100 Useful Performance Review Phrases

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.

Workplace with tablet pc showing calendar and a cup of coffee on a wooden work table close-up

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]

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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



Communication Skills

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





21. Encourages collaboration with the team

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]


Great Leadership


Interpersonal Skills

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



Learning Ability

51. Displays an ability to learn rapidly and adapt quickly to changing situations

52. Shares learning experience with peers

53. Promotes a learning culture

54. Committed to continuously learning through [example]

55. Responds quickly to new instructions, situations, methods, and procedures



Management Ability

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


Performance Reviews



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


Problem Solving

71. Displays a practical approach to solving problems

72. Develops creative solutions

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


Project Management

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


Supervisory Skills

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


Did you know: Only 22% of employees believe their management  is very transparent, compared with 40% of managers?


Time Management

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


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Andrew Sumitani

Andrew Sumitani

January 08, 2020



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