Performance reviews are key to offering helpful feedback to a manager or employee.
But not knowing what to say or write can make the process downright painful.
Especially on a deadline.
If you do annual performance reviews it's important to get it right. This is key to boosting employee engagement.
In this post we collected one hundred of the most useful phrases you can use during your next review.
If you're a manager these are great ways to communicate with your reports. If you're an employee these can work equally well for your self evaluation.
Why Worry About Phrasing?
Many of today's performance reviews aren't nearly as effective as they could be. Let me explain.
Fast Company reports that 74% of younger workers walk out of performance reviews UNSURE of what their managers actually think of their performance.
Because those reviews lack good performance evaluation comments.
This mirrors the fact that, according to our own research 79% of employees don't think their organization's review process is all that good to begin with.
No matter how good your performance reviews are, you could almost certainly do better.
If you want more inspiration these performance review examples are based off the book Effective Phrases For Performance Appraisals.
When you include these in your performance reviews you'll communicate positive AND constructive feedback more clearly.
Exactly the kind of useful communication employees need.
Keep in mind that these are starter phrases and you should be specific when you're writing any feedback for reviews.
01. Achieves optimal levels of performance and accomplishment with / for ...
02. Provides strong evidence of [specific accomplishment]
03. Excels at developing programs / strategies that have delivered X results
04. Improved production by X% through [specific task]
05. Exceeded the original goal of X by X% through [specific task]
06. Continuously examines administrative effectiveness and seeks better procedures such as [tasks]
07. Develops successful administrative strategies such as [task] that led to [results]
08. Establishes effective systems for information retrieval through [task]
09. Improves administrative support systems through [task]
10. Keeps documents organized via [task] to avoid duplicate information
11. Shows a sincere interest in employees and the solutions to their problems
12. Lends support and guidance to employees by [task]
13. Uses sound coaching techniques to solve disciplinary problems
14. Provides continuous coaching
15. Is highly respected by employees for sharing concerns, problems, and opportunities
16. Effectively communicates expectations
17. Excels in facilitating group discussions
18. Keeps meetings action oriented by task
19. Effectively communicates upward, downward, and laterally
20. Enforces company policies and values without creating negative reactions
22. Shares ideas and techniques
23. Builds strong relationships with others by [task]
24. Displays a harmonious and cooperative spirit by [task]
25. Gladly shares expertise
26. Seeks creative alternatives such as [examples] that drove [results]
27. Clever and imaginative when confronted with obstacles
28. Is continuously experimenting to drive [results]
29. Initiates and executes creative ideas such as [example]
30. Seeks new ideas and approaches
31. Empowers employees with the authority and resources to achieve X results
32. Helps employees gain visibility through [task]
33. Encourages employees to solve their own problems
34. Delegates to match personal strengths
35. Delegates with clearly defined responsibility and authority
36. Develops continuous improvement methods
37. Conceives of totally new strategies
38. Continues to grow and improve
39. Devises improved means of accomplishing results
40. Is continuously planning for improvement
41. Develops innovative strategies such as [example] ...
42. Is very innovative under adverse conditions
43. Seeks innovative solutions
44. Fosters a curiosity for innovative possibilities
45. Promotes innovation by[example]
46. Recognizes the needs of others and reaches out to lend a helping hand
47. Establishes effective working relationships
48. Generates synergy
49. Builds on mutual dependence and understanding
50. Promotes the company culture among peers
51. Displays an ability to learn rapidly and adapt quickly to changing situations
52. Shares learning experience with peers
54. Committed to continuously learning through [example]
55. Responds quickly to new instructions, situations, methods, and procedures
56. Provides team with support through [example]
57. Collaborates with individual team members to establish a development path
58. Holds employees accountable for their own results
59. Provides team with the resources needed to attain results
60. Provides support during periods of organizational change
61. Develops workable action plans
62. Creates flexible plans to meet changing opportunities
63. Effectively puts plans into action
64. Excels in developing strategic alternatives
65. Effectively formulates strategies, tactics, and action plans to drive X results
66. Is capable of distinguished performance in a higher-level position
67. Has reached the level for promotional consideration
68. Can handle bigger projects and assignments
69. Is making a strong effort to acquire greater experience and skills to increase potential for advancement
70. Is enhancing growth potential through additional education and training
71. Displays a practical approach to solving problems
73. Turns problems into opportunities
74. Effectively solves problems rather than symptoms
75. Is skilled in proposing optional solutions
76. Exceeds normal output standards
77. Continuously produces more than expected
78. Is an important contributor to the successes of the department
79. Makes a substantial contribution to the continued operation and growth of the organization
80. Consistently exceeds performance goals
81. Completed X project with X results
82. Sets realistic timetables to keep projects on target
83. Is transparent with a project's progress
84. Makes effective use of all available resources when given a project
85. Clearly establishes project goals and objectives
86. Gives consistent recognition to employees
87. Maintains a work situation which stimulates the growth of individual employees
88. Makes certain that employees have a clear understanding of their responsibilities
89. Is readily available for support to employees
90. Recognizes and deals with signs of employee burnout
91. Consistently meets all deadlines
92. Prepares meeting agendas that are concise and time-saving
93. Keeps meetings on schedule
94. Respects the time of others
95. Makes effective use of discretionary time
96. Excels in living the organization's values
97. Promotes strong support of the company's mission and vision
98. Is able to turn visions into actual action plans
99. Demonstrates an ability to transfer vision into execution
100. Excels in contributing to the company's goals
These words mean nothing unless you attach specific examples and data to them.
Now you have the template and phrases to get started, it's time to re-evaluate your performance review process and make sure it's truly effective.
When review cycles have a 12-month lag, it’s easy for managers to focus on what’s fresh in their minds.
But this brushes aside any positive or negative behavior that has gone unaddressed.
Lisa Mullen, Manager of Corporate Human Resources at Halogen Software, says, “The review process should be a year-round activity.
Managers should take the opportunity to discuss and record milestones, accomplishments, successes, and challenges as they occur, when the details are fresh.”
In order to really gauge how an employee is performing, you need to poke and prod indirect managers, team leads, peers, or even employees from other departments.
Globoforce highlights the importance of crowdsourcing feedback:
- 80% of employees see crowdsourced feedback as more accurate
- 80% of peer-reviewed employees get a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses
Employees want to be evaluated by people other than their direct managers.
Multiple viewpoints allow you to get a better understanding of an employee’s performance.
That's why you should use a tool like TINYpulse to keep a pulse on your employees and get comprehensive feedback from their peers, collaborators and external stakeholders, on an ongoing basis.
If you're not sure what performance review process works for you, ask your employees about it!
Cindy from Wheelhouse DMG shares how she uses TINYpulse to crowdsource ideas to design their performance review process and became a huge success for the company.
"And, the feedback we collected afterwards, after reviews were done, is 'This is so much easier, much better lift,' and the whole process felt better for everybody.
--Cindy Larson, Director of People and Operations at Wheelhouse DMG
- For the Best Performance Reviews, Try Focusing on Frequency
- How to Create a Truly Effective Performance Review Process
- Why Companies Can’t Get Rid of Performance Reviews