90 Performance Review Phrases By Skill (With Examples)

By Jennifer Herrity

Updated October 20, 2022 | Published December 12, 2019

Updated October 20, 2022

Published December 12, 2019

Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.

Coworkers smile while holding a conversation at one of their desks. Two other coworkers are seen in the background of the office, also having a discussion.

Effective performance reviews are key to employee engagement and can provide valuable feedback on skills and goals important to your company's success. Knowing the right kinds of phrases to use during a performance review can help you communicate feedback to your team members.

In this article, we discuss the benefits of conducting a performance review, common skills assessed during a performance review and examples of performance review phrases.

What are the benefits of conducting a performance review?

A performance review can help identify employee strengths and weaknesses, set goals and offer feedback for future performance. Performance reviews may also help employers:

  • Explain organizational goals and expectations

  • Help team members develop and improve skills

  • Allocate promotions or pay raises appropriately

Related: Top 10 Positive Feedback Examples for Employee Performance

Effective performance review phrases

Many performance reviews are categorized by skills and goals with phrases that correlate to each category. The 12 common skills usually incorporated into performance reviews are listed below along with effective phrases for each skill.

The phrases you use in a performance review impact its overall effectiveness. An effective review should discuss an employee’s strengths and areas of improvement in a way that is constructive and motivating. Depending on what skills or goals you're evaluating, here is a list of common performance review phrases for each review skill:

Creativity and innovation

Creativity is essential in the workplace for creative thinking and problem-solving. When you're giving a performance review, you could consider using phrases similar to these:

Positive feedback:

1. "Applies creative thinking to implement a vision for the company”
2. “Continuously suggests new ideas in meetings and on projects”
3. “Shows initiative in developing new ways of thinking to improve projects or company performance”
4. "Offers creative solutions to project challenges"

Needs improvement:

5. "Could improve in areas where creative solutions are needed"
6. "Could benefit from thinking outside the box"
7. "Could offer alternative solutions to challenges"
8. "Could show initiative in developing new projects"

Adaptability

It is important that employees adapt to change and accept and comply with new processes. Here are some phrases that may apply to an employee’s adaptability:

Positive feedback:

9. “Willingly adjusts their schedule to be available when needed”
10. “Quickly adapts to changes in the performance of required duties”
11. “Responds well to change in various situations”
12. "Is adaptable to changing deadlines"

Needs improvement:

13. "Could be more flexible with changes in job responsibilities"
14. "Could be more adaptable with schedule changes"
15. "Could show more flexibility with deadline changes"
16. "Could be more available for last-minute requests"

Communication

Communicating effectively with supervisors, colleagues and clients is essential throughout various industries. Here are phrases that you may use when you give your performance review:

Positive feedback:

17. “Effectively communicates with colleagues, supervisors, partners and customers”
18. “Clearly communicates ideas and thoughts in team meetings and conferences”
19. “Is a constructive communicator and is capable of discussing difficult issues effectively and to the point”
20. "Does a great job not only communicating issues but also practices active listening when given direction."

Needs improvement:

21. "Could improve with communicating issues in assignments before missing deadlines"
22. "Could improve with fully listening to instructions before asking questions"
23. "Could improve communicating progress updates to supervisors"
24. "Could improve with offering constructive feedback on new projects"

Accountability

Employees should strive to be accountable for their work, own up to the mistakes they make and do their best to fix them as best they can. This saves time and displays an employee’s integrity. Here are some phrases that you may apply to a positive review of an individual's accountability:

Positive feedback:

25. “Takes ownership in the company’s success and accepts responsibility for oneself and contribution as a team member”
26. "Admits mistakes and errors and informs others when unable to keep a commitment”
27. "Takes responsibility for meeting deadlines"
28. "Owns their portion of project management"

Needs improvement:

29. "Needs to take ownership of meeting deadlines"
30. "Needs to take responsibility for mistakes"
31. "Needs to offer solutions to project errors"
32. "Needs to communicate when running into project delays"

Attendance and punctuality

Attendance and reliability are important factors in evaluating individual performance as both are requirements at most workplaces. While considering your employee’s attendance and punctuality performance, you may write down these sample phrases:

33. “Exceeds expectations in arriving on time for work, including meetings and conferences”
34. “Has good attendance and doesn’t violate the standard attendance policy”
35. “He begins each day fully refreshed and prepared for any challenges”

Needs improvement:

36. "Needs to improve attendance record and review the attendance policy"
37. "Would benefit from starting each day reviewing the daily schedule and expectations"
38. "Should practice arriving on time for meetings and conferences"

