Performance evaluation template, with examples and tips

Team Asana contributor imageTeam Asana
February 20th, 2024
10 min read
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Summary

A performance evaluation is a formal check-in process used to evaluate team members progress. Though evaluations can be stressful, a performance evaluation template can help standardize the process. When your team member knows exactly what you’ll be discussing, they’re able to prepare and have a more productive conversation. Plus, if you pair evaluations with goal-setting, you can focus the conversation not just on current impact but also on future goals. In this article, learn how a performance evaluation template can simplify and improve the feedback process.

Performance evaluations can bring up memories of when you were a new team member in the hot seat. The anticipation before each 1:1 meeting was likely stressful if you didn't know what the format would look like or what you'd talk about. But now that you’re a manager, you can see things from a different perspective and create a more positive experience. 

Performance evaluations are a valuable tool because they help provide structure and clarity to the feedback process. They’re also a great way to re-focus assessment experience on future goals, rather than past mistakes. In this piece, you’ll learn how to create a performance evaluation template, which you can pair with goal-setting software to support your team as they grow.

What is a performance evaluation?

A performance evaluation is a formal check-in process used to evaluate team members based on their past work and to give feedback for future success. Sometimes called a performance review, performance evaluations usually occur in quarterly, bi-annual, or annual cycles. 

During a performance evaluation, you’ll review each team member's overall performance and break down the competencies they aim to master. You and your employee will walk through specific examples of things your team member did well and areas where they have room for improvement. Some companies use virtual performance evaluation software, but you can also go through the process without using a dedicated HR management tool.

Performance evaluations as self-assessments

Performance evaluations are an opportunity for growth. They’re a chance to have a conversation about each team member’s impact and how they can move forward in their role. 

Oftentimes, performance evaluation templates will have a self-assessment component. This gives your team member a chance to drive their own career by sharing their successes and future goals. You can then start the performance evaluation conversation by asking them to share what they think they're doing well and the areas in which they think they need improvement. This can make the evaluation feel less scrutinizing and more like a dialogue.

Free performance review template

How do you write a performance evaluation?

A performance evaluation template can help you prepare for the evaluation process by giving you a standardized format to follow. Though you should tailor this template to your team's goals, make sure your team members see the template in advance so they know what the conversation will be about. This allows them to prepare and encourages conversation on how to move forward. A collaborative approach will feel less daunting than a traditional, one-sided performance evaluation form.

[inline illustration] 8 steps to prepare a performance evaluation template (infographic)

1. Identify core competencies

Although you want your performance evaluation template to meet the needs of your team members, it’s also important to standardize your template to provide a fair assessment across the board. This means considering what competencies make the most sense for your entire department. 

Core competencies that can measure performance in various team roles include:

  • Knowledge of job skills

  • Quality/quantity of work

  • Customer service skills

  • Attendance

  • Initiative

  • Inclusiveness

In addition to these categories, you can include an area in the evaluation form for specific goal-setting and further discussion. This will allow you to get more personal with each team member when you meet with them individually. 

Tip: You can add sub-competencies below each category to make your performance evaluation more detailed. For example, under the “quality/quantity of work” competency, add things like: looks for ways to improve quality; performs a full range of duties; achieves goals; and meets deadlines. 

2. Choose a rating scale

Once you’ve chosen the competencies for your performance evaluation template, choose how you want to rate your team members. There are two main values of a rating scale:

  1. Provides a shared language to discuss successes and strengths versus areas of opportunity.

  2. Provides something to look back to and see team members career growth.

However, avoid a numerical scale if possible. That way, team members focus less on their “grade” and more on their competencies. The key to your rating scale is to make sure it’s clear to everyone.

Rating scale example:

  • Exceeds expectations

  • Often exceeds expectations

  • Consistently meets expectations

  • Needs development

Make sure you align your team with what the rating scale means. For example, two people might mentally define "consistently meets expectations" differently, so keeping everyone on the same page can set the stage for a healthy and productive evaluation conversation.

3. Set an evaluation cycle

Setting your evaluation cycle will let you and your team members know how much time you have to prepare between sessions. Common review cycles are quarterly, bi-annually, and annually, and your company may pre-determine these. But if you have a choice, you may choose based on the nature of your workplace. For example, if your work culture is hands-off, you can hold monthly performance evaluations to ensure team members get frequent feedback. If your work culture is highly collaborative, your team may not need frequent reviews.  

Some review periods are better for short-term goals while others focus on long-term goals. For example, quarterly review periods provide enough time between evaluations for your team members to take past feedback into consideration and work on any goals you’ve set together. Once you’ve set your evaluation cycle, it’s important to stick to it so everyone knows what to expect moving forward. 

Tip: You can also take advantage of the time you have between evaluation cycles to observe job performance in action and offer opportunities for professional development. Helping your team members meet their performance goals benefits the entire team.

