Letting team members know how their performance stacks up with expectations is crucial for successfully leading any type of organization. One of the best ways to do this is with regular employee evaluations, which can take many forms, depending on your needs.
While nothing beats day-to-day interaction with your team, the following employee evaluation templates can help you create an organized feedback process. Whether you’re planning monthly, quarterly or annual employee evaluations, you can edit these templates to suit your needs.
But first thing’s first, let’s talk about how to approach employee evaluations and why they’re so important.
Click to jump ahead:
- What is an employee evaluation?
- How do you create an employee evaluation?
- Why are employee evaluation forms important?
- Employee performance evaluation template examples
- Excel employee evaluation template examples
- Employee self-evaluation template examples
- Printable employee evaluation template examples
- Employee evaluation FAQ
What is an employee evaluation?
Essentially, an employee evaluation is a formal or informal feedback session between a worker and their supervisor (and sometimes their peers or those they manage). Often, an employee evaluation is conducted by the person’s direct supervisor, but in some companies, the human resources team handles them.
There are many types of employee evaluations, including:
- Annual, quarterly or monthly performance reviews. The most traditional type of employee evaluation, this formal assessment rates workers’ performance in various established areas, usually on a scale of 1-5 or 1-10. Some companies include other types of assessments within a performance review, like self-evaluations, and annual reviews are typically used to determine pay increases.
- Self-evaluation. Also called self-assessments, an employee self-evaluation gives team members a chance to rate themselves in a range of established areas as opposed to being rated by their supervisors.
- Behavior checklist. Sometimes using yes or no questions and other times a rating scale, a behavior checklist allows a manager to rate an employee’s behavior or temperament for a job, rather than evaluating their specific performance in that job. These are often used to prepare new managers for their upgraded roles, but behavior checklists can be valuable tools in any employee evaluation.
- 360-degree review. A 360-degree review is a type of performance evaluation (usu’/ally annual) in which a person’s manager, peers and subordinates provide feedback on how they’re doing in a job.
- Management by objectives (MBO). In this type of employee evaluation, rather than judging a team member against the same set of expectations as every other person, the manager sets out specific objectives and judges how successful the person was at achieving those objectives. (Here’s an example of an MBO plan.)
Regardless of the type or types of evaluations you use, it’s vital to measure the level of work you’re able to get out of your team. This isn’t just so you can optimize your team’s performance. Employee evaluations can also help each person see where they fit in with the team and feel like an important part of it.
In fact, according to Gallup, 84% of actively engaged employees said they’d received meaningful feedback in the past week. Even when a review isn’t glowing, in my experience, employees appreciate having the chance to improve. But it’s hard for them to know they’re falling behind unless you tell them.
How do you create an employee evaluation?
There’s no single way to put together an employee evaluation. Starting with a template (like the ones I’ll share in a moment) definitely helps, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind when you’re creating your employee evaluations:
Consider what’s most important for each job
If you’re starting your employee evaluation program from zero, then you’ll have quite a bit of work to do before you can even begin thinking about delivering any type of evaluation to your team. But think clearly about the tasks and qualities that matter most to your company in each job that you’re evaluating.
Are there skills that would be nice to have but aren’t necessarily mission-critical? As much as possible, try to ignore the presence or absence of those skills when evaluating a group of workers who all have the same job.
Don’t start the day before it’s due
The last time I worked in a management role that required me to complete performance reviews, the best advice I got was to keep a file of specific instances of employees doing their jobs well and, conversely, situations they could have handled better.
In addition to making the review writing process go faster, it also allowed me to correct for recency bias when doing annual reviews.
Speaking of that good advice, your employee evaluations should be as specific and actionable as possible. Don’t just say, “You didn’t do a good job.” Explain what you mean in clear terms that are related to the jobs your team members do.
If your organic search traffic to a particular page dropped by 25%, then talk about that specifically in the evaluation. One, and most obviously, this will ensure you’re all on the same page. But two, and maybe less obviously, specificity, especially in a negative critique, can give the person a clear line of improvement.
Using that SEO example, if all you said was, “Our traffic dropped and needs to go back up,” without offering specifics, your employee may well feel like they don’t have a goal to strive for.
Make hard copies (or at least make it printable and signable)
Yes, we live in a digital world, and many jobs are done without anybody stepping foot outside their house. But in many companies, HR policies require employee evaluations to be done in-person, and they usually must be done with hard copy documents (or at least be something an employee can e-sign).
This is a good way to make sure the team member agrees they’ve been given the chance to read and ask questions about their evaluation.
Even in a negative evaluation, try to find the positive
Outside of a situation where someone is failing to the point of needing to be fired, you owe it to your employees to give them specific methods and suggestions for improvement.
