Performance Management Templates for Effective Reviews

Employees are the lifeblood of any organization. Their contributions allow management to focus on individual tasks and streamline operational efficiency in a transparent, trusting manner. But beyond check-ins, follow-up emails, and quick one-on-one meetings, measuring employee job performance isn’t always straightforward. More significantly, top-level managers who don’t interact with employees on a daily basis can find evaluations even more taxing — especially after notable productivity dropoffs or lackluster performance.

However, the issue doesn’t always lie with company-wide policies, management principles, or even employees themselves. Oftentimes, organizations struggle with performance management — or the ability to maintain or improve employee performance over time.

This common pitfall underscores the inability of organizations of all sizes to jump-start the overall performance of employees, apply goal-setting initiatives, or bolster an employee’s career development.

If your performance management is lagging, employee performance reviews should be at the forefront of your plans for change. But you also might need a bit of help. That’s where performance management templates come into play.

By using a performance management template, every worker receives a fair performance evaluation that uses the same metrics, providing a uniform, unbiased approach. Armed with these performance management templates, you have a guide that can propel your staff to greatness, self-improvement, and ultimately, a better organization overall.

What Are Performance Management Templates?

A manager giving a performance review to an employee in a casual setting

A performance management template — also known as a performance review template — is a document that appraises the performance of each team member in an organization. These uniform templates provide assessments of individuals with the goal of providing feedback, creating goals for the future, and identifying employee strengths, and weaknesses.

Your performance management template acts like a rating scale or rating system, allowing you to provide unbiased reviews based on core competencies. Some examples of topics listed on many performance management templates include, but are not limited to:

  • Attendance and punctuality
  • Productivity
  • Teamwork
  • Initiative and assertiveness
  • Ability to work autonomously or with co-workers
  • Self-evaluation or self-assessment of an employee’s own performance
  • Quality of work
  • Work ethic
  • Employee behavior
  • Accomplishments
  • The embodiment of a company’s core values
  • Overall performance rating

Note that performance management and evaluation templates aren’t just for tenured employees. As part of the onboarding process for managers and employees, new hires can learn more about the review process and what to expect during a performance review.

What Grades Should I Use on a Performance Management Template?

The rating system within a performance management template is entirely your choice. You can have a rating scale from 1-5 or 1-10, or you can use a simpler written format using “meets expectations,” “exceeds expectations,” or “needs improvement.”

The idea behind these ratings is more about providing a fair, unbiased assessment rather than an academic-style grading system. Use whatever’s easiest for you or other managers while still having the ability to convey messages of praise or constructive criticism.

How Does a Performance Management Template Actually Help the Employee?

Two women in the middle of a performance review

Grading an employee on their performance is helpful for management and internal purposes. But when used wisely, it can also benefit the employee.

Following a performance appraisal through the template, employers can:

  • Offer constructive feedback
  • Discuss career aspirations
  • Contemplate areas of improvement
  • Create a career development plan and/or performance improvement plan
  • Set OKRs or SMART goals
  • Have a two-way conversation to alleviate concerns, build trust, and inspire employee engagement

Consider that a recent PwC survey of employees demonstrated that around 75% of respondents deemed feedback a valuable tool. With all of the information laid out in front of them, employees have a tangible doc that they can use as a guide. This, in turn, can lead to employee development, and more importantly, employee growth within the company.

What Should I Include in a Performance Management Template?

You can easily tailor any performance management template to suit your performance review style and what you aim to achieve. However, you want to avoid any sort of ambiguity or lack of clarity. Ensure that every portion of your employee evaluation form has a concrete meaning, facilitates a clear line of communication between management and direct reports, and encourages action.

4 Performance Management Templates To Improve Performance

Regardless of the size of your company and how many employees you have, these performance management templates can organize and streamline your performance review process. From simple performance review templates to more involved options and supplementary templates, here are some templates that you can tweak and apply instantly to your performance assessment process.

1. Simple Performance Management Template

Sometimes, simple is better than complex. This is especially true for newer companies aiming to improve individual and team performance with little experience in the area. Try this template on for size if you’re just beginning your review process.

