluation process

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An intentional and organised approach to performance appraisals is key to maximising value from your performance review process. By using structured templates and applying the right review methods, you can transform your performance reviews into powerful tools for development and engagement.

At Personio, we offer an all-in-one HR platform that streamlines and standardises the entire employee experience. From onboarding to development, we've supported many organisations in managing their employees effectively and efficiently.

For more insights on our solution, check out how we helped Bundl create a single source of truth for all their HR needs.

Or, if you’ve got any questions, then please get in touch. We can talk about how our solution can help solve your unique challenges.

*What’s Wrong With Performance Reviews?, Psychology Today

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