Free Performance Review Phrases Cheatsheet

Impact employee behavior with these performance review phrases.

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Performance Review Phrases

The phrases we use in a performance review have a lot of power. Performance review phrases, when delivered correctly, reinforce good employee behavior. However, performance appraisal phrases that are vague or overly negative run the risk of exacerbating the problem. Employee review comments can make or break an employee’s performance—so it’s important to use the best employee performance review comments possible.

Whether the employee you’re reviewing is hitting it out of the park or needs a lot of work, you still need to be intentional about giving feedback in the right way. Performance evaluation phrases that don’t respect an employee’s hard work can de-motivate and alienate them. On the other hand, harsh performance review comments directed at an underperforming employee can result in decreased effort and poor self-esteem.

These annual performance reviews sample comments are a great starting point to rethinking employee reviews and provide a great variety of performance review quotes. Our performance appraisal comments also offer guidelines on how to best address employees so they will listen, respond, and improve. 

Using well-phrased, positive, and targeted job performance review comments motivate employees to keep up the good work, address problems, shift their behavior, and encourages them to become the best employee possible. If you’re ready to instill a culture of continuous feedback and helpful review—download the template for free performance review phrases!

Performance Review Examples

Let’s look at a few performance appraisal examples. Performance review phrases examples help you understand exactly what makes a good comment, and performance review feedback examples like the ones we offer in our download can save you the time of crafting your own performance evaluation phrases examples.

When giving feedback of any type, aim for concrete facts, rather than simply sharing things they are doing correctly or incorrectly. It’s not beneficial to tell someone they’re lazy—it’s hurtful and doesn’t address any underlying problem. Perhaps that employee is disorganized or overwhelmed with their current workload. It’s better to say, “Your reports this quarter have been out of order and missing pages on a recurring basis.” By sharing observances paired with constructive phrases for performance reviews, you offer a solution to the problem within the critique.

Positive employee performance review examples include phrases such as, “You go out of your way to include others,” or “You make sure everyone has the chance to share their thoughts in a meeting,” rather than a generic “You’re a great team member.” By giving specific examples of what you appreciate, like these performance appraisal phrases examples, you reinforce good behavior and best practices.

Not every team is the same, so be sure to carefully review each of the free sample phrases. Employee reviews should be catered for each employee so they benefit from feedback as much as possible. It’s also a great idea to make note of your favorite job performance review examples and they modify sample performance evaluation phrases to fit your managerial style. Be sure to use effective phrases for performance appraisals in reviews and base your feedback on concrete examples. By doing this, you will do a better job conveying actionable steps that employees need to take in order to do better work.

Self-Performance Review Examples

Self-performance reviews are a powerful way to engage employees in their own development. Unfortunately, many managers approach the performance review with the idea that their opinion is the only one that matters. While managers do have hiring and firing power, if their idea of high performance differs wildly from the employee’s, it will be more difficult to address inconsistencies.

Instead, use a self-performance review during employee evaluations. This process sheds light on how the employee thinks they are performing, and even if their opinion differs from their manager’s, it’s easy to identify any gaps. By using a self-performance review, you can craft self-performance review comment examples to use with each employee in any recurring review.

The comments in the downloadable resource also serve as self-evaluation samples, because you can use them in response to your employee’s self-performance review. The self-performance review phrases you use will look a lot like your own comments, but will be closer aligned to what the employee thinks—and therefore are more useful. Try out these self-performance review phrases examples for more productive, effective, and positive employee review.

Types of Performance Review Phrases

There are many different types of performance review phrases. For example, some might be very goal oriented—where you’re offering an employee direction on how to achieve a determined target or learn a specific skill. Or, you might need performance appraisal phrases for quality of work, especially if employees are performing more poorly than they used to. This when it’s extremely beneficial to use performance appraisal phrases. Job knowledge related statements effectively highlight problems and make it easier to outline steps to remedy the problem.

Other times, your employees are doing so well that you don’t need any negative phrases at all. However, it’s still important to build a repertoire of positive evaluation phrases. Even when you’re complimenting an employee, you can accidentally say the wrong thing and make them feel less motivated, less happy with their work, or less like part of the team. Avoid this situation with our helpful review phrases.

Writing Performance Review Phrases

When writing a performance review, it’s very important to keep phrasing in mind. It’s easy to batch reviews, especially if you are writing performance review comments for a lot of different employees. But, this can result in under-analyzed, unhelpful, and even damaging comments and critiques. Instead, be thoughtful when constructing comments. Always remember that celebrating employee successes while highlighting room for improvement are the most important elements of any review.

When it’s time to sit down and complete your performance review or fill out an employee evaluation form, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Refer to logs, timesheets, notes, and other documents to help refresh your memory
  • Give plenty of specific positive feedback
  • When offering negative feedback, avoid the tendency to use vague words or insert your personal opinion
  • Instead, give concrete, actionable advice
  • Describe problems completely to help employees understand exactly where they need to improve
  • Offer to help by lending your guidance, creating a performance improvement plan, suggesting easy fixes, and remaining optimistic

Writing reviews may be tough, but these 100 review phrases offer easy, specific, and actionable examples to help.