evaluation phrases motivation

Motivational Evaluation Phrases with the Three A’s: Appreciate, Acknowledge, & Ask

Robin Sharma said, “Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well.”

Performance evaluations allow employees to understand their role and how they are doing. Using the correct employee review phrases during the evaluation will motivate employees to keep working hard and make any changes necessary to improve.

When giving performance appraisals, managers will motivate their employees if they use relevant evaluation phrases to focus their attention on the three A’s: Appreciate, Ask, and Acknowledge.


Recognition from a manager produces positive emotions and job satisfaction in employees. Let employees know that they are appreciated with specific evaluation phrases about why you appreciate them. Instead of saying “You have a great attitude,” say, “Your enthusiasm and energetic spirit at work helps create a positive work environment.” Specific examples help reinforce positive behavior. We provide performance review examples to help managers better motivate employees with their words.


Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz said, “People want guidance, not rhetoric….They want to be given responsibility to help solve the problem and the authority to act on it.” Having workers fill out employee self-evaluation forms allows employees to take an active role in the review process, rather than giving all the power to management.

Self-performance review allows employees to recognize the strengths he or she has. The manager will be able to see the job from the employee’s perspective. If recognizing where improvement can be made comes from the employee, he or she is given the responsibility to fix the problem instead of being demanded to make a change from management.


If performance goals are not being met, manager-employee dialogue is used to acknowledge the dilemma. Give the employee concrete facts to why he or she is not meeting company expectations.

Cause-and-effect phrases help the employees see the need for improvement and convince them to make a change. Instead of saying to your employee, “You are irresponsible” say, “Your time log shows that you were late three times this month. As a result, other members had to take on your responsibilities and the team was less productive.” Creating a performance improvement plan will give your employee a plan to improve on meeting expectations.

Using motivational phrases when evaluating your employee will help inspire employees. You may think using evaluation phrases to conduct performance reviews is weird, ingenuine, and impersonal at first, which is why it’s important to discover your own style of phrasing to conduct your performance reviews. When your employees leave their performance review smiling, they will be inspired and motivated to conquer the next quarter.

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