Employee Name:

Position Held:



Individual Characteristics (using your grading system):

Quality of Work:

Communication Skills:

Independence/Autonomous Work:

Honesty & Integrity:


Work Ethic:


Technical Skills:

Soft Skills:

Overall Body of Work:


Has the employee reached the goals set for them during the prior review period?

Goals that the employee should strive to achieve during the next review period:

Comment Section:

Approval & Signatures of Both Parties:

2. Goal-Based Annual Performance Review or Mid-Year Performance Review

If you’re not a fan of a rating system, this mid-year or annual performance review template is probably a better option. Rather than grading your employee, you’re simply putting forth achievements and goals, how the employee reached them, and what they can do to improve upon them in the future.

Employee Name:



Achievement/Goal #1:

Highlights or Examples of Strong Performance in Goal #1:

Necessary Areas of Improvement for Goal #1:

Future Goals or How To Build Upon a Similar Achievement in the Future:

Signatures of Both Parties:

Repeat this same idea for all goals. If necessary, put this into a table format with rows and columns for easier organization

3. The Two-Way Conversation Employee Performance Review Template

If you want to build on your performance review with conversation, this performance management template should do the trick. You can still use ratings and show them to your employees, but follow-up questions are essential.

Again, you can tweak it to your liking, but the goal is to have open-ended questions, pose ideas of how the employee can excel in the future, and let them know that you’re there to help them along the way.

Employee Name:



After showing them their ratings, pose a few of these questions or statements:

1. What were your highlights over the past review period?

2. How could you have improved or worked more efficiently in the past review period?

3. Do you have any goals moving forward?

4. How do these goals align with company values?

Moving Toward the Future:

1. How can I (as manager) help you toward goal achievement?

2. What resources do you need to help you achieve your goals moving forward?

3. What metrics can we use to track your progress?

4. How can we make you feel more successful or inspire you to achieve your goals?

Signatures & Approval:


4. Performance Management Template With More Frequency

One of the major differences between hands-on performance management and regular reviews is meeting regularity. Performance management requires more check-ins and one-on-ones to ensure that an employee is happy, motivated, and meeting goals.

As a result, more frequency means a more streamlined template. It’s not nearly as long, yet still provides open discussion and communication.

Employee Name:

Reviewer Name:


1. How is your personal progress on your current project?

2. Do you feel engaged at work? What can I do to motivate you further?

3. What concerns do you have about meeting your goals?

Following this simple checklist, you can also implement a performance improvement plan. This plan sets mini-goals instead of a lofty goal, which can encourage the employee rather than hinder their performance.

Supplementary Materials for Performance Reviews

A man and a woman in a more formal performance management review

A strong, well-crafted performance management template should do lots of heavy lifting on its own, but supplementary review templates can aid you in the evaluation process. Peer review evaluation forms and self-evaluation forms help you gather even more intel and act as a point of comparison that eliminates any subconscious bias.

A peer review evaluation form acts as a supplementary guide to your own assessments as a manager. This can provide valuable insight into an employee’s performance, especially if you have new employees and haven’t worked with them regularly.

An employee self-evaluation or performance review form also creates value for each individual. This form mandates a bit of self-reflection for an employee, albeit in a positive manner. Through self-evaluation, employees can identify their strengths and weaknesses, make a plan for improvement, and encourage personal growth.

It also acts as a sort of cheat sheet for managers, providing insight into the minds of employees, helping them if necessary without the need to micromanage, prepping them for their next performance review, and identifying those who are suitable candidates for future promotions.

Performance Management Templates Are Just Part of a Successful Management Approach

Performance management templates aren’t just for large corporations. When practically applied, they’re a valuable tool that can aid small businesses and startups in onboarding and retaining the best available talent.

But like almost anything else in business, they’re only one part of the equation. Mentoring, leadership coaching, and professional development are all vital to the success of your employees, and your understanding of each is equally crucial.

If you want to build upon performance management in an active and enthralling manner, Unicorn Labs offers retreats, coaching, and training in a fun and exciting atmosphere. Each is fully customizable to your operations and budgets, adding the coup de grace to your management approach.

Build upon your fresh performance management with this hands-on approach through Unicorn Labs. You might just find that it’s the link that your business has been missing.

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