3 min read

11 Free Performance Management Tools and Templates

11 Free Performance Management Tools and Templates

Effective performance management serves many purposes. From goal attainment to employee development to increasing motivation and productivity, managing the performance of your employees is an essential part of being a leader. 

However, knowing where to start and what to do can be challenging, and it’s not your fault. As Gallup put it on the topic of performance reviews, “most managers haven't been trained to evaluate performance, give feedback or charter a developmental plan.”

To help you with performance management, we’ve compiled a list of tools and resources leaders can use to level up their knowledge, ability, and confidence to deliver meaningful performance management to their employees.


What Are Performance Management Tools?

Performance management tools can take various forms, from software to templates, to processes and models. These employee performance management tools are designed to assist direct leaders in a continuous process to increase the performance and goal attainment of the individuals they manage.


Have Better Performance Conversations with the Performance Management Toolkit.   >>



11 Free Performance Management Tools and Templates

If you’re looking for tools, templates, and resources to help you feel better equipped to develop your employees, you’ve come to the right spot. Best of all, they are free!


Performance Management Process to Follow

If you’re unsure where to start with performance management, having a defined step-by-step process can make all the difference.


Performance Management Cycle

The performance management cycle is a four-step process that leaders can use to ensure they’re helping their employees achieve their goals, receive feedback and development, and celebrate their achievements.

Performance Management Cycle  - Niagara Institute (1)


Editable Templates

Take the frustration out of the performance management process by using one of the free employee performance management templates we’ve created.

Performance Improvement Plan TemplatePerformance Improvement Plan Template from Niagara Institute

Having difficult conversations with employees when they’re not meeting a performance standard can be stressful. However, a solid plan with points to discuss and a strategy to help them improve their performance will make this challenging conversation much more straightforward.

Performance Appraisal Template

Performance Review Template from Niagara InstituteDo you know what you should cover in a performance review? If not, download this editable appraisal template and a step-by-step process to ensure the core areas of a review are addressed and outcomes are recorded.



Start-Stop-Continue TemplateStart-Stop-Continue Template Mockup

Working with each individual on your team to take a step back and reflect on where they’re spending their time can be an invaluable way to help them improve their performance. Conducting a start-stop-continue conversation is fairly easy - work with your team members to formulate a plan of action on what activities they need to start, stop, and continue doing. To facilitate this conversation, we’ve created a performance management tool that captures the decisions you and your employee make regarding their time and focus.


Personal Development Plan Template from Niagara InstituteA significant part of performance management is evaluating the competencies that need to be developed and creating a plan to do so. So that’s why we’ve created an editable employee development plan template for you to co-create a learning plan with each of your employees to act as a roadmap of areas to develop in the year ahead.

Team Training PlanTraining Plan Template Mockup

Once you’ve completed a development plan for each employee, you’ll want to have a central document that outlines the needs of your team. Use this document to gain buy-in and support from stakeholders who will facilitate or fund the training and development each employee needs.


Email Templates

To help you with performance management, here are two email templates that will simplify the creation of your communication and documentation with employees. Use these templates to feel less stressed and, at the same time, increase your efficiency.

Documenting Performance Improvement Conversations Email Template

A critical step when addressing poor performance is following up on your conversation via email. This gives you and your employee documentation of the conversation, the performance issues, and the agreed-upon actions an employee will take to improve their performance.

Poor Performance Warning Email Template from Niagara Institute-1


Performance Review Agenda Template

Lessen the anxiety employees often face when it comes to performance appraisals by sending out an agenda that outlines what will be covered and your expectations before the meeting. Use this free email template to outline the agenda items and what your employee needs to prepare for the performance review meeting.

Pre-Performance Review Email Template from Niagara Institute


Leadership Resources

Being great at performance management requires a variety of leadership competencies. From hosting one-on-one meetings to giving feedback and goal setting, we’ve compiled a list of some of our most popular resources to help you.

Hosting 1:1 Meetings One on one meeting toolkit by Niagara Institute

As a people leader, check-in meetings are an integral part of performance management as they’re a chance to prioritize an employee’s development. They’re your opportunity to connect, receive updates on their development progress, offer advice, and provide coaching. Get everything you need to host productive meetings in this one-on-one meeting toolkit.

Giving Feedback

Constructive Feedback Summer Reading ListDespite the fear, anxiety, or discomfort those in leadership may feel towards giving feedback, employees today crave it. Not to mention, delivering feedback is critical to effectively coaching employees and helping them with performance management. Get tips, tricks, and real-life examples in this informative guide.


Niagara Institute Goal Setting Free Manager ToolThe first step in the performance management cycle is setting goals and creating an action plan to make them a reality. To make the goal-setting process easier and more actionable, we created the goal-setting workbook. It contains a four-step process along with several worksheets and templates, which you can use with your employees. 


Performance Management Toolkit PDF for Leaders

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