August 24, 2023

Top Employee Performance Review Templates for HR Managers

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Key takeaways

  • A number of performance management software solutions and brands offer complimentary, customizable performance review templates.
  • An effective performance review process leaves room for personal reflections; build space into review templates for employee self-evaluations.
  • Having a structured performance review template and process in place will ensure everyone stays on the same page about current production goals and future growth plans.

Aug. 24, 2023: We refocused the content to offer more valuable information about performance review templates and how to use them. We also provided information about what to include in a performance review template if you decide to create your own. Finally, we added linked resources for performance review templates and tools that support a smooth employee performance evaluation process.

Performance management software can simplify the review process. Browse top solutions in our Performance Management Software Guide to get started.

What is a performance review?

A performance review is a formal feedback process in which a manager monitors performance over a designated review cycle, assesses performance against preset goals and standards, and then discusses performance and future goals with a direct report. The reviews may occur monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or annually, but, regardless of their frequency, they should include formal documentation and individualized employee feedback.

What is an employee review template? 

An employee review template is a structured document or framework that managers and HR professionals can use to structure employee performance reviews. These templates can either be used as is or as a baseline for creating your own employee performance review template.

What are the benefits of a performance review?

Performance reviews help employees and their managers get on the same page about their performance, what’s going well, and where the employee is struggling. Managers have formal opportunities to coach and share constructive feedback with their employees, employees have a platform to voice concerns and questions, and both parties have space to discuss future growth, training, and professional development opportunities.

More on this topic: Why Is Performance Management So Important?

Performance review best practices

If your organization is just getting started with performance reviews, here are a few quick tips and best practices to consider:

  • Set goals before you begin, designing key performance indicators (KPIs) around company values, business goals, company goals, department goals, and individual goals based on job role.
  • Have regular informal check-ins (with documentation) leading up to formal reviews in order to build a culture of consistent performance appraisal and transparent feedback with direct reports.
  • Make reviews reciprocal, giving employees a chance to review themselves (or you) and share their thoughts on their progress, goals, and challenges.
  • Focus on the metrics that matter, and consider adopting a results-only work environment that rewards employee productivity appropriately.
  • Invest in performance management software to guide your processes.
  • Use performance review templates to consistently structure your reviews.

What to include in a performance review template

Performance review templates serve an important purpose: adding structure and standardized processes to reviews for all employees, ensuring everyone gets a fair chance to discuss their performance and opportunities for growth within the organization.

For teams that want to create performance review templates from scratch, regardless of industry or department, it’s important to include basic employee information, a clear scoring system, a self-evaluation, core competencies, quantitative KPIs or OKRs, qualitative feedback, future goals, and a signature section.

Employee information

Your performance review form should include space for the employee’s name, department, role, review period, and any other information that’s relevant for archival purposes.

Clear scoring system

Each evaluation category in your review template should require reviewers to give a quantifiable performance rating — one to five, for example. This makes it easier to standardize and compare performance across individuals, teams, and departments who are doing different kinds of work.

Self-evaluation

Employees should be given space to assess their own job performance during the past review cycle, highlighting any big wins, questions, concerns, and goals they have for the future. This is one of the most important parts of your performance review because it gives employees a chance to steer their own careers and communicate candidly with their managers.

Core competencies 

Core competencies will typically be role- or department-specific, covering all of the bases for what an employee must be able to do in order to succeed in their role. It’s important to customize this section; managers, individual producers, and interns will all have different core competencies that make sense for their positions, for example.

Quantitative KPIs or OKRs

Include KPIs and/or objectives and key results (OKRs) to judge how this individual, their team, and their department performed against specific goals during the review cycle. This is a necessary review component for judging employee productivity against the organization’s most important goals.

Qualitative feedback

Employees should be evaluated on qualities that are harder to quantify, such as communication skills, leadership skills, organizational skills, and how they measure up against specific company values. Though this part of the review template can be expressed through numeric scores, it’s important to leave room for comments and written feedback to contextualize the ratings.

