Performance Review Examples You Should Steal

There are plenty of performance review examples you can use, but how do you know which one is the best for your team?

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behavioral competencies
Take the guesswork out of performance reviews.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Try to make performance reviews as comfortable as possible for your employee
  • Having your employees do a self evaluation may be beneficial
  • 360-degree reviews allow peers to review each other

If you’ve ever tried just Googling “performance reviews,” you might have been surprised about the number of results. So many come up! There are literally hundreds — if not thousands — of performance review examples on the internet.

If you’re looking to put together a formal performance review process for the first time or are looking to take a new people operations approach to reviews, the options can be overwhelming to say the least. That’s why we’ve chosen three of the best performance review examples that you should steal.

Use performance review examples as a guide, customizing them to your employees.

The best part? Nothing is set in stone! You can take what you like and leave what you don’t. You can absolutely copy these performance review examples word for word if you’d like. But you can also customize them to your liking as well. It’s all about discovering what works for you.

If nothing else, consider these three examples as jumping off points for making your own, unique performance preview process.

Tips for conducting performance reviews

No matter what kind of performance review you choose to go with, there are a few tips and tricks that make any review process more effective.

Make it comfortable

First, make the process and the environment that surrounds it as comfortable as possible. Everyone knows how anxiety-inducing and just generally uncomfortable performance reviews can be. So do what you can to minimize the anxiety so that people can focus on what matters: continuing what they’re doing well and work to improve on the areas where they can grow.

Make your performance reviews more like a conversation instead of one-way communication.

The key to a comfortable environment is to make it more like a conversation than a one-way communication from manager to team member. Of course, managers are generally leading the process, but it should feel collaborative. Consider doing reviews outside of the office to minimize work interruptions.

Avoid tying everything to punitive measures

Finally, avoid tying the processes to punitive measures. If anything serious comes up, an adequate response is necessary even if that includes punitive measures. But outside of the extreme, make it a common and casual exchange.

We all have strengths and weaknesses. Make sure that it’s clear that the review process is exactly that — a review that’s designed to help you improve. Do not make it a berating session that covers all the places a person falls short. Then, of course, make sure that the process is carried out this way as well so that it’s not just lip service.

The basic performance review example

Especially if you’re just getting started with performance reviews at your small business, it can often be best to start simple.

Performance reviews don’t have to be overly lengthy or complicated. It’s often more about the process and the clarity and structure it provides than anything else. Performance reviews are also an opportunity to learn where managers or the company is failing its employees, so consider asking questions like:

  • How would you rate the team’s performance this (year, quarter, etc.)?
  • What are you most proud of accomplishing and why?
  • Which goals did you meet? Which ones did you fall short on? Why?
  • Do you feel supported in your role? How can that support be improved or supplemented?
  • What are your ideal working conditions that allow you to be the most productive?
  • What helps you do your job effectively?
  • Which parts of your job do you like best and least? Why?
  • What are two or three things that you want to focus on this (year, quarter, etc.)?

You’ve probably noticed that there are a bunch of “why” questions in here. The key is to not just get answers but get insight that can help employees progress and managers better support them.

The self-evaluation performance review example

Another way to approach performance reviews is to take a self-evaluation approach. With this method, the employee essentially reviews themselves by responding to first person questions. Then managers and employees go over the answers and talk through them together.

Self-evaluations can be used in conjunction with basic performance reviews.

If you want to go the self-evaluation route, some of the questions you can consider asking include:

  • What achievement or goal am I most proud of?
  • What was a challenge I faced that I handled well?
  • Which projects did I enjoy most?
  • Which part of my job is my favorite?
  • Which projects did I enjoy least?
  • Which part of my job is my least favorite?
  • What goals or areas did I fall short in?
  • What areas am I weakest in?
  • How can I improve in those areas?
  • Where do I want to be in the company next year?
  • Where do I want to be in the company in the next five years?

The 360-degree performance review example

Tons of companies use the popular 360–degree method for performance reviews. In the 360-degree method, employees select roughly three to five other people they’ve worked without throughout the review period to review them. Typically, employees also review themselves as well.

When putting a 360-degree review together for external reviewers, consider asking yes or no questions along with a why/how element like:

  • This person effectively prioritizes their time and meets deadlines.
  • This person exhibits leadership skills.
  • This person has strong interpersonal skills.
  • This person provides fair and actionable feedback.
  • This person embodies our company value of X.
  • What are this person’s biggest strengths?
  • What are this person’s biggest weaknesses?
  • What are 4 words that you’d use to describe this person?
  • Where would you like to see this person improve?
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