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When forward-thinking companies decide to update their performance review process, it’s usually left to HR professionals or department managers to determine what that process will look like.

If you’re in that position, you might have discovered that increasing performance review frequency from annual to biannual isn’t enough: Today’s employees need more frequent, individualized feedback*, and we recommend implementing different performance review templates to help customize your review approach to various scenarios.

Performance review templates will help you stay uniform with your review process, but they’ll also make it more adaptable. There are templates for everything — from peer feedback to self-assessments and leadership reviews — and these options can help you bring more feedback into your company culture. 

Wondering how to get started? We’ve put together 18 performance review templates you can use to help you establish standards for a development-focused appraisal process from the get-go.

*Report on the State of the Global Workplace, Gallup, 2022

🚀 Leapsome lets you customize performance reviews for employee development

Leverage the customizable templates in our performance review tool to save time and boost company performance

👉 Learn more

Quick tips to improve the performance review process

A Mercer study on global performance management revealed that only 2% of companies feel confident about their approach to performance reviews. But that doesn’t mean companies need to reinvent the performance management wheel — here are some tips to improve your performance reviews.

Conduct employee performance reviews frequently

Companies that emphasize employee development know that performance reviews aren’t just about ticking boxes — they’re powerful opportunities for ongoing coaching.

Make performance reviews two-way conversations

Research shows
that employees are more likely to improve when managers explain the “why” behind their performance review ratings. After all, understanding the reasons behind a score (and receiving actionable suggestions for development) makes them feel like an active partner in their own growth.

A two-way, conversational approach means managers involve employees in goal-setting and personal development decisions, encouraging them to be accountable and take ownership of their growth.

Be transparent

Transparency in a performance review takes empathy — you have to ask, “if I was the one being reviewed, what information would be helpful to me, even if it was hard to hear?”

Ahead of the development talk in which you’ll discuss performance review results and feedback, we recommend working with the reviewee to develop a clear, collaborative agenda. This way, both parties know what to expect from the discussion.

Set clear goals for your employees after review

Don’t leave expectations up to interpretation — ensure you convey expectations clearly to your employees throughout the performance review process and ask them if they have questions during your performance review discussion meeting. 

It’s a great idea to work together on a set of development goals based on your feedback and your report’s career interests. You can review and track these goals with a performance management system like Leapsome, so everyone is on the same page.

Ask your employees how you can help them improve

Great managers give clear guidance and align it with employee goals. For example, do they need more help with prioritization? Do they need more actionable feedback after completing a task? Be a proactive manager and ask employees if they have specific suggestions for how you can help them succeed.

18 templates for performance reviews

Unfortunately, many managers still have little guidance, support, or training on how to write an employee performance review. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive list of 18 templates for performance reviews as a starting point for streamlining your own process of giving feedback to your people.

1. Quarterly performance review template

Although the biannual (or mid-year) performance review approach is more popular and gives people more time to work on areas for development, some companies choose to run quarterly reviews highlighting granular ways to improve throughout the year.

Before the performance review meeting, complete a manager assessment and ask your employee to write a self-assessment. Then, share the outline of the meeting agenda, and during the meeting:

  1. Discuss employee’s self-assessment
  2. Talk about successes from the past quarter, strong skills, and areas for improvement
  3. Answer their questions, concerns, and any need for clarification

Questions you can ask employees in a quarterly performance review

  • How did you work on your development goals throughout the quarter? How do you feel about those goals?
  • What support do you need to move forward on your development goals?
  • What do you feel is the biggest challenge you’re likely to face over the next quarter?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for quarterly review

2. Biannual performance review template

These may happen every six months — starting when someone joins — or simultaneously for the entire company. 

An argument for the first approach is that it allows managers to stay focused (instead of having to assess multiple reports at a time), and it also distributes the reviewing process for respondents across the year. Some companies, however, opt for simultaneous reviews for the entire company because, at the midpoint of the year, managers can take a higher-level look at whether their teams are staying on track with their goals. 

Whichever your chosen approach for kicking off biannual performance reviews is, we recommend that you:

  1. Examine the reviewee’s successes and areas for improvement from the past six months
  2. Create an action plan for how you can better support them in the next six months to help them meet their goals

Questions you can ask employees in a biannual performance review

  • What is one key learning from the last six months?
  • What is one core skill you’ve improved over the last six months?
  • What can we do together to set you up for success in the next two quarters?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for biannual performance review

3. Annual performance employee review template

The annual performance review should summarize the employee’s performance for the past year and give managers and employees a more developed picture of an employee’s performance. As mentioned above, some companies kick off reviews based on each employee’s starting date (which you can automate with Leapsome) or do it simultaneously for the entire company.

Annual performance reviews should, ideally, follow a 360° feedback process — which many organizations (including us at Leapsome) also do for biannual reviews. The reason is that 360° performance reviews allow for a more holistic picture: employees do a self-assessment, and feedback is gathered from their manager, reports (if applicable), peers, and sometimes, even customers. 

