Employee evaluation forms are documents that give structure to your employee management and feedback process. These may be used regularly for annual performance reviews or as needed for performance improvement.
Having a well-structured performance review template is important to ensure that you hit all necessary points for improvement while avoiding any issues of discrimination. Besides that, it allows you to record the conversation a supervisor has with their employee regarding performance.
To help you out, we’ve created some generic templates depending on the nature of your employee’s role. This article will also cover what to include in your templates, along with some tips on how to get the most out of your employee evaluations.
Downloadable Performance Review Templates
You may use slightly different templates depending on the specific role or type of employee. Click through the tabs below for free downloadable templates for hourly and salaried workers, managers, and executives.
Show employees your templates in advance. Not knowing what to expect can bring anxiety. By showing your employees the template you use for performance reviews, they’ll know what to expect both in the format and on the topics you’ll discuss. Removing surprises makes for a more relaxed and productive conversation.
Key Sections for Your Performance Review Forms
When deciding what items should be on your evaluation form, ask the following questions:
- Who is performing the review? Depending on the relationship between the employee and evaluator, different questions or attributes may be measured. Some options for evaluators include managers, subordinates, and peers.
- What skills are you evaluating? Your company may be interested in a straight evaluation of goals or a broader evaluation of values or competencies. What you are evaluating will determine much of the content in your form.
- What kind of rating skills do you want to use? Many companies use a number system to quickly compute overall ratings. Common scales are three-point and five-point ratings but other ratings such as yes or no are used as well.
Some key areas should be covered on all performance review forms. These include:
While the employee and manager’s name is essential for every evaluation form, you may also consider another unique identifier. Examples include badge number, employee identification number, and file number. Having another piece of personal information on the form not only allows you to account for an employee name change but will also help you input this information into your performance management system. Other personal information you should include is the date of review and job title.
Employee evaluation forms should begin with goal setting, as this will help direct your employee toward a particular objective. If you are not currently using a performance management system, include the employee’s goals and objectives for the period that you are evaluating. This is crucial to ensuring you grade your employees on stated performance objectives.
Best Practice: Be objective.
Subjective performance reviews must be a thing of the past. You have mountains of objective data to use in your reviews, so use it, and keep the reviews focused purely on items your employees have control over. A template will help you stay objective and focus on what matters.
There are multiple ways to tangibly rate an employee’s performance. Some options are listed below.
- Scales: Scales have you judge a worker’s performance from low to high based on numbers. Most common scales are three, four, or five points.
1 - Below expectations
2 - Meets expectations
3 - Exceed expectations
1 - Poor
2 - Below average
3 - Above average
4 - Excellent
1 - Does not meet expectations
2 - Meets expectations sometimes
3 - Meets expectations
4 - Exceed expectations sometimes
5 - Exceed expectations consistently
- Free Form: Some employers may prefer reviews written in long form, where the employee and manager may answer a list of questions or provide a written response to how well they believe they or their employee have performed throughout the year. These performance forms may make it harder to compare employees, but it does allow the opportunity to get more in-depth responses.
Having a place in your employee evaluation form for signatures is important for both sides to document the conversation. This helps avoid any issues or confusion in the future. The signatures do not indicate agreement with what was written about an employee, but simply represent an acknowledgment that the employee has received the form and had an opportunity to discuss the contents.
Optional Sections for Your Performance Review Form
The following sections are deemed to be optional because they don’t apply for every business, or your company may only want to review one of these items at a time.
For more information, check out our guide to performance management.
Employee Evaluation Forms Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why should I use a performance review template?
One of the most important reasons to use a performance review template is to avoid legal hazards. When you use an objective template, you’re more likely to avoid discrimination and rating employees differently for subjective reasons. Templates also help you back up your review with evidence, further reducing the chances of a discrimination charge.
Should I update my templates regularly?
Absolutely. As your performance review process changes, you add more employees in different roles, and the culture of your company changes, you’ll need to update your performance reviews. Set a reminder to at least check in on them annually.
How much detail should I leave on performance reviews?
Write as much as is necessary and nothing more. Make sure you’re conveying to the employee enough information so they understand where you’re coming from and how they can improve. Also, be sure to avoid any subjective or derogatory comments. While you’ll have a discussion with the employee, they may go back and look over their review multiple times. Make sure it’s something that leaves them with positive reinforcement.
What type of evaluation form is best?
It depends on many factors. Is your business fully remote? Are you a very small team? Do employees often interact with one another? Here are some common types of reviews and a brief description of each:
- 360: This review is often the most comprehensive and best used when your employees routinely work together. For each review, you’ll pick about three colleagues to provide some insight and answer a few questions about the employee you’re reviewing. Then take those comments and either use them directly as part of the peer feedback or make them more anonymous and integrate them into your review.
- Objective: This is a more modern review approach that evaluates employees based on joint objectives determined during the last review cycle. You’re only looking at the major objectives for the employee—things like completing the rollout of a new product or having fewer than five customer complaints per week. This type of review isn’t always recommended, as it focuses only on big-picture items and not day-to-day work.
- Grade: Most of our templates follow this. It’s best used when you can grade an employee on objective criteria. You must train reviewers on how you expect your grading system to work. Some companies want all employees to have five points, while others consider three as the median.
What if my company has never used performance reviews?
Then it’s time to update your processes. Employees need guidance, and one way they get that is through regular performance reviews. If you’re not giving employees feedback, they don’t know if they’re doing a good job and will seek other options.
Employee evaluations can be an integral part of employee management and a company’s overall success, as they help tie an employee’s performance to the company’s success. Using employee evaluation forms and performance review templates makes it easier to track company goals and employees’ performances over time.