148 Performance Review Phrases That Top Performing Teams Regularly Use

233 Performance Review Phrases that Top Performing Teams Regularly Use

Performance reviews are crucial for keeping your employee in check, recognizing talent, and positively affecting the future of your employees

But finding the right phrases to use during performance reviews is not that easy. Whether giving praise or criticizing, we often tend to downplay our feedback and keep things neutral. Or worse, we resort to cliche phrases without much meaning behind them. 

If you want your performance reviews to be powerful, impactful, and direct, you need to use performance review phrases that strike a chord with your employees and leave no room for misinterpretation. 

That’s why we handpicked the top 100+ performance review phrases that top managers use to provide targeted, clear and effective feedback in virtually any work-related scenario. 

Here are 148 performance reviews phrases that you can modify for your reviews and tips for maximizing their impact. 

Where Most Performance Reviews Go Wrong?

  • Making First Impressions. Beware of a tendency to make an initial first impression that could bias the judgment of future performances.

    Solution: make sure to have a logged history of performance reviews to rate behavior changes in the context of all previous evaluations. 
  • Recency Effect. There’s a psychological tendency to perceive the most recent information as being the most important.

    Solution: in some cases, e.g. if there’s a recent improvement in performance, timed praise can be valuable. In most cases, evaluate performance over longer periods of time.
  • Halo Effect. Contrary to negative first impressions, the halo effect causes people to focus on a single positive attribute and generalize other aspects of performance based on that.

    Solution: be aware of possible halo effects, re-evaluate all-around positive reviews, and collaborate with less-affected managers.
  • Central Tendency. The tendency to consistently rate employees near the midpoint of a scale. Such evaluation prevents identifying good and bad performers and damages the motivation of high achievers. 

Solution: be direct in giving more objective evaluations even when they seem more extreme compared to other performances. 

How To Conduct Successful Performance Reviews: Checklist

  1. Use Job-related Criteria.


  1. Use Strong and Precise Action Verbs.
  1. Use Qualifying Adverbs and Adjectives

Use only adverbs or adjectives that add nuance to your reviews. In other cases, we recommend using self-descriptive strong verbs.

  1. Don’t Rate People in Any Particular Order.

Do not rate the best or the worst performers first.

  1. Do Not Compare the Ratings of Employees

The only case where you could compare ratings of employees is when you help other managers identify personal biases. 

  1. Recognize That Performance Dimensions Are Not Always Related.

A person can perform well in one area but poorly in another.

Performance Review Phrases for Personal Skills and Core Competencies


Exceeds expectations

  • Does not compromise quality for volume
  • Consistently ranks among the top producers
  • Completes work ahead of schedule on a regular basis
  • Consistently exceeds targeted benchmarks
  • Diagnoses problems that hinder productivity
  • Stays focused even whenever unexpected events disrupt best-laid plans
  • Meets deadlines regardless of distractions or obstacles
  • Accurately estimates the time required to complete tasks
  • Frequently volunteers for additional tasks and completes them efficiently
  • Proactively identifies opportunities to streamline processes and enhance productivity
  • Demonstrates exceptional time management skills, balancing multiple projects seamlessly
  • Regularly contributes innovative ideas that lead to significant productivity improvements

Needs improvement

  • Consistently fails to meet output benchmarks
  • Lacks troubleshooting skills
  • Processes a low volume of work compared to her peers
  • Fails to foster collaboration and cooperation with other departments
  • Always seems busy but has not much to show for his work
  • Overwhelmed by an average workload
  • Fails to block her day into productive quadrants
  • Frequently misses deadlines, causing delays in project completion
  • Often requires supervision to stay on task and complete assignments
  • Shows a lack of initiative in finding ways to increase productivity
  • Frequently distracted by non-work-related activities during work hours

Communication Skills

Exceeds expectations

  • Cultivates a culture of openness and transparency in the exchange of information
  • Regularly seeks constructive feedback
  • Demonstrates charm and humor in all business interactions
  • Acts as a soothing influence when faced with anger or resentment
  • Builds strong working relationships with other internal teams
  • Clearly and concisely conveys complex information to diverse audiences
  • Actively listens and ensures all voices are heard during discussions
  • Handles sensitive information with discretion and professionalism
  • Consistently provides timely and constructive feedback to team members

Needs improvement

  • Readily assigns blame to others
  • Refuses to delegate their staff’s time to other departments when asked
  • Fails to communicate negative news upward
  • Is overly wordy to communicate a clear and persuasive message
  • Makes others feel insecure and uncomfortable when they ask for help
  • Struggles to articulate ideas effectively, leading to misunderstandings
  • Frequently interrupts others during conversations, preventing effective communication
  • Avoids difficult conversations, leading to unresolved issues
  • Does not actively listen, often missing key points in discussions

Technical Skills

Exceeds expectations

  • Makes proficient use of cutting-edge software tools
  • Uses statistical techniques and a methodical process to solve problems
  • Provides well-supported arguments for technical recommendations
  • Obtains and maintains technical and professional certifications
  • Quickly adapts to new technologies and integrates them into daily tasks
  • Demonstrates exceptional problem-solving abilities using advanced technical methods
  • Continuously seeks out and completes advanced training and certifications to stay ahead in the field.