When it’s time for the performance review discussion, share your annual performance agenda with your report ahead of time. In this meeting, you will:

  1. Discuss the self-assessment, your feedback, and feedback from other respondents
  2. Talk about wins from the past year and improvement opportunities
  3. Create development goals for the year ahead

Questions you can ask employees in an annual performance review

  • How did you handle a challenging situation this past year?
  • What is the biggest win you’ve had this year?
  • What is one thing you’d change about your role?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for annual performance review

4. Self-assessment performance review template

Photo of a woman working on her laptop
A self-assessment gives employees ownership of their own performance goals

The self-assessment, or self-evaluation, lets employees share how they feel about their performance.

Employees should be ready to get as specific as possible during self-evaluations and:

  1. Identify their biggest achievements since their last assessment
  2. Examine areas for improvement
  3. Create 1-3 development goals for the next review cycle

Questions you can ask employees in a self-assessment

  • What have been your biggest achievements since the last review?
  • What helped you get to these achievements?
  • What support do you need to move forward on your development goals?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for self-assessment performance review

5. Peer appraisal performance review template

Team members often have valuable insights into a peer’s performance. So, when peers give feedback about their coworkers, ask them to:

  1. Keep in mind projects they may have worked on together
  2. Consider areas like teamwork and communication skills

Questions you can ask employees in a peer appraisal review

  • What are the three greatest strengths of this team member?
  • What should they work more on (i.e., change, improve)?
  • What support could you offer to help them further develop in their role?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for peer appraisal performance review

6. Team performance review template

Photo of a team of five people having a work meeting
A team performance review lets teams assess the effectiveness of their processes

Team performance reviews allow team members to identify where they collectively excel and where they can grow together. Team performance reviews also give insight into collaborative processes or systems that should be updated or changed altogether.

When you ask individual team members to evaluate their team performance, they should consider:

  1. Team processes & operations
  2. Team meetings
  3. Team collaboration

Questions you can ask employees in a team performance review

  • How would you rate and describe the quality and frequency of your team’s communication?
  • Are there specific team processes and operations that you’d like to change?
  • How do you feel about your team’s overall approach to collaborating?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for team performance review

7. 360° performance review template

360° performance reviews take a holistic approach to employee appraisals by letting managers gather feedback about an individual employee’s performance, contribution, and skills from a few sources. We recommend you include assessments from:

  1. Reviewee (self-assessment)
  2. The person’s manager
  3. Direct reports (if applicable)
  4. 2-3 peers
  5. Customers/suppliers/partners (optional)

Questions you can ask employees in a 360° performance review

  • What do you like most about them? What are you thankful for?
  • What should they keep doing?
  • What should they work more on (i.e., change, improve)?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for 160° performance review

8. 30-day performance review template

Many managers utilize a 30-60-90 day plan for new hires to set concrete benchmarks and expectations for an employee’s first 30, 60, and 90 days of employment. A 30-60-90 day plan generally follows this framework:

  • 30 days | Onboarding, shadowing coworkers, and learning
  • 60 days | Applying skills to make an impact in one area
  • 90 days | Improving skills/learning new skills with clear results

With this framework as guidance, 30-, 60-, and 90-day performance reviews allow managers and employees to assess whether they’re on track with the plan.

Questions you can ask employees in a 30-day performance review

  • Are there any processes, metrics, or expectations I can clarify for you?
  • Has anything about your onboarding process been unclear?
  • What is one way I can support you in the next month?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for 30-day performance review

9. 60-day performance review template

After a new hire spends the first 30 days learning your team’s processes and gaining confidence, they should dedicate the next 30 days to finding ways to put their skills to use and contribute.

Questions you can ask employees in a 60-day performance review

  • Now that you know our processes, what’s one measurable goal you met in the past month?
  • Do you feel you have a full understanding of how our department works? What is one core skill you can improve in the next 30 days?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for 60-day performance review

10. 90-day performance review template

In the third month of a 90-day plan, your new employee should have grasped processes, procedures, and company objectives. The new hire should feel empowered to take more initiative on projects and suggest process improvements.

Questions you can ask employees in a 90-day performance review

  • Have you been working on improving specific skills in the past three months? If so, how do you feel about this improvement?
  • What is one skill you’d like to improve upon in the next six months? How would that help you meet your goals?
  • Are there specific processes within your function/team that you’d like to change, but haven’t suggested yet?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for 90-day performance review

11. Probation review template

Probation periods allow companies to assess if a new hire is a good fit for their role and the company culture — and the same goes for employees, who can take this chance to reflect upon their experience at the new company. 

Managers should be transparent about the fact that a probation period will end in a performance review, and that they’ll be discussing improvement opportunities.

In your review meeting, you should cover:

  1. Learning and development opportunities and gaps
  2. Company culture fit
  3. Clarification of the job description, responsibilities, and workload
  4. Workload evaluation

Questions you can ask your employees during the probation review

  • How did the onboarding process set you up for success?
  • Where do you see yourself in this company as you grow?
  • What support do you need to thrive in this role?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for probation review

12. Performance improvement review template

In a performance improvement review, managers and employees discuss a PIP (performance improvement plan) that focuses on how an employee’s performance has fallen short of expectations. 

