Performance Reviews

Streamline Your Employee Evaluations With These 7 Performance Review Templates

April 5, 2024
April 5, 2024
Rosanna Campbell
Lattice Team

Performance reviews get a bad rap. Employees find them stressful, and managers find them time-consuming. 

But with performance management ranking as a top HR priority in 2024, it may be time for a rethink. Performance review templates can help make the review process less of a headache. By offering managers a simple, standardized way to appraise their team’s performance, templates can make the performance evaluation process less painful and more beneficial for employees and organizations alike. 

In this article, we’ll break down the basics of conducting effective performance reviews, and showcase some of the free, done-for-you templates you can pick up from our website to help get you started. 

What is a performance review?

A performance review is a formal assessment of an employee’s performance within an organization. It acts as an opportunity for managers to share actionable, constructive feedback with their direct reports, recognize their achievements, and help improve any areas of underperformance. 

At least, that’s what a performance review should be. However, 2023 research by shows that more than two-thirds of HR professionals feel that their performance management process doesn’t accurately portray employee performance. Performance reviews in general also have a reputation for unfairness, vagueness, and bias

Using a performance review template can help improve performance reviews for both the organization and the employees. In fact, the same survey found that organizations with excellent performance management were significantly more likely to use a structured, formalized process than companies with poor performance management. 

This makes sense — a template can help guide the process, making sure that: 

  • Employees are evaluated on the same predetermined criteria, reducing the risk of appraiser bias 
  • Every performance review covers the necessary information, so they’re useful for employees 
  • Even managers with little experience will be able to offer a helpful and thorough performance appraisal 
  • Performance is evaluated in ways that line up with organizational goals and priorities, not those of the individual manager

What to Include in an Employee Performance Review

To be genuinely useful for employees and managers alike, a performance review should include the following: 

  • Basic information — such as the employee’s name, job title, and the reviewer’s name and role
  • The review period — to keep track of which point in time is being reviewed 
  • A relevant, calibrated performance rating scale — the metrics you’ll use to measure past performance. For more information, check out our guide to creating an effective rating system.
  • Evaluation criteria — exploring how each employee is evaluated and why, to keep managers and direct reports on the same page 
  • Goal-setting — to help employees understand their next steps, as well as the reason for each goal 
  • Employee strengths and weaknesses — to make sure that the performance review is balanced and motivating, rather than overly critical
  • Key competencies and core values — the organization’s list of crucial competencies for the role, team, and company, as well as the values that the company espouses and the desired employee behavior

7 Types of Performance Evaluations (With Free Templates) 

Our research shows that employees need frequent praise and recognition, and clearly defined responsibilities, to do their best work. Establishing a regular cadence of performance reviews is a great way to make sure that employees know what they should be prioritizing and feel acknowledged for their efforts, which can result in higher levels of employee engagement. 

If you don’t already have a formal performance review cycle or are looking to level up your evaluations, here are a few review options you may want to introduce. 

1. Annual Performance Review 

Purpose: Annual performance reviews are the foundation of any performance management program. They act as a temperature check on how an employee is progressing toward professional and personal goals, and they can be used in key decisions around compensation and promotion. 

What to Include: Employee performance evaluation ratings, based on: 

  • Core competencies
  • Goals 
  • Company values 
  • Workload management 
  • Areas for improvement 

Free Lattice Template: Annual Performance Review Template

2. Quarterly Check-In

Purpose: Quarterly follow-ups ensure that managers and employees stay on the same page, and they create opportunities for recognizing achievements as well as prompt course correction for any areas of underperformance. Quarterly performance reviews are especially valuable for teams focused on short-term priorities and projects.

What to Include: 

  • Quarterly accomplishments and achieved objectives 
  • Any lessons learned that quarter
  • Employee growth goals for the next three months 
  • Manager insights into the employee’s overall performance that quarter 
  • Suggestions for employee areas of improvement for next quarter
  • Any additional employee needs for the following quarter 

Free Lattice Template: Quarterly Performance Review Template

3. Mid-Year Performance Review 

Purpose: Mid-year performance reviews create a biannual opportunity for managers and employees to give feedback, offer ongoing support for professional development, and ensure the employee’s alignment with their year-end goals and the company’s overall objectives. 

What to Include: 

  • An employee self-report on their achievements and challenges in the previous six months 
  • A manager evaluation of the employee’s progress toward future goals and overall job performance 
  • The manager’s suggestions for growth and skills development opportunities
  • A list of any additional resources or support the employee needs 

Free Lattice Template: Mid-Year Performance Review Template 

4. 90-Day Review 

Purpose: Supporting new hires during their first 90 days requires time, intention, and attention to detail throughout the onboarding experience. It’s crucial to have a manager touch base with new hires to assess how they’re feeling about the role and whether they’re on the right track after three months. These discussions also give new hires the chance to share feedback and begin to put together a career development plan. 

