Performance Appraisal Forms (With Template and Sample)

Measuring your employees’ performance is an essential tool to evaluate success and encourage improvement. One tool employers use is an appraisal form, which they may refer to during an employee evaluation or performance review. Read on to learn what you should include in your employee appraisal forms and how to implement them with your team.
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What is an appraisal form?

An appraisal form is a document that managers and human resources staff use to evaluate the performance of employees. The form often includes ratings and room for comments on performance. On an appraisal form, managers keep track of employees’ achievements and contributions during a specific period. They also indicate the employees’ areas of strength and weakness.

Managers often use the performance appraisal form to guide them through an employee’s performance review by highlighting specific items to discuss. When going through the appraisal form, both the employee and manager can work together to create goals for the employee.

Related: Employee Evaluation Form

How to create an appraisal form

A well-made performance appraisal form helps both you and the employee understand what the employee is doing well and how they can improve. Include relevant appraisal factors that break down the evaluation by different skills and qualities. Customize the form to fit your company’s goals and the metrics you want to track for your employees.

Here’s what to include when creating an appraisal form:

1. A rating rubric

Think of the key objectives of an employee’s role and separate them into different categories. Then, rate how well they’re meeting each objective. A common rating system is the 5-point rating scale. Detail what each rating means to help managers in different departments rate employees consistently. Here’s an example of what each number signifies in this type of rating scale:

  • 1 = Poor (consistently fails to meet expectations)
  • 2 = Fair (frequently fails to meet expectations) 
  • 3 = Good (usually meets expectations)
  • 4 = Very Good (frequently surpasses expectations)
  • 5 = Excellent (consistently surpasses expectations)

2. The employee’s achievements

Most employers fill out a new appraisal form for each performance review. Highlight the employee’s greatest achievements during the review period. Include what projects the employee successfully completed or what they did well.

3. What the employee can improve on

Think about what areas the employee could improve on. For instance, an employee might not communicate well with the team or they might show up late frequently, hurting their productivity.

4. Improvements since the last review

If the employee has already had a performance review, note the things they have or haven’t improved since your last meeting. Detail what actions they took to meet their previous goals. By reflecting on what worked for them, they can use this insight for their new goals.

5. The employee’s professional goals

Help the employee create new professional goals for this next review period. Choose SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals so the employee is more likely to accomplish this goal in a set timeframe.

6. Comments from the employee

The employee comments section lets employees explain themselves in writing. Here they can include why their work isn’t meeting company standards, or they could express what they enjoy about their position.

Performance appraisal template

An appraisal form should help you thoroughly evaluate your employees. It’s a useful tool to keep track of their efforts and achievements.

Here is a performance appraisal template you can use:

Employee’s name:
Supervisor’s name:
Review period:
Date of performance review:

[Objective 1]: [rating]

[Objective 2]: [rating]

[Objective 3]: [rating]

[Objective 4]: [rating]

[Objective 5]: [rating]

Overall rating: [number]/25


Areas of improvement:

Actions the employee took to improve from their previous review:

Professional goals:

Employee’s comments:

Appraisal form example

Fully complete an employee’s appraisal form so they can learn how they’re doing in each aspect of their job.

Here is an example to get you started:

Employee’s name: Lisa Nelson
Position: Marketing specialist
Department: Marketing
Supervisor’s name: Jorge Diaz
Review period: 7/1/19-1/1/20
Date of performance review: 1/12/20

Collaboration: 4
Lisa participated actively in the team meetings for the latest marketing campaign. She collaborated well with the graphic designer on the campaign to ensure the graphics matched the campaign goals.

Work ethic: 5
Lisa has thrown herself into her new position and is putting in the effort to understand and excel at her new responsibilities.

Problem-solving: 3
Because she’s new in the position, Lisa tends to go to her supervisor immediately when she faces a problem. She’s slowly gaining more confidence in herself and learning how to work through problems when they arise.

Decision making: 5
Lisa shows good judgment when developing marketing materials. She consistently uses market research on customer trends to make decisions about marketing campaigns.

Organization: 4
Lisa usually arrives on time and is ready to start work immediately. On the two days she arrived late during this review period, she worked late to work her full shift. Her organizational skills allow her to work efficiently on her marketing campaigns.

Overall rating: 21/25

Achievements: During her review period, Lisa was promoted from marketing associate to marketing specialist. In this new role, she is working hard to prove that she is ready for more responsibilities. 

Areas of improvement: Lisa could improve on trying to solve problems before seeking assistance.

Actions the employee took to improve from their previous review: Her previous goal was to come to work on time more consistently. Lisa made great strides in achieving this goal. When she comes in late occasionally, she is sure to stay late to make up her time.

Professional goals: During our review, Lisa expressed that she wants to be confident in her new role. She’s working toward this goal by trying to rely on herself to solve more problems. 

Employee’s comments: This has been a busy review period for me. Now that I know my strengths and weaknesses, I look forward to working toward my new goals. 

Frequently asked questions about appraisal forms

Appraisal forms are a great way employers can keep track of their employees’ performance. The key is to make sure you’re consistently filling the form out with impactful appraisal comments so you can accurately rate your employees.

Here are common questions employers ask about appraisal forms:

Can employees have an appraisal form to fill out?

Before your employee’s performance review, give them a self-evaluation form to complete that has them identify their strengths and areas for improvement. This can help them reflect on their efforts and gives you or their manager a good idea of how the employee thinks they’re doing.

Why are appraisal forms important?

They’re important because it helps the employer create an objective evaluation of an employee. When team members receive regular feedback, they can focus their attention on areas they need to improve and feel motivated by learning their strengths.

Should employers get appraisal forms?

To learn how you’re doing as an employer, you could have your staff fill out an appraisal form to evaluate you. Employees may appreciate that you’re putting in the effort to be a better leader.

What is the best appraisal method?

The best appraisal method can vary based on industry, your evaluation goals and your preferences. Using a numerical ranking system helps you quantify performance and make easy comparisons from one evaluation to the next. Combining the rankings with written statements and specific examples gives a well-rounded picture of the employee’s performance.

What is the difference between a performance appraisal and a performance evaluation?

The terms performance appraisal and performance evaluation are often used interchangeably. They both describe the process of reviewing an employee’s work. A performance review is another common term used to describe the evaluation process. Your company can determine how often to conduct evaluations using the performance appraisal forms and how to implement them.

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