How to Create an Appraisal Template – With Examples

Sep 7, 2023 | Appraisals and Performance Reviews

good and bad appraisal template

Creating an effective employee appraisal template is crucial for organisations to accurately assess employee performance and provide valuable feedback. A well-designed template can streamline the appraisal process, ensure consistency in performance reviews, and help identify areas for improvement. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to create an appraisal template. And ensure that it is tailored to your organisation’s needs and objectives.

Every organisation is different, so it is difficult to simply pick an appraisal template off the shelf. That’s why we are going to show you the process of how to create your own template. The thinking that needs to go into it, and point out a few pitfalls to avoid.

We have also written about how to design a performance review process around your new appraisal, if you want to take a look at that. 



Benefits of Using an Appraisal Template


  • Ensure that all employee appraisals follow a standardised format
  • Gives all employees and their manager a consistent guide to completing the review
  • Maintain consistency in language, tone, and style



  • Eliminate the need to start from scratch for each new appraisal
  • Save time by pre-populating common sections and information
  • Focus on the analysis and evaluation rather than formatting and layout


Unified Reporting

  • With standard sections, it is easier to centrally report on the data you are getting back


What Purpose Does The Appraisal Template Serve?

It’s tempting to think that a performance review template service a single function – to review an employee’s past performance. But they offer much more than that. Understanding what else the appraisal gives you is key to developing your own appraisal template.


Helping The Manager and Employee Directly

  1. Highlighting Achievements: Appraisals provide a formal platform for employees to present their accomplishments. This can be particularly valuable for those who may not be naturally vocal about their successes throughout the year.
  2. Career Aspirations: They are an excellent occasion for employees to discuss their future within the company. Whether they’re eyeing a particular role, seeking a new kind of project, or considering further studies. This conversation can set the stage.
  3. Two-way Feedback Channel: While managers provide feedback to employees, the appraisal process also allows employees to give upward feedback. This exchange can shed light on management styles, departmental challenges, or areas where the manager might assist the employee better.
  4. Development Planning: Performance reviews aren’t just about looking back; they’re about looking forward. Together, the manager and employee can identify areas for growth, potential training, or skills to hone. Setting a clear developmental roadmap for the coming year.
  5. Building Relationships: The formal nature of appraisals often belies the fact that they’re deeply personal. These discussions can strengthen the bond between a manager and their team member, fostering trust and mutual respect.
  6. Acknowledging Challenges: Not all parts of a job are smooth sailing. Appraisals allow for open conversations about challenges faced, be it resources, inter-departmental cooperation, or external factors. Acknowledging these can lead to solutions and strategies to overcome them in the future.


Helping Your Organisation

  1. Aligning with Organisational Goals: Appraisals ensure that individual goals align with broader company objectives. This alignment ensures everyone is rowing in the same direction, contributing to the overall mission of the organisation.
  2. Reinforcing Company Values: Through appraisals, companies can emphasise the importance of their core values. Whether it’s teamwork, innovation, or customer focus, the review process can highlight how an employee exemplifies these values. Or highlight areas they can better integrate them into their work.
  3. Collect Data for Central Analysis: The appraisal template can be used to capture data on many things. Such as employee wellbeing, engagement, talent information, mobility. The list goes on. Crucially though, because it is collected in a uniform template, it makes it easy to analyse the data centrally. This gives you invaluable company wide insights.



How to Create An Appraisal Template

Over the years, we have learn the unwritten rules to creating an appraisal template. Namely;

  • Don’t make them too simple – they will offer no value
  • Don’t make them too big – they will scare employees off
  • Don’t make them too complicated – employees be will reluctant to complete them
  • Only add a section if
    • It’s either useful for the manager and employee in the meeting or for future planning, or
    • If you want the data centrally and you are going to act on it


With the rules laid down, let’s now look at how you can go about creating your own appraisal template.


Basic Appraisal Template

Every appraisal should have at least these 2 sections. But, we don’t think you can get away with just these two.

As an absolution minimum, start with a review against the objectives the employee has been working on. Each objective should be discussed in turn. So make sure there is place for both the manager and employee to add comments and possibly a rating.

Moving on, you will need a section at the end of the appraisal to summarise overall performance. This is normally the place where you would collect overall performance ratings too.

Learn how to design your perfect performance rating scheme.


Once you have these basics in place, read on to explore what else you should add to your template.


Appraisal Template Sections to Help The Discussion Flow

Often, it is a good idea to add one or two sections to help the performance review discussion flow. Performance review questions like:

  • What went well?
  • What didn’t go so well?
  • What are you most proud of?


They help tease information out of employees and often yield good discussion points. You might want to expand on these questions a little to offer some guidance. For exmaple;

What went well?

Thinking about the last 12 month, list three things that you think went well and why.


Given the nature of the questions above, it’s tempting to only ask the employee, and not their manager. But, we think this is a missed opportunity. It is often a good idea to ask the manager as well. For example, if the manager and direct report were asked “What went well?” and they gave different answers, that is an excellent talking point. Think about it – the employee may not have recognised that they did a good job on project X. So it is good for them to hear this.


Sections to Review Performance Against Organisationally Important Things

If your organisation has published organisational values, you might want employees to review their performance against these values. Other examples are competency based reviews and reviewing behaviours.


Sections to Help The Employee and Manager Directly


Feedback From Others

The review form should encourage both the manager and direct report to get feedback from others in the organisation. This is needed so that you are not reliant on just the manager’s opinion in isolation. Performance management software like PerformanceHub’s 360 Feedback makes this super simple.


Career Aspirations and Professional Development

Add a section to ask the employee to outline their career aspirations. This is great for sparking debate and framing the the next section – personal development.


Personal Development Plan

In this section, an actionable plan should be created to help the employee develop. To information from the sections above will help with this. For example, feedback from others, performance against past objectives, and the employee’s career aspirations all feed into this to help formulate the personal development plan.



Sections for The Organisation

An appraisal template is a great place to capture data you might want to use for other processes, or employee analysis. For example;

  • Employee Wellbeing Questions. Not only can this help the manager and employee directly, but you will have central data to help you understand wellbeing in your organisation as a whole
  • Talent Management Questions. Such as whether the employee is ready to move onto the next role or whether a successor has been identified
  • Mobility. Find out if the employee is willing to re-locate and if so, how far (another office, another town or another country)
  • Manager’s Manager. Although getting a 3rd person involved in the review can slow your performance management process, it can have benefits. If the manager is new to completing appraisals, they can offer a check-point. Also, it’s good for employee engagement. Knowing that your manager’s manager can see an overview of your performance is a great motivator (for better or worse).




By streamlining your performance management process with an appraisal template, you can save time, maintain consistency, and produce professional-looking reports. With the detailed guide provided in this blog post, you’ll be able to create and customise your own template to suit your specific needs and requirements. Say goodbye to the tedious task of starting from scratch for each new appraisal and embrace the efficiency and professionalism that a template can bring to your appraisal process.


Furthermore, consider utilising performance management software like PerformanceHub to automate and simplify the appraisal process even further. It can handle various aspects, such as employee well-being questions, talent management inquiries, and mobility considerations. By leveraging technology, you can gather valuable data to understand the well-being of your organisation as a whole and make informed decisions about employee growth and development. Check out how you can configure an appraisal template in PerformanceHub


In conclusion, implementing an appraisal template and utilising performance management software can revolutionise your appraisal process, enabling you to make data-driven decisions and enhance overall organisational efficiency. Start creating your appraisal template today and experience the benefits it can bring to your organisation.


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