100 Useful Performance Review Phrases (2022)

100 Useful Performance Review Phrases (1)

Employee performance reviews are key to offering helpful feedback to managers and employees.

But not knowing what to say or write can make the process downright painful — especially when you’re 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’ll share 100 of the most useful performance review phrases you can use during your next round of employee reviews.

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.

That being said, let’s jump right in.

100 Useful Performance Review Phrases (2)

Why Worry About Phrasing for Your Performance Review?

Many of today's performance reviews aren't nearly as effective as they could be. Let me explain.

Fast Companyreports that 74% of younger workers walk out of performance reviews unsure of what their managers actually think of their performance. Think about that!

In large part, this is because those reviews lack good performance evaluation comments.

This mirrors the fact that, according toour 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.

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Effective Performance Review Phrases for Your Next performance Review

If you want more inspiration, these performance review examples are based off the bookEffective Phrases for Performance Appraisals.

When you include these in your performance reviews, you'll communicate positive and constructive feedback more clearly — which is 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.


Performance Review Phrases Examples about Achievement

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(Video) Performance Review Example Phrases

Creating a positive work environment and fostering positive attitudes start with acknowledging the achievements of your peers and subordinates. The following phrases could help with that:

  1. Achieves optimal levels of performance and accomplishment with / for ...
  2. Provides strong evidence of [specific accomplishment]
  3. Excels at developing programs / strategies that have delivered X results
  4. Improved production by X% through [specific task]
  5. Exceeded the original goal of X by X% through [specific task]

Performance Review Phrases Examples about


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Whether you have a proper team or a one-person department whose job description entails looking after the administrative tasks, use the following phrases to evaluate their performance:

  1. Continuously examines administrative effectiveness and seeks better procedures such as [tasks]
  2. Develops successful administrative strategies such as [task] that led to [results]
  3. Establishes effective systems for information retrieval through [task]
  4. Improves administrative support systems through [task]
  5. Keeps documents organized via [task] to avoid duplicate information

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Performance Review Phrases Examples about


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The ability to coach and guide others says a lot about a leader. Here are some phrases that could potentially help you review that quality:

  1. Shows a sincere interest in employees and the solutions to their problems
  2. Lends support and guidance to employees by [task]
  3. Uses sound coaching techniques to solve disciplinary problems
  4. Provides continuous coaching
  5. Is highly respected by employees for sharing concerns, problems, and opportunities


Performance Review Phrases Examples about

Communication Skills

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The ability to clearly communicate is a management skill that’s a must for every employee along the chain.

In reality, this is an umbrella term that includes oral, written, non-verbal, and listening skills.

Here are some useful phrases that could help you express your feedback regarding this area:

  1. Effectively communicates expectations
  2. Excels in facilitating group discussions
  3. Keeps meetings action-oriented by task
  4. Effectively communicates upward, downward, and laterally
  5. Enforces company policies and values without creating negative reactions

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Performance Review Phrases Examples about


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Are your employees getting along and cooperating on projects? Is everyone being a model team player?

Use these phrases to report on these qualities:

  1. Encourages collaboration with the team
  2. Shares ideas and techniques
  3. Builds strong relationships with others by [task]
  4. Displays a harmonious and cooperative spirit by [task]
  5. Gladly shares expertise

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Performance Review Phrases Examples about


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Establishing a culture of out-of-box thinking can go a long way in ensuring business success – regardless of your industry.

Use these phrases to evaluate the creative-mindset of your employee/manager:

  1. Seeks creative alternatives such as [examples] that drove [results]
  2. Clever and imaginative when confronted with obstacles
  3. Is continuously experimenting to drive [results]
  4. Initiates and executes creative ideas such as [example]
  5. Seeks new ideas and approaches

Performance Review Phrases Examples about Delegating

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Are your managers doing a good enough job at delegating tasks and dividing the load? These phrases could help:

(Video) 10 Business English Phrases - Positive Performance Evaluations

  1. Empowers employees with the authority and resources to achieve X results
  2. Helps employees gain visibility through [task]
  3. Encourages employees to solve their own problems
  4. Delegates to match personal strengths
  5. Delegates with clearly defined responsibility and authority


Performance Review Phrases Examples about


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If your teams/individuals aren’t showing any improvement — whether in terms of hitting a KPI or how they interact with each other — you should be concerned.

Consider using these phrases to evaluate this area:

  1. Develops continuous improvement methods
  2. Conceives of totally new strategies
  3. Continues to grow and improve
  4. Devises improved means of accomplishing results
  5. Is continuously planningfor improvement

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Performance Review Phrases Examples about


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Innovation, whether in terms of business strategies or coming up with a new product, is important if you want to keep your business relevant.

Here are some performance review phrases you can use to gauge the quality of innovative thinking in your employees:

  1. Develops innovative strategies such as [example] ...
  2. Is very innovative under adverse conditions
  3. Seeks innovative solutions
  4. Fosters a curiosity for innovative possibilities
  5. Promotes innovationby [example]

Performance Review Phrases Examples about

Interpersonal Skills

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How are your employees working together as a team? Would you say that you are satisfied with the level of dependability in your workplace?

You can express your feedback through the following phrases:

  1. Recognizes the needs of others and reaches out tolend a helping hand
  2. Establishes effective working relationships
  3. Generates synergy
  4. Builds on mutual dependence and understanding
  5. Promotes the company culture among peers

Performance Review Phrases Examples about

Learning Ability

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The ability to learn new skills and grasp complex concepts is a necessary quality for successful teams.

