Upgrade Your Annual Employee Performance Review With These Effective Performance Management Tools

Among many other annual events and occurrences in companies, the employee performance review is a very crucial one. It is a huge part of the performance management process, where employees are rated by their managers (or sometimes by co-workers) according to their performance in various areas of their job. Whether you are a new manager or you have long years of experience in leading teams, the employee performance management process is as cardinal an event for all managers, as it might be for their employees. After all, leading teams is also about improving the performance of each team member, and this is where the employee performance review plays its part. 

As a manager, you are probably aware of the fact that you cannot just review your employees at the last minute by consolidating their efforts or performance from the last few months. Managing employee performance is more than judging the workers based on how they have fared lately, it needs to be a year-long process and deserves a lot of careful thought being put into it. All good performance review best practices include planning well ahead of time at the top of the list. So what makes a good employee performance review template? As a general rule, a good performance management process should include the following 4 stages that will help to assess workers in the most accurate way and later on help to improve employee performance, irrespective of the template you choose to follow.

The 4 stages of performance management are planning, monitoring, mentoring, and reviewing – in that order. 

You might also be interested to read: Reinventing Key Performance Indicators For Employees

In the planning stage, employees are assigned personal tasks or goals that they need to achieve based on clearly defined success metrics. Then they are monitored and their activities tracked as they go about meeting their goals. This is most likely coupled with regular feedback and follow-ups. Then comes the mentoring part, wherein any challenges faced during tasks are addressed and employees are given a chance to improve their potential. The final stage is the performance review. In this stage employees and managers have a one-on-one meeting and the progress report of the entire term is discussed and employees may even be appraised based on their ratings.

Often times when the HR or managers don’t make use of effective performance management tools, appraisals can get tricky. Having a proper employee performance management software in place helps to a great extent as it allows the HR or the team leaders to measure the performance of the employees in the best possible way. Employee performance review templates are such tools that most managers swear by. Although there are various templates to measure employee performance, the 3 most common ones are: 

The performance review scale 

This is probably the most common method of employee performance management used by companies. It is a tool that helps managers to measure and rate his/her employees based on clearly defined criteria regarding their performance and behavior. A set of predetermined questions are used to help the HR or manager to rate and review the employees. Some of the basic but very important questions on this scale are ‘whether the employee has successfully achieved his/her personal goals/objectives?’, ‘whether the employee has fulfilled all the required performance criteria?’, ‘whether the employee has fulfilled all the requirements of the position that he/she occupies in the company?’, ‘has the employee demonstrated exceptional skill levels in the required field?’, ‘how well has the employee managed in challenging environments?’, ‘is the employee suitable for a bigger responsibility or a higher role/position?’, ‘how are the employee’s planning and organization skills, team work skills, problem-solving skills, and other relevant skills’ so on and so forth.

The competency measuring model

Another great performance management tool that managers use to assess their employees’ performance is by basing them off the core competencies of their job. Every job has a certain set of competencies, there are core competencies and role-specific competencies that are a prerequisite for successfully fulfilling any particular job in an organisation. These set of core competencies are usually set by the main directorial body of the organisation, and each and every employee needs to be proficient at these core competencies. While on the other hand, job-specific competencies might be set by the manager. To use the competency measuring model as part of your performance management process, managers need to consolidate a set of certain important competencies that they believe are necessary to measure how the employees have fared.

Based on the particular set of competencies that the manager selects, the employees’ performance can be observed and their behavior assessed. It also helps sometimes to set specific benchmarks to meet the competency scale. However, not all organizations have clearly defined a set of core and non-core competencies, as setting up a framework of competencies can be a time-consuming and expensive affair. For those companies that do, it helps the managers a great deal during the annual or bi-annual performance review process.

The 360 feedback model

The 360 feedback model includes, in addition to the managers, the HR and the bosses, the coordinates or colleagues of an employee too, as they get a chance to provide their input in the performance review. This is very similar in approach to the basic performance review scale but has more reviewers for every candidate, making it a balanced model that is looked at from various perspectives. Since multiple viewpoints are shared for each employee by their peers, colleagues, managers, and even clients sometimes, there is sufficient feedback to help rate and review each employee. However, due to the nature of this model, a lot of time is spent in assessing and reviewing one person at a time, hence this model is not commonly used for the whole organization, and may be used only to assess the higher executives and managers. 

In summation, since every company is different, with different policies, different visions, and operates on different levels across the organizational hierarchy, it can be difficult to have a one-size-fits-all employee performance review template. But, the above-mentioned models are highly effective tools that can be customized according to the needs of the organization to help managers in appraising their employees in a fair and impartial manner.


  • “The One Employee Performance Review Template to Rule Them All”, Erick Van Vulpen, AIHR digital 
  • “360 Degree Feedback”

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