Read: 15 types of employee performance reviews (with templates and examples)

4. Prepare a list of questions

Now that you’ve nailed down the basics of your performance evaluation template, you can prepare for the individual meetings you’ll have with your team members. In these meetings, you’ll want to have a list of questions to ask that can move the conversation forward. Some questions you can ask include:

  • What is something from this quarter that you’re proud of?

  • Which goals did you meet? Which goals fell short?

  • What are two or three things you can focus on next quarter to help you grow professionally?

To ease the pressure of the evaluation meeting, standardize these questions for all team members.

Tip: Make sure you choose questions that get team members thinking about their work progress and goals. While the rating system on the performance evaluation is useful for long-term comparisons, the conversation is where your team members can verbalize issues and feel good about their accomplishments.

Read: 4 ways to establish roles and responsibilities for team success

5. Share questions in advance

The best thing you can do to prepare team members for a performance evaluation meeting is to let them know up front that it's happening and exactly what they can expect. Sharing the questions you’ve prepared in advance can give everyone time to think about them and process them. This reduces nerves and makes it a more collaborative and constructive conversation.

You can also share the format of the review with them so they can get an idea of how the conversation will go. For example, will you expect them to share first or will you lead?

Tip: Aside from sharing the questions with your team members, you can let them know what to expect by asking them about their accomplishments during the interim between evaluation cycles.

6. Have the conversation

Set aside dedicated time outside of your traditional meetings to have your performance evaluation meetings. Plan to meet individually with each team member for between 30 and 45 minutes. If possible, give your team members about a week’s notice so they can plan for them.

Tip: Don’t forget to ask team members for their opinions during the conversation. Aside from the standard questions about past performance and future goals, ask for feedback about your management style or the company culture. You can also ask where or if they hope to grow in the company over the long term.

Read: Don’t like giving feedback? These 20 tips are for you

7. Create a goal-setting framework

The questions you ask team members during evaluations should flow into goal-setting sessions. When you end the performance review process with a set goal, team members have a clear idea of what they need to work on between evaluations. Two goal-setting options include SMART goals and OKRs:

SMART goals:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Realistic

  • Timebound

OKRs:

Objective 1

  • Key result 1

  • Key result 2

  • Key result 3

After you give team members a framework to follow, let them be the visionaries of their goals while you facilitate. 

Tip: When you take a backseat in the goal-setting process, your team members will feel more in control of their future growth. It can also make evaluations more enjoyable because they become less bureaucratic. 

8. Be open to feedback

You should always ask team members about your performance as a manager so you can continue to meet their needs. Sometimes, team members won’t feel comfortable providing honest feedback in a 1:1 meeting. So if you want genuine responses, consider asking for feedback anonymously. You can:

  • Send an anonymous survey

  • Set up a physical or virtual comment box 

  • Hold a team feedback meeting

Emphasize that you’re open to any feedback your team members have for you, whether it’s positive or constructive. You can use their feedback to become a better manager and improve your future performance evaluations. 

Tip: If you’re having trouble thinking of ways to get team feedback, ask your co-workers what methods they use. Other managers may have strategies to share and ideas for evaluation templates as well. If you see areas that overlap between your departments, you can borrow ideas for your performance review form.

Read: How to give and take constructive criticism

Performance evaluation template and example

Below, you’ll see a filled-out example of what a performance evaluation template may look like. You can offer this template as a self-assessment for team members, which should spark meaningful discussion about their work progress and future goals. 

You can download a blank version of this performance evaluation template below to customize it for your company and department.

[inline illustration] team member performance review template (example)

You can download a blank version of this performance evaluation template below to customize for your company and department.

Free performance review template

Types of employee performance review templates

The process of conducting employee performance reviews is pivotal for both employee growth and the continuous improvement of your organization. By using a variety of employee performance evaluation templates, you can ensure that these assessments are both comprehensive and effective.

Below, we'll explore different types of employee performance evaluations that help human resources departments offer constructive feedback, improve team performance, and increase employee engagement.

Read: 9 ways to improve your team’s efficiency at work

Simple performance review template

A simple performance review is an essential tool for any human resources professional or team leader. It's designed to streamline the evaluation process by focusing on key performance indicators (KPIs) and core competencies.

This template is particularly useful for routine assessments and is a great starting point for those new to performance evaluations. It simplifies how to do a performance review by providing a clear, concise framework for feedback.

Example: A sales associate, for example, might be evaluated on specific KPIs such as sales volume and customer satisfaction, providing clear metrics for assessment and discussion.

Self-evaluation form

The self-evaluation form, which encourages employees to engage in self-reflection, is an important part of the performance review process. This form allows individuals to assess their own performance, highlighting their achievements and identifying areas of improvement.

Example: A software developer could use the form to reflect on their completed projects, coding proficiency improvements, and teamwork contributions. This helps the team member identify their strengths and areas for further professional development.

By integrating self-assessments into your performance evaluation form, you can foster a culture of self-awareness and continuous development.

