45 Examples of Effective Performance Evaluation Phrases
Updated July 31, 2023
Performance reviews are one important way managers can offer helpful feedback to employees. So it's important that managers choose comments that can inspire and motivate employees to perform at their best.
In this article, we explain what performance evaluations are and why they’re important, and we offer examples of performance evaluation comments for inspiration.
Related: What Is an Employee Review Form?
What are performance evaluations and why are they important?
A performance review is a documented evaluation of how effectively a team member is meeting their goals and responsibilities. Receiving clear, action-oriented feedback can increase employee engagement and retention, so regular in-depth performance reviews are important.
A performance evaluation is typically made up of several summaries, or comments, related to performance across several key competencies. As a manager, you can use these comments to offer clear examples of the successes and challenges of an employee. Providing thoughtful performance review comments can show your employees you are invested in their growth and development.
Examples of performance evaluation comments
Here are some examples of phrases you could use based on the category of feedback:
“You are always here on time, never leave early and adhere to all company break times.”
“On the rare occasion that you have missed work, you have provided ample notice and made arrangements to ensure your responsibilities are covered.”
"You have proven to be a reliable employee by arriving each day prepared to tackle your work with a positive attitude.”
“You have frequently returned late from your lunch breaks, and are often late reporting to work.”
"You have demonstrated a pattern of tardiness by consistently arriving 15 minutes later or more for work.”
Innovation and creativity
“Your imagination is like no one I’ve ever worked with. You find new solutions to some of our most complex problems.”
“You are very detail-oriented, and we appreciate how you share your knowledge about the latest trends in the business.”
"You create an exciting team atmosphere where creative problem solving is encouraged and rewarded.”
“Your solutions to problems are often rigid and come off as old-fashioned.”
"In this ever-changing industry, consider encouraging your team to think creatively about solutions.”
“You are fair and treat everyone in the office as an equal.”
“You lead by example. Your approach of embracing change and adapting to changing work situations encourages others to do the same."
"Your team consistently meets their goals often exceeding expectations.”
“You tend to be biased in many situations, which causes employees to fear asking for your help.”
"You have the makings of a strong leader, but I want to encourage you to speak with confidence in team meetings to garner the respect and attention you deserve from your teammates.”
“You build great relationships, and this is reflected by how highly your team speaks of you.”
"Practice active listening skills by waiting until others have finished speaking before asking questions and offering insight.”
"You provide clear directions, expectations and feedback to your team.”
"Consider making efforts to explain your point of view using less technical terms when speaking with stakeholders from other teams.”
“Your lack of communication causes a lot of misunderstanding among your team members.”
Collaboration and teamwork
“You communicate with your coworkers in a respectful manner, and you adapt easily to many situations.”
"You act as a go-to member for new employees by offering feedback, guidance and sharing ideas and techniques for improvement.”
"Your team has succeeded because of your ability to build strong relationships by asking for and incorporating feedback from others.”
"You have shown a pattern of interrupting others when they are speaking in meetings. While this may be unintentional, it can be helpful to show respect for your colleagues by waiting until they have finished speaking before adding to the conversation.”
“Your inability to work well with others has caused your team to fall behind.”
“You always deliver work ahead of schedule and never forget any details.”
"One of your greatest strengths is your ability to manage multiple responsibilities.”
"This year, you’ve demonstrated your ability to take on new projects while also meeting your day-to-day goals.”
"To make the most of scheduled meetings with others, make it a practice to prepare an agenda to ensure you stay on track and take full advantage of the time you have with colleagues and supervisors.”
“I’ve observed that there are times when you lack a sense of urgency. As a result of this, you’ve failed to meet deadlines on time.”
“You always gather all of the information and facts to make a decision, which benefits the entire team.”
"You have shown a practical approach to solving problems by breaking down large concepts into smaller, more manageable tasks.”
"You have a knack for working with others to find solutions to problems.”
"You have the opportunity to strengthen your problem-solving skills by considering potential solutions before taking action on one.”
“You lack problem-solving skills and often disrupt your team members by expecting them to help you complete simple tasks.”
“You regularly follow up with customers to ensure they are having a great experience with the product, and as a result, you have brought in many new orders.”
"You’ve shown a strong commitment to the customer experience by returning calls within one hour.”
"Customers appreciate your eagerness to help as shown in your positive satisfaction rating.”
"There’s an area of opportunity to improve your customer service skills by smiling and greeting every customer you help.”
“Customers have reported instances where you have spoken with them in a discourteous tone.”
“You are very punctual and have shown excellent work behaviors in every aspect of the job.”
"Shows a strong work ethic by consistently staying until all daily tasks are completed.”
"You consistently go above and beyond by exceeding your quarterly goals.”
"I’ve noticed opportunities where in between helping customers you could take the initiative to clean up your workstation.”
“You are often late to work and have been found wasting time rather than completing work assignments.”
How to write an effective performance evaluation comment
The comments you provide on a performance review need to be more specific than “You exceeded expectations.” Here are some things to keep in mind when writing performance evaluation comments:
1. Review past and present performance
If you only do formal reviews once a year, it’s easy to provide feedback only for things that are fresh in your mind. Aside from providing regular, informal feedback to your employees, you should also take some time in between evaluations to make a note of any significant moments or achievements each staff member has. Though it may feel like more work at the time, it could significantly improve the value of your performance reviews.
2. Be honest and clear
Evaluations are the time to address issues that could be affecting the employee’s performance or overall team’s well-being. Your other employees have likely noticed if a person is a poor performer, and your inability to address it could cost you the respect of your team. Keep communication open and clear. Both you and your employee should leave knowing exactly what you need and expect from one another going forward.
3. Provide concrete examples
Use specific, tangible examples to support your feedback. Address issues by offering ways you’d like the employee to manage those instances in the future. Examples will show your employees that you’re paying attention and give your expectations more weight.
4. Choose your words carefully
There’s always room for improvement, but be selective about what’s worth addressing, and choose your words wisely.
5. End on a positive note
Regardless of whether the evaluation addresses areas that needed improvement, it’s important to end on a positive note. Take some time to express appreciation, and both of you will likely leave the review with mutual understanding and respect. After all, a performance review’s primary goal is to provide constructive feedback and positive reinforcement.
Frequently asked questions
Can you raise a brand-new challenge in a performance evaluation?
Typically, performance evaluations are for discussing matters that have already occurred and that employees can prepare to discuss, so bringing up a new challenge during an evaluation is typically discouraged. It's best to save the matter for a later check-in meeting.
How much do circumstances matter during a performance evaluation?
The circumstances during a performance evaluation are integral to understanding the challenges and success of employees and leadership. Consider the large-scale effects of circumstances on the performance of each employee and leader. This allows you to be more accommodating, especially when an organization experiences challenges.
How often do performance evaluations occur?
Typically, organizations hold performance evaluations once a year and align them with the fiscal year since they're often a factor in promotions and raises. Some organizations may hold them each quarter, which allows more consistent feedback from both leadership and employees about the goals of each department and person in the company.
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