And nobody is terrible all the time, observe them closely and make sure to file away examples of when they did their jobs well so they know it’s possible for them to excel.
Why are employee evaluation forms important?
The list above is far from exhaustive when it comes to everything required to create a useful employee evaluation. That’s why I highly recommend using employee evaluation forms. These tools make it easy to give your team the feedback they need without killing your calendar.
In addition to saving you time, having a stable of employee evaluation forms also helps ensure everyone is getting the same evaluation. Without forms, you may fall into an inconsistent method of evaluation, which isn’t fair to the team.
They also give you a track record to look back on when it comes time to consider retention, promotions or firings.
Employee performance evaluation template examples
Okay, now for the good stuff. Here are some employee performance evaluation templates that should work for just about any role in your organization.
Add your specifics to this blank-slate employee performance review template. Easily and quickly update the colors to your brand’s shades and swap in your logo to complete the transformation from the placeholder branding to your own.
Looking to conduct a review more often than once a year? Try using this brief performance evaluation form, which includes small comment sections, ideal for regular formal evaluations.
Data visualization has been shown to help people retain information, so why not apply this concept to your performance reviews with this quarterly evaluation template? From the pleasing pie charts to the modern stylings, this template is sure to engage your workers.
Not a fan of pie charts (or portrait documents)? Use this quarterly review template that turns everything (literally) on its side by using bar graphs and a landscape layout as opposed to a portrait one. A word of warning: if you’re going to print this out, double check those printer settings.
Excel employee evaluation template examples
Some companies use Excel to do their employee evaluation, and that’s certainly a reasonable (if underwhelming) method. I found one particularly good example of an Excel employee evaluation template, but my money would still be on a more visual approach to employee evaluations, like the following templates.
If you lean toward an Excel evaluation template because it feels the most scientific to you, consider one that uses or includes a matrix-style review like this one. While it’s light on details that need to be filled in in other ways, this type of review is a good way to boil things down.
Here’s another take on a performance matrix that could work for your team. Use one of these for each core competency. Or, give your employee a 30,000-foot view by creating a matrix that encapsulates their performance for the year.
Employee self-evaluation template examples
You and your employees may be of multiple minds when it comes to how they’re doing. So, giving them a chance to tell you what they think they need to work on can help you better understand your own assessment of their performance. And it can help you ensure you’re doing enough to give them the skills they want (and need).
Here are some templates you could adapt for your company’s self-evaluation process:
Use this self-evaluation template to get your team thinking about what they want out of their jobs — and, of course, how they rate themselves. You may be surprised at which team members are harder on themselves than you are when you begin reviewing these.
If you’re asking employees to fill out lengthy self-assessments like this one, make sure you’re allowing them the appropriate time during the workday to really think about it. Alternatively, you can pay them overtime or a small bonus for getting them done outside of working hours.
Printable employee evaluation template examples
As I mentioned earlier on, ideally, you’d create your employee evaluations in a format that’s printable, so here are some templates to get you started:
Though it features colors, the high contrast of this leadership checklist template would be perfect for printing in black and white — important for companies looking to cut down their toner budgets.
If you don’t have a use for a leadership checklist, consider modifying this to, say, make sure your team understands the basics of digital marketing or change the skills to soft skills as you work on team-building.
This minimalist review template is ideal for printing because it uses only one color (other than black or gray) and it keeps all the content on one page.
You’ll need to print this quarterly review template in landscape, but because it’s already in shades of black and gray, it’s all ready to save you ink.
Employee evaluation FAQ
What do you write in an employee evaluation?
You could go the compliment sandwich route in your evaluations, where you surround a negative criticism with two bits of praise. But what that looks like specifically will depend on the format you choose and the individual person’s performance.
It’s important to remember people want to know how you feel they’re doing (or how they did in the past year), but they also want to know what the future might hold for them. So be positive and forward-looking in your evaluations.
How do you write a good performance evaluation?
The most important aspect of writing a good performance evaluation is specificity. Don’t just say a person excelled; list specific examples of that in action. Being precise and detailed will let your team know you’re paying attention, and it’ll be easier for them to repeat their great work.
What are the three types of performance evaluation?
The three major types of performance evaluation are annual (or quarterly / monthly) performance reviews, management by objectives (MBO) and 360-degree reviews. There are other evaluation types, but they generally fall under one or more of these larger umbrellas.
Make sure your team knows where they stand with effective and engaging employee evaluations
Maybe I’m alone on this, but even when I got a bad grade in school, I was relieved to know where I stood. The same is true for your employees. They deserve to know exactly where they stand, and it’s your job to give them that feedback.
In other words, growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Just make sure you’re sharing your feedback in a well-organized employee evaluation process, so everyone feels supported and heard. And of course, you can get a head start on organizing your process with any of Venngage’s employee evaluation templates.