Read: Download this free self-evaluation template

Peer review template

The peer review template fosters a collaborative review process in which employees can provide feedback on their coworkers' performance. Peer reviews complement traditional performance evaluation forms by adding depth to the understanding of an employee's impact within the team.

This form provides a thorough perspective that might not be apparent to supervisors alone and aids in understanding how peers perceive an employee's progress.

Example: For instance, a graphic designer might receive feedback from their peers on their creativity, ability to meet deadlines, and collaboration on team projects, offering a comprehensive view of their performance from those who work closely with them.

Read: 19 unconscious biases to overcome and help promote inclusivity

30-60-90 review template

Designed for new hires, the 30-60-90 review template sets clear milestones for the first 90 days of employment. It's a dynamic tool that helps managers and employees establish mutual performance expectations and goals, making new employee onboarding a success.

Example: Consider, a new marketing specialist who is expected to learn the company's marketing strategy in the first 30 days, contribute to a campaign by the 60th day, and lead a small project by day 90.

The 30-60-90 review focuses on the quality of work and alignment with the job description and incorporates a career development plan that includes mentoring. This ensures the new hire is effectively integrated into the team, with clear expectations for their initial months.

Read: Boost team engagement with an employee survey

360-degree feedback template

The 360-degree feedback template is a comprehensive approach to performance evaluation, incorporating feedback from supervisors, peers, subordinates, and sometimes even clients.

This holistic view provides a well-rounded perspective on employee strengths and any areas that need improvement.

Example: Consider a team leader whose 360-degree feedback reveals a lower performance rating in communication skills compared to other areas. Based on this feedback, the leader is placed on a performance improvement plan specifically designed to enhance their communication skills. The plan includes targeted workshops, mentoring sessions with a communication coach, and regular feedback sessions to monitor progress. This approach ensures that the leader receives the support needed to develop their abilities and positively impact their team's performance.

One-on-one meetings

Performance evaluation templates can be helpful for jotting down notes during face-to-face meetings, but with many teams moving to remote work, online software is more useful than ever. Virtual one-on-one meeting agendas clarify that you're here for your team members and are always willing to chat. They're a great place for casual feedback and to build psychological safety and trust. By developing this relationship with your direct report, you can set yourself up for success when you have a bigger performance review conversation.

[List view] Meeting agenda template in Asana, spreadsheet-style view

Even if you work in person, you can use one-on-one meeting agendas to stay connected with team members throughout the year.

A one-on-one project also gives team members the chance to choose what they want to talk about with you. Think of the one-on-one as their time. You've set 30 minutes aside for them to use in whatever way is most beneficial for them. Sometimes, they might want to talk about their favorite TV show because they need some time to unwind. Other times, you may get into some serious brainstorming or problem-solving together.

Read: How to have effective one-on-one meetings

Quarterly performance review template

Focusing on short-term goals and achievements, the quarterly performance review template allows for more frequent assessments of an employee's progress. This performance appraisal is beneficial for tracking progress towards annual goals and adjusting objectives as needed. Quarterly reviews are an excellent way to keep employees motivated and aligned with the company's strategic direction.

Example: For instance, a project manager might be reviewed on their ability to meet project milestones, with adjustments made to their next quarter goals based on the latest project outcomes and feedback.

Annual performance review template

The annual performance review template provides a comprehensive overview of an employee's performance over the year. It's an opportunity to reflect on long-term achievements, set future goals, and discuss career development opportunities.

Incorporating feedback from this template into the next performance review ensures continuous improvement and effective performance management. Additionally, it sets the stage for meaningful one-on-one discussions, allowing managers and employees to follow up on progress and celebrate wins.

Example: For example, imagine an employee who has consistently met their sales targets throughout the year. The annual review not only acknowledges this achievement but also explores areas for further growth. This might involve setting higher targets for the upcoming year, discussing new responsibilities, or identifying training opportunities.

Why performance evaluations are important

Performance evaluations are important for both managers and team members because, when work gets hectic, communication can fall short. A “good job” here and there can go a long way, but team members need scheduled facetime for individual feedback in order to stay on track and grow.

[inline illustration] benefits of performance evaluations (infographic)

Performance evaluations can provide the following benefits:

For managers:

  • Informs hiring practices

  • Offers feedback on management style

  • Provides updates on team member wellbeing

For team members:

  • Improves communication with leadership

  • Provides a safe space to address concerns

  • Offers feedback on individual performance

While performance evaluations can feel nerve-wracking, they’re also motivating and give team members clarity on how to improve. Over time, thoughtful performance evaluations build trust and show your team members that you support them and their career paths.

Enhance performance evaluations with goal-setting software

With Asana’s goal-setting software, your team can receive more frequent updates on how they’re doing, which lessens the pressure on everyone when performance evaluations roll around. 

Goal-setting enhances the performance evaluation process by focusing more on future progress. When your team can watch their progress in action, they’ll feel more invested in doing their best work.

Free performance review template

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