Working with an employee review template can help create a performance review that is the most effective for a company. Performance reviews are essential to monitoring workplace productivity by breaking down and quantifying many different aspects of employee performance, such as goal achievement, workplace communication, and professional development. Using the most suitable employee review template can have a significant influence on the efficacy of your company’s performance review process.

How to Write an Employee Review Template

Having an employee review template or two on hand will allow a company to always be prepared to conduct performance reviews. Though employee reviews are typically scheduled in advance, maintaining a selection of templates takes part of the work out of the preparation process.

What Is an Employee Review Template?

An employee review template is meant to be used as a guide to help management or leadership teams within an organization conduct thorough performance reviews with its employees. It outlines a framework for the review which can then be applied to multiple employees to make sure everyone is held to the same reviewing standards.

Writing an Employee Review Template: What to Include

When building an employee review template for your company, there are several basic categories you will need to cover. First, you will need some fields to identify the employee and link the review specifically to them, such as their name, employee ID number, department, and job title, as well as the reviewer’s name and title, so that all those who participated in or proctored a given review are identified.

The review template should also have a space to clarify the review period. Whether it’s weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly, the employee should have clarification regarding the exact date range a review is supposed to cover. The employee being reviewed should not be pulling feedback or examples that are not relevant to the designated time frame.

A standardized and clearly defined rating system should also be included in the employee review template. For example, a rating scale of “1” to “5” with “5” indicating “outstanding” and “1” indicating “poor.” Each rating on the scale should have a definition of standards met or unmet that would merit the rating. When compared against given evaluation points such as skills, job aspects, or company and individual goals, it should be easy for the employee or the reviewer to match the rating to the employee’s performance.

An employee review template should also include some short answer questions about specific job requirements or performance aspects, as well as ample space that is clearly labeled for the employee to provide some additional feedback in their own words. This extra feedback can be extremely helpful in gathering information that isn’t limited to just the specified questions on the employee review template. Both the employee and the reviewer should also have a designated signature line to verify their participation later if need be.

Further Tips

The main goal in developing an employee review template is to create a performance review standard in an organization that acts as a consistent framework so that all employees are subjected to the same review parameters that are fair to all employees and relevant to the nature of their work.

You’ll also want to make sure the purpose of the review is communicated to the employee both verbally and via the template itself, and the template should be written to gather such information. Try to focus on a few key concepts as opposed to gathering as much information as possible. Reaching for too much information will dilute the feedback the employee provides, so it’s best to stick to a few priority topics. You can always branch out in topics by conducting additional reviews.

When goal setting with employees, make sure their goals are following “SMART” parameters, meaning they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. This way the employees are better able to track their progress towards their specified goals.

Including a space on the employee review template for the employee and the reviewer to brainstorm future development plans for the employee can help them to feel inspired and motivated after their performance review. Employees who are motivated to better themselves professionally will grow in their value for an organization.

While conducting the review, it is important to remain objective, and any feedback should be clarified with traceable facts and numbers whenever possible. An employee gets the most out of a performance review when they are given specific and measurable examples of how to make any necessary improvements or adjustments, so the more details, the better. Also, don’t forget to include as much positive feedback for the employee as constructive criticism, when possible.

When issues are brought to light in a performance review, it’s important to get a follow-up review on the calendar to ensure that these issues are resolved and that any solutions are being put into action. Without problem resolution, the performance review is a waste of time.

What Should NOT be Included in an Employee Review Template?

While there’s no wrong way to write an employee review template as long as it includes questions to get the kind of feedback you’re looking for, there are a few things you want to avoid when writing the template. For instance, don’t include any questions that may be linked to unexpected topics. Performance review questions or feedback should never catch employees off guard. Employee expectations and future review details should be communicated to the employee as soon as possible, even as early as to be part of the onboarding process. This ensures that employees are made clearly aware of what is expected of them.

Employee review templates should not get personal. They are meant to be objective assessments, with a focus on the employee’s actions and behavior. While the “person” is responsible for their actions and behavior, that doesn’t mean personal qualities are up for criticism in a performance review. There is also no place in employee reviews for bias or limitations when it comes to personal working styles and preferences. Most professionals have learned the tactics which make them most productive, whether that’s working independently or in constant communication with a team. Especially when a team member is productive and meeting goals, there is no reason to criticize their working style.

Unspecific comments not related to the focus of the performance review should also be avoided as they can be confusing to the employee. The goal of performance reviews is to ensure an employee is aware of what they’re doing well and what aspects of their performance could use some improvement. An employee review template that is lacking in guidance would be a disservice to both the employee and the organization.

Different Types of Employee Review Templates

The type of template an organization uses varies by the company and the kind of information the management team might be looking for in employee feedback. The time frame set to be covered by the review can sometimes dictate what kind of information is gathered. Consider the following examples:

Weekly Employee Review Template

There is a limited amount of information that can be collected about a given week. However, weekly performance reviews can be useful for fast-paced project-tracking, record keeping, or measuring weekly performance quotas.

Monthly Employee Review Template

Monthly reviews are helpful to businesses that work with freelancers or other types of short-term contractors, and sometimes even as a probationary review for new team members. Many long-term projects also do well with monthly check-ins ensuring they stay on track with projected end dates. Monthly reviews will include more detail and feedback for the employee on their overall ongoing performance. Many employees prefer monthly reviews to quarterly or yearly reviews to stay more on track with their performance.

Quarterly Employee Review Template

Many businesses tend to quantify things such as target goals and budgets by the quarter, so naturally many of them also align performance reviews with these other business functions. A three-month review term is also long enough to compile shorter-term reviews to draw patterns in the performance tendencies of the employee.

Annual Employee Review Template

These longer-term reviews can gather a lot of information, though many leadership teams and employees alike are saying they’re too few and far between, which is why many companies will at least supplement, if not entirely replace, annual reviews with shorter-term reviews like quarterly or monthly. It’s also least effective for employees to be getting feedback once a year when so much more progress could be made through participating in more frequent performance reviews.

In Summary

Employee performance reviews are great tools for exchanging feedback between management teams and the employees they supervise. When written to obtain the most important information over the most effective term, they’re great tools for maintaining employee satisfaction and productivity. Having a few outlined employee review templates can give a company a diverse toolkit for conducting regular performance reviews so that the organization and its employees are always clear on expectations as well as their progress towards goals both personal and collective.

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