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
- Use Job-related Criteria.
Good. IT analyst successfully integrated systems and processes into existing systems
Bad. IT analyst attends training and safety programs offered by equipment manufacturers
- Use Strong and Precise Action Verbs.
Good. Accepted, activated, allocated, converted, devised, illustrated, increased, wedged, etc.
Bad. Worked, did, felt, set.
- 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.
Good. Accurately, aggressively, logically, knowingly, timely, urgently. Flexible, flawless, influential, lasting.
Bad. Beautifully, quickly, early, absolutely, normally. Good, bad, right, wrong, normal, great.
- Don’t Rate People in Any Particular Order.
Do not rate the best or the worst performers first.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Readily assigns blame to others
- Refuses to delegate her 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
Punctuality And Discipline
- 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
- 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
Creativity And Innovation
- 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
- 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
Performance Review Phrases For Specific Titles And Roles
IT and Developers
- 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 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.