For companies and their employees to understand whether goals are being reached, and what areas require improvement, the performance review is an excellent tool. It helps to analyze a number of areas, offering suggestions for improvement and what future goals are attainable. Though some companies create their own review documents, many companies rely on performance review templates for this process.
Though initially strategized as a method for employee motivation, performance reviews have now become a stressful period of time, with many employees viewing the review as an intimidation tactic from managers.
However, while employees have cause to worry about their performance reviews, many don’t realize that even employers find the process extremely daunting. One of the reasons is the creation of the review document itself, but before we go into that, we should look at what performance reviews are and why there is such a negative perception about them.
What Is a Performance Review?
Performance reviews are a standardized assessment form that managers use to analyze the work of employees. Often called performance evaluations or appraisals, the reviews set out goals for employees so managers can establish how well they are reaching their targets.
These reviews are also used as a way to compare employees to each other so managers can understand who is performing higher, who needs more motivation, and whether there are errors being made that require correction.
Performance reviews are also a great way for managers and employees to engage with each other in a forum where both are open to discussion.
While performance reviews were fairly standard up until a few years ago, employers are now adapting their reviews for modern times. Though reviews are still used to set goals and targets, managers are also using them as an opportunity to enhance employee engagement.
Why Are Performance Reviews Feared so Much?
Performance reviews can often form the basis of promotions, or demotions, for employees, which is part of the reason why they are considered so stressful.
Additionally, sometimes employees feel that they are not being given a fair assessment. This is particularly true if there is a lack of communication between employees and managers for a significant period of time. If managers do not keep up an open line of communication, employees are likely to feel cornered during the review.
The major mistake that managers make when conducting reviews is to pass judgment on their employees’ performances. Aside from the fact that nobody likes being judged, especially when every employee believes they are doing more than their best, this attitude calls into question how the manager-employee relationship is being handled.
What many managers tend to forget is that though they may be at a higher level, they are still a part of a department or team. By judging their team members harshly, they are alienating those members, making it highly unlikely that they will perform better next time.
It is important for employers to organize training for their managers so that their management skills benefit the company and the employees that they work with. That is one of the chief ways to get the best out of the employee pool and make the performance review process comfortable for everyone involved.
Why Use Performance Review Templates?
One of the major causes of anxiety for managers, when it comes time to doing performance reviews, is adopting a format that can be used company-wide and for a number of years. This is best done through the use of templates as creating a form from scratch is a labor-intensive task.
As performance reviews need to be regulated and standardized, it is extremely important that the performance review template be heavily customizable so that it can be easily adapted for the needs of the organization, and sometimes, for each department or team.
Some of the key elements of a good performance review template are readability, employer branding, and clearly defined goals. But more than anything else, the template’s flexibility is what will make it a good option to use over time.
If you’re looking for the right template for your employee performance reviews, we have seven that will do a great job of putting your employees at ease while also motivating them.
1. Simple Review Template
The simplified review form works for smaller companies or businesses that aren’t overly focused on reaching targets, but more about keeping a record of employee progress. This kind of template is also useful for anyone conducting weekly reviews, as such review periods do not require large amounts of information to be shared and likely aim for smaller goals as well.
This simple performance review template is a straight-forward and minimalist form. It has five different areas where managers can include bullet points that briefly outline the review points. This is the kind of template that can be used in a variety of ways and is easily readable. The color can also be changed to better reflect the brand identity.2. Monthly Review Template
Monthly reviews are important for businesses that have short term goals that need to be assessed on a regular basis. By performing monthly reviews, there is a high chance of catching errors earlier and seeing more rapid improvement. Of course, the monthly review system may not work for everyone as it is a time-consuming process, and some companies simply do not need to assess their employees’ performances that often.
This monthly review template has more room than the simple template so as to add more detail. The template can also be adjusted to increase, or decrease, the length of the report, depending on how much information needs to be added. Note how the template gives managers the opportunity to share what they believe was the employee’s moments of excellence while having a smaller column for areas that can be improved. Because the review is about motivation, not bringing the employee down.
3. Quarterly Performance Template
Most organizations adopt the quarterly review format, with targeted goals set every quarter, at the end of which, sales reports, downloads, or percentages are analyzed and used as the basis to begin employee reviews.
The quarterly review thus has additional space for information. The columns are longer than the monthly review, giving managers more room to include the points that they feel employees need to know.
And, to further illuminate how well, or badly, the employee is performing, the template has a section that includes percentages. This is an excellent visual way for an employee to see how they are performing, and the explanations give further credence as to why the employee has received the numbers they have.
4. Annual Performance Template
The annual review is usually something that companies include alongside the monthly or quarterly reviews. This document will likely be collated from the year-round reviews to show the comprehensive achievements and required improvements, of the employee. This is why the annual report is not as detailed as the monthly or quarterly reviews – it is essentially a condensed version of the other reports.
This annual performance template thus expands on the simple style with larger rows, with each row being customizable depending on how much information the manager wishes to add.
5. Statistical Review Template
For managers who love statistics and more concerned about KPIs, the statistical review template is just what they need. As one can see from the below template, there are numbers assigned to not only the goals achieved by the employee but also to their personality and attitude.
This kind of review template is easy to understand at a single glance, but also has an area at the bottom of the form for the manager to add some comments. The colors are all customizable and the contrast makes the document easier to read.
6. Feedback Template
As opposed to the statistical template, the feedback focused template is all about the reviewer sharing their thoughts with the employee. There are no numbers or icons here, only text boxes waiting to be filled with critiques.
The feedback template is a good choice for employees who need some amount of engagement, the kind that cannot be achieved through numbers and charts. Blocks of text may not be the most convenient for managers to create but it could be the difference between an employee feeling motivated as opposed to feeling attacked.
7. Peer Review Template
Some companies have a peer review system where employees rate each other. This promotes healthy competition between the employees but also encourages people to be team players because, at the end of the day, if you give a colleague a bad review for no reason, it demonstrates to your manager that you aren’t a team player.
The peer review form is similar to those used by managers but leaves little room for expansive feedback, focusing more on numbers that can easily be calculated by the manager to add to their overall review.
Performance Reviews have become part and parcel of business life and though they can be stressful for everyone involved, if conducted correctly, reviews can foster stronger team relationships and help a company’s bottom line.
With these easy to use templates, performance reviews can become less of a hassle for managers. Even for employees, the simple yet cohesive forms will ease some of their concerns.
Because templates are highly customizable, they are the perfect choice for managers to use. Instead of having to create something from scratch, managers will have more time to spend with their team members and help them grow into the leaders they can be.