Needs improvement

  • Refuses to apply and practice what he learned in his latest training course
  • Avoids documenting the steps necessary to repeat a procedure
  • Displays only basic technical skills when advanced knowledge is needed
  • Is not sufficiently informed about relevant software tools
  • Lacks necessary technical competence to generate confidence from clients
  • Struggles to troubleshoot and resolve technical issues independently
  • Relies heavily on others for technical support and guidance
  • Fails to keep up with industry advancements and new technologies
  • Demonstrates a lack of proficiency in using essential software and tools required for the job


Exceeds expectations

  • Inspired everyone around her positively with her desire to do exceptional work
  • Brought a distinct purpose and direction to each task
  • Had the highest internal drive of any employee
  • Brought a positive attitude and high level of energy to even routine tasks
  • Consistently sets ambitious goals and achieves them with enthusiasm
  • Demonstrates a proactive approach by taking initiative in all assignments
  • Encourages and motivates peers to excel and reach their full potential
  • Maintains high levels of motivation and productivity even in challenging situations

Needs improvement

  • Depended on the supervisor to give him the push to reach the goal
  • Was unwilling to take on additional assignments
  • Struggled to stay focused on even short-term projects
  • Stalled in his efforts to complete even routine tasks without constant prodding
  • Brought unproductive energy to every team she was assigned to
  • Frequently displays a lack of enthusiasm for assigned tasks
  • Often requires external motivation to begin and complete work
  • Shows reluctance to participate in team activities and projects
  • Demonstrates a negative attitude that affects the morale of the team


Exceeds expectations

  • Leads by personal example
  • Inspires staff to assume responsibility for their actions
  • Consistently gains respect from subordinates
  • Holds herself responsible for staff performance
  • Makes high probability decisions even when incomplete information is available
  • Demonstrates excellent levels of ethics and fairness
  • Effectively delegates tasks to develop team members’ skills and confidence
  • Promotes a collaborative and inclusive work environment that values diverse perspectives
  • Anticipates challenges and implements proactive strategies to overcome them
  • Consistently provides clear vision and direction, guiding the team toward shared goals

Needs improvement

  • Misleads subordinates by sending mixed signals about goals and priorities
  • Does not yet have confidence in his instincts to lead and motivate others
  • Sets unrealistically high expectations for himself and others
  • Uses his role to dominate and intimidate others
  • Fails to inspire enthusiasm for new projects and initiatives
  • Demonstrates a reactive, emergency-management style
  • Struggles to provide constructive feedback, leading to unresolved performance issues
  • Avoids making difficult decisions, leading to indecisiveness and delays
  • Fails to recognize and reward team members’ achievements, leading to low morale
  • Demonstrates inconsistent leadership, causing confusion and lack of trust among team members

Punctuality And Discipline

Exceeds expectations

  • Meets attendance and punctuality goals at all times
  • Plans, organizes and completes tasks in a reasonable amount of time
  • Maintains an orderly and well-organized working environment
  • Exceeded all company standards of performance and behavior
  • Completed all inquiries and requests on his promised time frame
  • Ensured that all work was completed on time, beyond the scope of the job description
  • Demonstrates a high level of self-discipline by consistently adhering to schedules and deadlines
  • Proactively manages time to ensure all tasks are completed efficiently and effectively
  • Regularly volunteers to take on additional responsibilities and completes them promptly
  • Maintains a professional demeanor and sets a positive example for punctuality and discipline within the team

Needs improvement

  • Displays little regard for others’ time by arriving late at meetings
  • Gets lost in a multitude of details
  • Does not regularly obtain advance approval for arriving late at work
  • Does not uphold standards for attendance and punctuality
  • Continuously plans his sick days around regularly scheduled time off
  • Shows a lack of organization, leading to misplaced documents and incomplete tasks
  • Often takes extended breaks, impacting productivity and workflow
  • Fails to communicate when running late, causing delays and confusion for others

