According to one report, 63% of employers conduct formal performance reviews at least once per year. Eighteen percent of employers conduct them twice per year, and 8% conduct them on a quarterly basis.
Performance reviews give business leaders the opportunity to evaluate an employee’s work and discuss strengths and weaknesses. They also allow employees to share their feedback on workplace culture, team communication, and any pain points they’re experiencing.
If you’re responsible for leading and organizing these sessions, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. With a performance review template, you’ll have a general outline to follow.
Today, we’re sharing five helpful ways to use these templates to facilitate and improve the review experience.
What Is a Performance Review Template?
Before we dive into why templates are essential for successful performance reviews, let’s break down what they include. In short, this is a guide that walks you through the questions to ask and steps to follow during each employee review session.
Without a template in place, it can be challenging to get these conversations started. This is especially the case if you have to discuss a difficult topic. For instance, you may need to tell an employee that they must improve their performance to stay on the payroll.
You might not know how to approach the subject, and this can make both parties uncomfortable. You want to maximize your time during the review, and having a guide can help.
A template will walk you through the talking points you need to follow. For instance, you may start by discussing the employee’s performance over the last six months. Then, you’ll dive into their goals for the future and anything they need to change to get there.
There will also be time for the employee to answer questions and ask a few of their own. You can find performance review templates that are geared toward different types of sessions, including:
- Annual reviews
- Mid-year reviews
- Quarterly check-ins
In addition, you can also find ones that center on a specific subject, such as employee objectives and key results, or OKRs. An OKR template helps you set and prioritize team goals and track results.
Once you find a template you prefer, it’s time to start using it! Next, let’s take a look at five different ways you can put yours into action.
1. Guide One-on-One Discussions
The most common way to use employee performance review templates is as a discussion guide. When managers and employees have a step-by-step process to follow, the conversation stays on track. You can rest assured that you’re covering all of the key topics, and you’re less likely to enter into long-winded tangents that take away from the focus of the meeting.
In one study, researchers found that 70% of workers believe long meetings are too distracting. They claim that spending too much time in the conference room takes them away from their jobs. With the right template in hand, you can make sure your performance reviews are succinct and to the point.
2. Set Goals for Future Growth
Sometimes, performance reviews are focused less on the past and are more geared toward the future. A goals-oriented template will help you brainstorm new objectives for your employees to meet. This is a great approach if you have team members who want to move up in their departments but aren’t sure how to do so.
While you can find team-based OKR templates, you can also look for ones that address goals on an individual level. Together, you can lay the groundwork for future promotions and ensure your employees know what’s expected of them.
3. Perform a Mid-Year Check
When you set goals with your employees, it’s important to check in on their progress periodically. There are templates available to help guide these discussions. By following the outline, you can monitor how close or far away they are from reaching the goals they’ve established.
This is also a good time to see if you need to adjust anything to help your employees reach their milestones by the end of the year. Allow them to share what’s working and what isn’t, and incorporate their feedback as you develop new strategies.
4. Assess Your Personal Performance
When researching different performance review examples, you might be surprised to find that there are personal assessments as well! While it might feel a little awkward analyzing your past performance, this is a helpful step.
As long as you answer each question honestly, you can accurately gauge your level of personal success. You can also uncover barriers that are holding you back, so you can get to work addressing them.
5. Conduct Peer-to-Peer Reviews
It can be intimidating for employees to open up to a senior-level supervisor. They’re usually more willing to share their frustrations or concerns with a co-worker they trust. This is the premise behind a peer-to-peer performance review.
With this approach, you’ll be able to gather feedback from each employee based on a conversation they have with their teammate. All parties will understand that the data gathered will ultimately reach the C-suite for a more in-depth analysis. However, it creates a more secure environment that can catalyze honest dialogue at the moment.
This also eliminates any bias or pre-judgments that you might have brought to the discussion. It can be easy to cloud your perspective of an employee based on your own interactions with them, so a peer-based review is a smart alternative.
Conduct More Effective Performance Reviews
Performance reviews are essential to individual and company-wide success. You need to know how your employees are doing and what challenges they’re facing in order to create a more successful and competitive workplace. Yet, they aren’t always easy to jumpstart.
With a performance review template, it’s easier to initiate and facilitate these conversations. These forms will clearly lay out the questions to ask and the points to discuss during each meeting. If you can follow the outline, you’re ready to get started.
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