Although we advocate for development-focused performance reviews, some companies may still want to run those processes, depending on their company cultures and processes. If you choose to run a performance improvement review, we recommend that you:

  1. Explore the causes of the performance issues
  2. Address skills gaps by providing training and resources
  3. Develop realistic and exciting goals for the coming months

Questions you can ask employees during a performance improvement review

  • What main issues are you currently facing? What do you think is at the root of this issue?
  • What is the best way for me to give you feedback in the future?
  • Is there any particular training you feel would be especially helpful to you?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for performance improvement review

13. Behavior change performance review template

When managers address behavioral concerns in a performance review, we recommend using the SBI (Situation – Behavior – Impact) framework for giving clear, objective feedback that reduces defensiveness in the person being reviewed.  

Situation: explains the situation: “During last week’s team meeting…”

Behavior: describes the problematic behavior they witnessed: “you spoke rudely to a colleague…”

Impact: describes the impact that behavior had on others: “which shouldn’t happen in our company and made everyone — especially this person — feel very uncomfortable and not share any more contributions during that meeting.”

Questions you can ask employees during a behavior change performance review

  • What can you do in the future to avoid a similar situation?
  • Is there any support or additional feedback I can offer to help you address this issue?
  • Is there some kind of training (e.g., communication) that you feel our team is lacking, to avoid similar issues?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for behavior change performance review

14. Goal-setting performance review template

A recent Gartner research identified that when company goals inform individual goals, employee performance increases by 22%. So, when running a goal-setting performance review, you should:

  1. Provide context for why that goal or objective matters to company development
  2. Work together to create individual goals in that context

Questions you can ask employees during a goal-setting performance review

  • Is anything unclear to you regarding our company goals?
  • Do you feel there are any unrealistic goals we have set as a company? If so, why?
  • How can we improve our goal-setting process for team-wide and individual goals?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for goal-setting performance review

15. Leadership performance review template

Also known as an “upward feedback performance review,” leadership performance reviews create an opportunity for two-way conversations between employees and their managers, fostering trust between company leaders and their reports. We recommend running them biannually. Your company should:

  1. Implement a 360 performance review model to gather more data on leadership performance
  2. Include leadership-specific performance review questions
  3. Ensure that development goals build on strengths and address leadership skills (e.g., giving feedback)

Questions you can ask employees during a leadership performance review

  • What is your impression of your leadership style?
  • What do you consider your core strengths as a leader?
  • How do you support individual team members?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for leadership performance review

16. Compensation performance review template

A compensation performance review, or salary review, assesses employee performance against the requirements for a raise, promoting more transparency around factors that influence compensation. Follow this framework during your review meeting:

  1. Give context for your company’s approach to compensation
  2. Have a career progression framework with defined skills for each role and level 
  3. Evaluate past performance reviews to assess progress

Questions you can ask employees during a compensation performance review

  • Is there anything I can explain about the way we do compensation?
  • Do you need more clarity on why you are/aren’t getting a raise this time?
  • Are there any questions or comments you’d like me to bring to HR about compensation?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for compensation performance review

17. Professional development performance review template

A professional development performance review measures how an employee is progressing along their career track. It evaluates career- and department-specific skills. In a professional development review, you should:

  1. Discuss the employee’s career goals both in and out of the company
  2. Jointly create short- and long-term strategies to help them progress

Questions you can ask your employees during the review

  • What career goals do you have for the next year?
  • What long-term professional aspirations do you have — even if beyond the company?
  • Are there specific skill sets you’d like to improve upon? And how can we support you with that?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for professional development performance review

18. Sales performance review template

In this role-specific performance review for sales professionals, a manager measures a salesperson’s performance against their specific goals and targets for the quarter. Here are some tips if you’re looking to implement this type of performance review: 

  1. Review individual goals and targets for the period (e.g., past two quarters, if running biannually)
  2. Explore factors that helped them or hindered them from meeting these objectives
  3. Create an action plan for the next review period

Questions you can ask employees in a sales performance review

  • How do you feel about your win rate goals and your achievements?
  • Has a particular sales strategy worked well for you? Is there one you believe doesn’t work at all?
  • Is there any specific kind of training you feel you’d benefit from to increase your sales skills?
A visual image of the recommended steps and suggested questions for sales performance review

Run effective performance reviews with Leapsome

Performance review templates are just part of a best-practice people enablement process. This means that templates won’t boost your company’s performance by themselves: You need a streamlined way to gather performance review data and track the skills needed for employee success. 

A holistically designed employee performance review software like Leapsome can help you boost performance with customizable review templates and track improvement metrics.

🚀 Leapsome lets you customize performance reviews for employee development

Leverage the customizable templates in our performance review tool to save time and boost company performance 

👉 Schedule a demo
Written By

Leapsome Team

Written by the team at Leapsome — the all-in-one people enablement platform for driving employee engagement, performance, and learning.

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