To find out where you stand in this department, consider throwing in the following phrases to your reviews:

  1. Displays an ability to learn rapidly and adapt quickly to changing situations
  2. Shares learning experiences with peers
  3. Promotes a learning culture
  4. Committed to continuously learning through [example]
  5. Responds quickly to new instructions, situations, methods, and procedures

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Performance Review Phrases Examples about

Management Ability

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Being able to manage a team is more than just giving pep talks and delegating tasks. It involves a whole lot of other things as well, such as supporting your team, making difficult discussions, and offering both positive and negative feedback.

Employees can use the following phrases to evaluate the management capabilities of their supervisors:

  1. Provides team with support through [example]
  2. Collaborates with individual teammembers to establish a development path
  3. Holds employees accountable for their own results
  4. Provides team with the resources needed to attain results
  5. Provides support duringperiods of organizational change

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How good are your teams at planning ahead and looking at the big pictures?

Make sure that you evaluate this area properly by using the following phrases:

  1. Developsworkable action plans
  2. Creates flexible plans to meet changing opportunities
  3. Effectively puts plans into action
  4. Excels in developing strategic alternatives
  5. Formulates strategies, tactics, and action plans to drive X results


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Managers need to realize the hidden potential of their subordinates and give credit where it’s due.

Here are a few phrases that could help you discover that potential in your company’s next performance review:

  1. Is capable of distinguished performance in a higher-level position
  2. Has reached the level for promotional consideration
  3. Can handle bigger projects and assignments
  4. Is making a strong effort to acquire greater experience and skills to increase potential for advancement
  5. Is enhancing growth potential through additional education and training

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100 Useful Performance Review Phrases (27)

Not every employee is a problem-solver. It requires a combination of creative thinking, a proactive mindset, and the ability to remain calm under pressure.

You can use these performance review phrases to rate the problem-solving skills of your employees:

  1. Displays a practical approach to solving problems
  2. Develops creative solutions
  3. Turns problems into opportunities
  4. Effectively solves problems rather than symptoms
  5. Is skilled in proposing optional solutions


Performance Review Phrases Examples about


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At the end of the day, employee productivity is what REALLY impacts your bottom line. To make sure that everyone’s meeting the expectations, use these phrases to evaluate their performance:

  1. Exceeds normal output standards
  2. Continuouslyproduces more than expected
  3. Is an important contributor to the successes of the department
  4. Makes a substantial contribution to the continued operation and growth of the organization
  5. Consistently exceeds performancegoals


Performance Review Phrases Examples about Project Management

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These apply mostly to supervisors who lead projects. But a few can also be used for evaluating the performance of certain employees who step up:

  1. Completed X project with X results
  2. Sets realistic timetables to keep projects on target
  3. Is transparent with a project's progress
  4. Makes effective use of all available resources when given a project
  5. Clearly establishes project goals and objectives


Performance Review Phrases Examples about

Supervisory Skills

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These apply only to managers and supervisors — not subordinates:

  1. Gives consistent recognition to employees
  2. Maintains a work situation which stimulates the growth of individual employees
  3. Makes certain that employees have a clear understanding of their responsibilities
  4. Is readily available for support to employees
  5. Recognizes and deals withsigns of employee burnout


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Performance Review Phrases Examples about

Time Management

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Time is the most crucial resource for any professional.

Are your employees making full use of this immensely important resource? Use the following phrases to find out:

  1. Consistently meets all deadlines
  2. Prepares meeting agendas that are concise andtime-saving
  3. Keeps meetings on schedule
  4. Respects the time of others
  5. Makes effective use of discretionary time

Performance Review Phrases Examples about


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Last, but not least, are your managers and their subordinates passionate enough towards achieving your company’s vision?

Use the following phrases to find out:

  1. Excels in living the organization's values
  2. Promotes strong support of thecompany's mission and vision
  3. Is able to turn visions into actual action plans
  4. Demonstrates an ability to transfer vision into execution
  5. 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 reevaluate your performance review process andmake 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, believes that 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.

Globoforcehighlights 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, and multiple viewpoints allow you to get a better understanding of an employee’s performance.

That's why you should use a tool likeTINYpulseto 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!

Cindy from Wheelhouse DMG shares how she uses TINYpulse to crowdsource ideas to design their performance review process, which 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

(Video) 4 Performance Review Phrases For Improving Bad Behavior

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What should I answer in a performance review? ›

As you prepare for your performance appraisal, think back to the goals that were set, those you accomplished, and your progress on those you didn't. Be ready to explain if there are goals you didn't accomplish but made good progress on. Also, consider the progress made on goals that were set for your team.

How do you write an impactful performance review phrase? ›

Here are some phrases that emphasize an employee's strong work ethic and overall performance:
  1. “Consistently meets sales goals”
  2. “Assists coworkers and helps them achieve their own goals”
  3. “Completes all tasks on time”
  4. “Works well with all members of their team”
  5. “Follows directions for all assigned tasks”

What are good words to use in a review? ›

What are the 3 core questions of performance reviews? ›

By asking specific, targeted questions in employee evaluations, managers can really dive into individual performance, employee motivations, and goals.
Good questions:
  • What accomplishments this quarter are you most proud of?
  • Which goals did you meet? ...
  • What motivates you to get your job done?
2 Jan 2021

How do you defend yourself in a performance review? ›

How to defend yourself in a performance review
  1. Keep calm. ...
  2. Listen and reflect. ...
  3. Own up to mistakes. ...
  4. Focus on the future. ...
  5. Ask if it is okay to discuss a point further. ...
  6. 6 Ask clarifying questions. ...
  7. Back up your defense with evidence. ...
  8. Reference previous feedback.


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