Productivity and quality of work

It is essential that employees remain productive during work hours to contribute to the company’s goals. Productivity is also a good indicator of an employee’s engagement. Here are some phrases that you may consider when you give a performance review:

39. “Positively contributes to the overall performance of the company through consistent and high-quality work”
40. “Continuously strives to improve profits, productivity and performance targets”
41. “Shows strong time-management and organizational skills”

Needs improvement:

42. "Should strive to maintain consistent work quality"
43. "Should improve time management skills"
44. "Should work on organizational skills"

Achievement

Providing effective feedback on performance reviews includes mentioning employee achievements. Here are some phrases that may help you recognize your employee’s achievements during their performance reviews:

45. “Sets well-thought-out goals and continuously strives to achieve them”
46. “Improved xx by xx%”
47. “Made an effective system to streamline xx work processes by doing xx”

Needs improvement:

48. "Would benefit from setting professional goals"
49. "Would benefit from reflecting on their own progress toward goals"
50. "Would benefit from analyzing their own wins and losses each quarter"

Cooperation

Cooperation is important to evaluate because an employee should be willing to cooperate with their coworkers to make sure team-based projects and daily tasks are completed in a timely manner. When each person relies on input from others to complete a task, the workflow continues at a steady pace, which can only be achieved through cooperation. Try considering these phrases when you give a performance review:

51. “Displays a cooperative spirit by performing extra tasks to contribute to a project”
52. “Promotes cooperation well to ensure colleagues work as a team to meet deadlines”
53. "Always willing to coordinate tasks with other colleagues"
54. "Always offers to help with tasks outside their role"

Needs improvement:

55. "Could improve teamwork skills"
56. "Could improve collaboration skills"
57. "Could offer to help colleagues on deadline"
58. "Could offer to train new employees when a need arises for guidance"

Coaching and training

Coaching is the process of assisting employees to improve performance. Employees should be coachable so that they can perform at an appropriate level for their job role. Here are phrases that assess coaching and training ability:

59. “Accepts coaching in various job duties and applies training to improve ability”
60. “Asks for more training when processes aren’t clear or understood”
61. "Always willing to learn new processes"
62. "Always eager to learn new software and improve efficiency"

Needs improvement:

63. "Could benefit from seeking more training in various tasks"
64. "Could benefit from asking more questions when not sure of expectations"
65. "Reluctance to learn new processes is a hindrance"
66. "Could improve adaptability to learning new software and procedures"

Improvement

Employees typically have an opportunity for improvement. It is important to give them specific feedback regarding those areas, both when they are successful and when they need more guidance. These phrases identify common areas of improvement:

67. "Successfully overcomes new challenges"
68. "Continuously works to maintain and develop professional relationships"
69. "Constantly looks to improve processes and increase efficiency"
70. "Sets realistic goals and tracks own improvement"

Needs improvement:

71. “Struggles to effectively overcome new challenges and find solutions to new issues”
72. “Should work on developing and maintaining professional relationships”
73. “Tends to focus more on what can’t be done instead of what can be done”
74. "Would benefit by setting own goals and tracking progress"

Interpersonal skills

Good interpersonal skills combine multiple skills that are often prerequisites for many jobs. Here are some effective phrases tо use when you giving a performance review оn interpersonal skills:

75. “Works effectively within a team environment to achieve specific tasks or projects”
76. “Develops constructive working relationships with internal and external stakeholders”
77. “Is an effective team player as demonstrated by their willingness to help out and contribute as required”
78. "Offers constructive and respectful feedback to colleagues"

Needs improvement:

79. "Could benefit from learning stronger team building skills"
80. "Could strengthen working relationships with third-party vendors"
81. "Could offer to help other colleagues with projects"
82. "Can sometimes be too blunt in feedback"

Problem-solving

Problem-solving defines a problem to determine its cause, identify possible solutions and choose the correct solution. Here are problem-solving phrases that will make your employees aware of their abilities:

83. "Displays the capability to independently solve complex problems”
84. "Breaks a problem down before analyzing it in a more detailed manner”
85. "Collaborates well with others to find solutions to project challenges”
86. "Offers multiple solutions to complex problems"

Needs improvement:

87. "Could improve brainstorming solutions to challenges"
88. "Could benefit from thinking of creative solutions to challenges"
89. "Could strengthen collaboration skills when working to solve challenges"
90. "Could ask for assistance with problem-solving challenges"

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