Creativity And Innovation

Exceeds expectations

  • Transforms creative recommendations into practical applications
  • Thinks of imaginative alternatives when presented with obstacles
  • Encourages colleagues to be inventive and to take appropriate risks
  • Questions common practices in order to identify more efficient ways of doing things
  • Regularly introduces innovative solutions that significantly improve processes and outcomes
  • Actively participates in brainstorming sessions and inspires others to think creatively
  • Demonstrates an ability to think outside the box and develop unique solutions to complex problems
  • Consistently seeks out new technologies and methods to enhance creativity and innovation within the team

Needs improvement

  • Displays little innovation or creativity
  • Fails to give credit to subordinates who develop new ideas and solutions
  • Fails to harness the creative potential of peers and subordinates
  • Is hesitant to explore new approaches or alternatives
  • Resists change and prefers to stick to traditional methods, limiting innovation
  • Does not actively contribute to creative discussions or idea generation
  • Relies heavily on others for creative input, showing a lack of initiative
  • Shows little interest in staying updated with industry trends and new technologies

Performance Review Phrases For Specific Titles And Roles

IT and Developers

Exceeds expectations

  • Provided immediate technical support to other departments
  • Devised, enforced, and maintained security measures and confidentiality policies to ensure system security
  • Identified the organization’s current and future software and hardware needs
  • Verified all codes and supervised all software product testing
  • Directed the full software development life cycle for the organization
  • Offers technical guidance and support to junior developers
  • Prepares comprehensive software specifications

Needs improvement

  • Needs to be notified to secure information by completing database backups
  • Appears to lack proficiency at query optimization and schema design
  • Has difficulty operating in a high-volume production service environment
  • Has a difficult time processing technical solutions to meet business requirements

Sales And Marketing

Exceeds expectations

  • Generates minimal product returns
  • Converted % of sales leads into customers/clients during the review period
  • Attracted new customers/clients through direct sales strategies
  • Met or surpassed sales quotas
  • Has not achieved unit testing of developed code by the target date

Needs improvement

  • Is more transaction-driven than relationship-driven
  • Has ongoing difficulties sustaining a stable portfolio of clients
  • Is unable to communicate the company’s competitive advantage
  • Fails to seize opportunities for account growth and new business development
  • Misses opportunities to build revenue through new partnership acquisitions
  • Does not fully comprehend the economic metrics that drive the business


Exceeds expectations

  • Used a wide variety of computer software programs proficiently to produce final work, including animated graphics
  • Performed work that won “good” to “excellent” reviews from (% of) management
  • Generates appropriate artwork and ancillary promotional material
  • Developed an efficient design process for generating product options
  • Elevated user experience through rigorous testing and iteration

Needs improvement

  • Designs concepts and mockups that are inconsistent with brand guidelines
  • Does not keep up with the latest graphic trends
  • Unable to meet advertising project deadlines and budgets
  • Lacks expertise in both design and illustration
  • Doesn’t take into account feedback from client-facing departments


Exceeds expectations

  • Configured, organized, and operated the organization’s system software, online spreadsheets, and databases
  • Delivered reports with an accuracy rate of ____% to ____% during the review period
  • Provided monthly and quarterly financial reports by the deadline
  • Ran a highly efficient accounting department
  • Brings pressing financial issues to management’s immediate attention

Needs improvement

  • Neglects to maintain accurate financial records and files
  • Requires continuous confirmation of repetitive transactional tasks
  • Has failed to safeguard confidential financial information
  • Lacks the necessary software skills to operate at an acceptable level
  • Fails to investigate and resolve accounting discrepancies


Exceeds expectations

  • Developed and maintained online employee status update systems
  • Reviewed short- and long-range cost estimates/projections and made excellent suggestions for modifications
  • Retained ____% of employees due to salary and benefit increase initiatives
  • Prepared data for third-party wage and benefit surveys
  • Designed procedures for the organization’s disciplinary actions
  • Worked proactively to identify qualified candidates
  • Negotiated compensation offers with candidate finalists and successfully hired the best
  • Collected and evaluated employee production numbers to assess training needs

Needs improvement

  • Does not reply timely to employee questions and concerns
  • Fails to keep up in reviewing and approving billing statements
  • Fails to exhibit full comprehension of our sales incentive plan
  • Does not keep up to date on developments in compensation management
  • Has violated confidentiality, exacerbating the problem and lessening trust
  • Fails to gather adequate initial hiring data from hiring managers
  • Fails to provide agencies with sufficient information to accurately screen applicants
  • Falls short of diversity outreach standards for gender and minority recruitment

Support And Helpdesk

Exceeds expectations

  • Consistently resolves technical issues quickly and efficiently, minimizing downtime for users.
  • Demonstrates exceptional customer service skills, ensuring a positive experience for all clients.
  • Proactively identifies and addresses potential issues before they escalate.
  • Provides clear, detailed documentation for troubleshooting and resolving common problems.
  • Regularly receives positive feedback from users for outstanding support and assistance.