Future goals

This area of the template should cover goals the manager has set for the employee as well as any goals the employee wants to accomplish before the next review cycle; these goals can focus on training and development and/or areas for improvement and development.

Signature and date

At the bottom of the template, designate space for a signature and date to make it easier to confirm the process has been followed and the review completed. Ideally, both the reviewer and the reviewee should sign off on the document.

Space for notes and unstructured feedback

Leave additional space for reviewers to leave comments for the reviewee if desired.

Space for updated financial and role information

Consider having a specific template area to denote any changes in role or compensation, including promotions, raises, and bonuses for that review cycle.

Continue reading about the importance of performance-based bonuses: How Performance Bonuses Help Avoid Bias and Increase Productivity.

Performance review templates and tools

If you’d prefer to get started with a performance review template from a trusted source, a number of HR leaders, software vendors, and job boards have designed review templates and resources that anyone can access.

Performance review template examples

Performance review templates can be found on their Evaluation forms page. Relevant templates include:

  • Employee Evaluation Form Template.
  • 360 Degree Feedback Form Template.
  • 90-Day Evaluation Form Template.

These templates take a survey-based approach. Relevant templates include:

  • Short Employee Performance Review Survey and Sample Question.
  • 360 Degree Review Survey Template.
  • Employee Self Assessment Survey Template.

SHRM is one of the largest professional HR organizations in the world. They have a number of HR forms and checklists that are relevant for performance reviews, including:

  • Performance Appraisal: Employee Review Form.
  • Performance Appraisal: Qualitative Evaluation Form.
  • Intern Evaluation Form.

The job site has put together 10 simple performance review templates. The templates include:

  • GOOD performance review.
  • Numerical scale performance review.
  • Mid-year performance review.

Smartsheet is primarily project management software, but it also includes a large library of templates. Its performance management templates include:

  • Employee Review Checklist Template.
  • Employee Objectives & Performance Review Template.

ClickUp is another project management solution that includes performance management templates in its template library. Relevant templates include:

  • Employee Action Plan.
  • Evaluation Report.
  • Quarterly Performance Review.

Performance management software examples

BambooHR’s performance management product includes manager and self-assessments, customizable performance review cycles, scheduled assessments, automated reminders, employee goal-setting, and status reports.

Learn more about BambooHR’s performance review tools:

PerformYard enables automated reviews, scheduled reminders, approval notifications, review form imports, and several review format options.

Learn more about PerformYard’s performance review tools:

Leapsome offers a review builder, best practice templates and frameworks, automated review cycles, skill profiles, people analytics, and cycle dashboards.

Learn more about Leapsome’s performance review tools:

Paylocity’s performance management module includes performance goal setting, text and video journals, customizable feedback forms, peer recognition, self-appraisal, and nine-box talent assessment templates.

Learn more about Paylocity’s performance review tools:

Want to browse other performance management tools? Explore our Performance Management Software Guide to find expert recommendations and a full catalog of top solutions.


Shelby Hiter Avatar

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Featured Partners

ClearCompany

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Conduct better reviews, increase feedback quality, and simplify review cycle management. ClearCompany Performance Management helps you implement an employee-first approach by shifting the focus of performance reviews from evaluation and ranking to employee growth and future potential. ClearCompany helps your company drive engagement and focus with goal-planning tools while increasing the value and reducing the workload of performance review cycles.

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Performance Pro

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Performance Pro is a customizable, user-friendly, automated performance management platform. Save time with our customizable libraries of content from competencies to tools that help managers leave more meaningful feedback & establish smart goals. Empower your employees to pursue their own professional development, retain your top talent, provide a sense of purpose with goal alignment to strategic objectives, & truly drive an increase in performance & achievement throughout your organization.

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Peoplebox

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Gen-AI powered platform for performance reviews, aligned goals (OKRs), 1:1s, surveys, KPIs, initiative management, strategic meetings and People Analytics.

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