Are the employee performance evaluation forms important?
The short answer is that the forms you use to review employee performance shouldn't be as important as most managers think. After all, forms are just bits of paper with printing on them, and forms don't improve performance. People do. The essential part of performance evaluation has little to do with the the forms, and much more to do with the communcation that takes place between the manager and supervisor.
That said, many managers, when given a performance appraisal form to complete, focus far to much on getting the form completed, and do ONLY what the form requires, even if it's as trivial as ticking off some boxes or circling some rating items. When managers do that, the whole process fails.
So, is there a practical importance for performance management forms? Yes. They serve to provide a paper trail to document discussions about performance between manager and employee. When done properly, and used properly, they show that the manager has sat down, and informed the employee of any performance related problems, and that "proof" can be useful if an employee claims some sort of discrimination has occurred. Also, forms serve to provide a permanent record, which can be useful for making decisions about promotions, merit pay, and so on.
However, when the process is done incorrectly, there are potential downsides.