What to Include: 

  • A self-evaluation from the new hire on their own progress
  • Feedback from the new employee about the onboarding process
  • Key focus areas identified by the manager 
  • An opportunity for peer reviews 

Free Lattice Template: 90-Day Review Template

5. Employee Self-Evaluation 

Purpose: A self-evaluation (also known as a self-review or self-assessment) is an opportunity for employees to share their perspectives on their own performance, actions, and choices. Self-evaluations give leadership an understanding of how their direct reports view themselves in relation to the team and the company as a whole. 

What to Include: 

  • Major accomplishments 
  • Progress toward goals
  • Lessons learned
  • Challenges and learning requirements 
  • Job preferences 
  • Career goals
  • Needs from their manager
  • Alignment with company values 

Free Lattice Template: Self-Evaluation Template 

Further Reading: Tips for Writing a Strong Self-Evaluation (With Examples)

6. 360 Performance Review 

Purpose: 360-degree reviews give employees insight into how they fit into the organization as a whole. The main components of 360-degree performance reviews (self-directed, peer, manager, and upward reviews) work together to provide a holistic perspective on employee performance.

What to Include: 

  • Self-review 
  • Manager review
  • Peer review (review by team members) 
  • Upward review (review of the manager) 

Free Lattice Template: 360 Performance Review Template 

Further Reading: How to Write an Upward Review — Plus Examples

7. Performance Improvement Plan 

Purpose: A performance improvement plan (PIP) is an action plan to help an employee address areas of improvement. While a PIP is part of the process before or after an evaluation, it's designed to outline issues and next steps for improving performance so the employee is clear on what they’re expected to work on before their next evaluation.

What to Include: 

  • The area(s) of improvement, with specific examples
  • An action plan with tasks for both the manager and employee
  • Resources and support that the manager commits to providing
  • A timeline for updates
  • Expected outcomes (to document progress) 

Free Lattice Template: Performance Improvement Plan Template

3 Benefits of Using Employee Performance Review Templates

If you use simple performance review templates to handle your appraisal conversations, you should start to see some of the following advantages.

1. Greater Consistency and Fairness

Employee evaluation forms ensure all employees are evaluated using the same criteria. As a result, employees should feel that the review process is fairer. Meanwhile, your HR team will be able to derive more insight from the review process, as it becomes more standardized across the organization. 

2. Increased Efficiency

Performance reviews can be time-consuming, and that’s always a challenge for busy managers. Pre-designed templates should save managers from needing to start fresh each time, while still ensuring they give employees a thorough evaluation. 

3. Improved Transparency 

Templates make sure that every manager provides clear, comprehensive feedback, so employees really understand how they’re doing and why. Performance review templates also ensure that you capture all the details of the evaluation, which is helpful in case of any future issues or disputes. 

Performance Review Dos and Don’ts

To make sure that your review process is more than an exercise in box-checking, here are a few best practices: 


  • Focus on the negatives. Performance reviews that are excessively critical or negative are demotivating and unhelpful. Use a format that will ensure that managers offer employees praise and recognition for what’s working, as well as constructive, actionable feedback.
  • Rely on memory. Recency bias means that managers who rely on their memory of employee performance may overemphasize their most recent results, instead of assessing their overall performance. Instead, managers should keep notes of employee performance and document one-on-ones, so they can give a more accurate performance assessment.


  • Personalize your templates. Templates are a great place to start, but make sure you update them to reflect your unique company values and priorities. It’s also important to ensure that managers write a specific evaluation for each employee. Using a template is not an excuse to provide copy-pasted performance reviews for every team member.
  • Train your managers. Only 41% of surveyed US HR professionals either agree or strongly agree that managers have the skills and tools needed to conduct effective performance reviews. Most managers will need training on how to make the performance review a valuable, stress-free, two-way conversation. Be sure to offer managers instructions on how to handle difficult conversations, how to use the templates correctly, and what a truly helpful performance evaluation looks like.

Use Lattice to streamline your employee review templates.

Employee evaluation templates are a useful beginning, but they are more effective when driven by technology. Our 2024 State of People Strategy Report found that HR teams exceeding their goals are 2.6 times more likely to be investing in performance management software than the lowest performers are.

With Lattice Performance Management, you can automate the entire performance management program, making the process far easier for your HR team to handle efficiently. You can also use Lattice to apply performance discussions to an employee Growth plan, and tie individual development plans into organizational OKRs & Goals

To learn more about how Lattice can help you improve your next performance review cycle, set up a demo today.