Performance Review Template: A New Approach

Regular vs. Annual Performance Review Process

Like anything else in business (or in life), if something isn’t done properly, it can cause more harm than good — and performance reviews certainly serve as an example of this. According to a Gallup Poll, only 14 percent of employees feel that their performance review inspires them to improve at their job. And arguably, the key to this disparity is in the word “annual.” Toward this end, we’ve created a performance review template that covers the essential questions you need to ask during standard performance reviews, ideally on a regular basis instead of annually.

Essentially, a performance review is a conversation that takes place to benefit the employee as well as the company — and for that reason alone, these conversations should be held on a regular basis. By delivering constructive feedback to employees throughout the year, you’re showing positive interest and involvement in their performance. A performance review should be a healthy part of the employee mentoring process, and should be viewed as an expression of continued support. Additionally, when conducted properly, an employee review can improve employee engagement and positively impact the company culture.

Performance Review Template

Universal Employee Performance Review Template To Fit Your Needs

This employee review template lists universal questions that can apply to any type of industry or workplace; and it can also be adapted to include more-detailed job specifics. If you decide to use this as an annual review template, it’s important to remember that some questions might need to be modified from year to year, based on company goals and employee situations. Likewise, if you schedule several of these interviews per year, you can condense these questions to create a shorter review template that focuses more on specific projects your team is working on.

The Pre-Interview Questions for the Performance Review Process

We’ve broken down our employee performance review template into two sections. In this section, we’re putting the focus on you, the interviewer, by providing a list of helpful questions that you should ask yourself before each interview.

1. How can I achieve a collaborative mindset throughout the employee review process? (A collaborative mindset will help keep your questions focused on team efforts, as well as individual performance).

2. Have I thoroughly reviewed the company’s mission statement and core values?

3. Am I up to date on crucial HR practices and protocols?

4. Have I thoroughly assessed all relevant information about this employee’s past-year performance?

5. What goals do I need to set for this employee, or for this employee’s team?

In addition to asking yourself these questions, you should set a scheduled time for the next performance review and communicate this to your employees. This sets a time frame during which their performance improvement goals can be met.

In this next section, our annual performance review template provides a list of essential questions to ask during your one-on-one employee interviews. These questions should always focus on collaborative as well as individual efforts and goals.

Universal Performance Review Question Ideas

Actual Interview Questions for Employee Review Template

In this section, we've divided the interview up into sections that are proven to be important for all effective performance reviews. These sections not only provide a thorough look into your employee's performance as a whole, but also show some of the best ways to help put the interviewee at ease by sparking constructive conversation. By using the following sections as your guide, your interview should end with both parties (the interviewer and interviewee) feeling heard, validated, and like the meeting was a success. 

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Reviewing Goals and Objectives From Last Year

1. How well do you think your team accomplished its goals this past year?

2. Do you feel that your team members supported you in reaching these goals?

3. Do you feel that your supervisors, and the company as a whole, were supportive as well?

4. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your progress this year in working with the rest of your team?

5. Can you name some specific contributions you made to your team this year?

Praise for the Employee’s Past Work Performance

This part of the performance review template doesn’t deal with questions, but instead emphasizes the impression that the employee has made on colleagues and supervisors throughout the year. This section of the performance review template should be modified to include specific projects, achievements, or growth opportunities.

For this section, comments can include the following topics:

1. Commendation for employee’s overall past performance during the year

2. Praise for the employee’s ability to work and collaborate with team members

3. Praise for the specific tasks in which the employee excelled during the year

4. Encouragement for the employee to continue to excel and specific feedback on the employee's strengths

Addressing Concerns or Problems

This is the time to deal with specific concerns about the employee, or the employee’s ability to work with team members. Once these concerns have been identified and discussed, it’s time to ask:

1. Do you feel that these concerns are a fair assessment?

2. Do you feel there are ways in which you can improve upon these performance issues?

3. Will you be able to elicit the help of your team members in addressing these issues?

4. Can you move forward from this discussion with a more-informed approach on these issues?

Brainstorming Solutions for Problems Incurred

1. Do you have any ideas for solutions in improving these issues?

2. Can your team members provide the solutions you need?

3. Are there things that your supervisors, or the company, can do to provide these solutions?

4. Are you confident that these solutions will make a positive impact on your job performance?

Introducing Training or Mentoring Options

1. Do you personally feel that there are any areas for improvement in your work performance?

2. Have you considered taking any training courses in these specific areas?

3. Do you feel that your supervisors can mentor you in these areas, or in other issues where you would like more training?

4. Are there any leadership training courses that you would like for the company to provide in the future?

Goals and Objectives For the Coming Year

1. How optimistic are you and your team about this coming year?

2. Does your team have a set objective of viable goals for next year?

3. Do you and your team feel that you can realistically meet these goals?

4. Are you in agreement with the rest of your team about how these goals can be accomplished?

Overall Employee and Team Goals

1. Have you set any personal job performance goals for yourself for the following year?

2. Will your team members be able to help you meet those goals?

3. Is there anything that your supervisors, or the company as a whole, can do to help you meet those goals?

4. Do you feel that the company, and your team, will continue to support your personal performance goals for the coming year?

5. Going forward, are there ways in which you feel the company can provide more help, or more positive support for you or your team?

Successful Employee Performance Reviews

Whether you decide to use this as an annual performance review template, or use it instead to create a condensed employee review template to follow throughout the year, these basic questions should give you a thorough assessment of employee performance issues, as well as levels of motivation among your employees. Likewise, when conducted regularly, an employee performance review can also alert you to any concerns that your employees may have about themselves, their colleagues or the company itself.

When adopting this template for employee performance reviews, remember that the ultimate goal of any performance review is to not only improve individual employee skills, but also motivate employees to contribute more as a team member. Toward that end, an employee performance review should be viewed as a collaborative assessment that focuses on the value an employee brings to the company — while making that employee feel valued and getting employee feedback as well.

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About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

With over 25 years in the industry, and now as IRI's Director of Business Development, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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