Needs improvement

  • Frequently takes longer than expected to resolve support tickets, leading to user frustration.
  • Struggles to communicate technical information in a way that non-technical users can understand.
  • Often needs reminders to follow up on open support cases.
  • Shows a lack of initiative in finding permanent solutions to recurring issues.
  • Demonstrates inconsistency in applying standard operating procedures for support and helpdesk tasks.

Customer Service

Exceeds expectations

  • Consistently receives positive feedback from customers for exceptional service and support.
  • Demonstrates excellent problem-solving skills, quickly resolving customer issues.
  • Maintains a positive and professional demeanor, even in challenging situations.
  • Proactively follows up with customers to ensure satisfaction and build long-term relationships.
  • Regularly identifies and suggests improvements to enhance the customer experience.

Needs improvement

  • Frequently receives complaints from customers regarding service quality.
  • Struggles to maintain a calm and professional attitude under pressure.
  • Often fails to follow up with customers, leading to unresolved issues.
  • Displays a lack of product knowledge, resulting in inaccurate information being provided to customers.
  • Needs reminders to document customer interactions and resolutions accurately.

Logistics and Supply Chain

Exceeds expectations

  • Ensures efficient and timely delivery of products, minimizing delays and disruptions.
  • Optimizes supply chain processes to reduce costs and improve overall efficiency.
  • Demonstrates strong problem-solving skills in addressing logistical challenges.
  • Maintains excellent relationships with suppliers and vendors, ensuring reliable partnerships.
  • Implements innovative solutions to streamline operations and enhance productivity.

Needs improvement

  • Frequently experiences delays in product delivery, affecting customer satisfaction.
  • Struggles to manage inventory effectively, leading to stockouts or overstock situations.
  • Displays a lack of communication with suppliers, resulting in misunderstandings and errors.
  • Often fails to identify and address inefficiencies in the supply chain.
  • Needs to improve in developing contingency plans for unexpected logistical issues.


Exceeds expectations

  • Effectively plans and coordinates teams for multiple IT projects
  • Consistently develops and nurtures business partnerships with internal customers
  • Strategically deploys and maintains enterprise-wide management platforms
  • Took initiative continuously in making sure subordinates kept time commitment
  • Readily accepts responsibility for errors
  • Follows a consensus-building rather than autocratic managerial style
  • Outlines action steps and deadlines required to reach goals

Needs improvement

  • Has difficulties defining objectives, methodologies, and costs
  • Lacks a thorough comprehension of marketing and customer profiling
  • Failed to keep employees working due to inadequate production planning
  • Fails to resolve situations before they become major conflicts
  • Allows employees to work long hours of unscheduled overtime
  • Fails to keep track of subordinates’ projects

Are You Spending Too Much Time On Reviewing Performance Of Your Remote Team Members?

Having tried-and-true performance review phrases at your disposal saves a lot of time, but how much time do you spend on understanding your remote employees before reviewing their performance?

When working remotely, you don’t have much information about your team members to start with. You know their tasks and what meetings they attend, but do you know how they feel, what’s their motivation, or challenges?

To truly understand your employees you would have to schedule daily one-on-one sessions with each one of them. But then you would spend the day just talking to your employees. Worse yet, they would waste their entire day too.

There’s a better solution. Meet Geekbot.

Geekbot automatically sends check-in questions, team surveys, and employee well-being checks directly in Slack and MS Teams. 

The bot then gathers all the precious information from your employees so that you won’t have to do that manually. 

Better yet, using built-in Geekbot AI analytics, you can even see the entire team’s well-being in one graph. 

Lastly, Geekbot automates daily standups and retrospectives, replacing dozens of ineffective meetings and saving tens of hours of your employees every week. 
Want to learn how Geekbot can help you reinvent your remote team performance? Try it now for free!

Frequently asked questions

What are Performance Review Phrases?

Performance review phrases are phrases designed and used by managers to provide clear and targeted feedback regarding employee performance as well as identify areas of improvement. Performance review phrases can praise employees' accomplishments, hint at areas of improvement, or both.

How to Write an Impactful Performance Review Phrase?

An impactful performance review phrase is clear, specific, and objective. The best performance review phrases use strong verbs, and descriptive adjectives, and contain information relevant to specific employees’ goals and jobs.

What Should I Say During a Performance Review?

The purpose of the formal performance review session should primarily be to summarize and continue the informal interaction that you have previously had with your employees. Most work on collecting and analyzing performance data should be done prior to the review session.

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