Performance Review Phrases And Best Practices
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Have you heard of the line “employees don’t quit their jobs, they quit their managers”? As cliché as it sounds, a survey by proves this line to be spot-on. A whopping 79 percent of employees reported leaving their job due to a lack of appreciation. If lack of appreciation is not a problem, 60 percent of employees interviewed during the survey believed that the quality of feedback should also improve. 

So clearly, impersonal phrases such as ‘need improvement’ or ‘good job’ would not do the trick. It needs to be more personalized so that employees feel that their managers take a closer look at their work. Finally, according to the survey, 70 percent of employees believed they would work harder if they felt recognized. 

The question then arises – how would employees feel ‘recognized’? A manager can go around informing his team members about their performance. And that would make for good small talk during a coffee break. But for personalized and detailed feedback, employees now look at their performance reviews. 

Curating a performance review can be a herculean task for managers or team leads. But with a proper structure and recommended phrases, the process can be simplified. Also, as a result of these phrases, employees would not dread but look forward to a performance review. To help you structure a performance review, this article provides a list of phrases to use. 

What is a performance review? 

According to Forbes, the performance review is a systematic process of evaluating the employee’s past performance and articulating future expectations for the job.

Typically, if you work as an employee in an organization, they are bound to provide a performance review – be it monthly, quarterly, or annually. Put simply, these reviews are a formal assessment of your work, with respect to your defined key result areas (KRAs). This assessment also identifies your areas of strength and weakness and accordingly, provides meaningful feedback for improvement. Finally, it also defines your future goals, based on your performance. 

Performance fulfills two functions. When used by managers, these assessments do the job of motivating employees, prioritizing their career growth, and defining a concrete list of responsibilities. Doing so, it eliminates any form of ambiguity in an employee’s role at the firm. 

When used by employees, these reviews function as a map or pathway for leading efforts in the right direction. Imagine an employee working 10 hours a day but his efforts barely convert into output. This can be avoided by taking the help of your performance review. 

Key elements of performance review 

Following are the key elements of a modern-day performance review – 

  • Timing 

There exists a common misconception that performance reviews are the same as continuous feedback. While both may have a similar impact on employees, performance reviews are far more detail-oriented, encompassing all the work that you have done within a particular period. This period can be a month, quarter, or year. You wouldn’t want these reviews to be released monthly, for them to be considered as nominal feedback. On the flip side, conducting annual reviews will be hectic and tedious. So, based on the extent of work and the number of employees, you need to get the timing right. 

  • Stages, not numbers 

Many times, employees are judged based on their numbers. How many blogs have they written? How many customers have they onboarded? How many followers increased on LinkedIn? Although these data points are useful in assessing an employee’s quality of work, they cannot be directly used in a performance review. Instead of putting a number on people, why not understand their growth stage and accordingly, write a review that will help them improve? 

  • Clarity is key 

If you are on the verge of conducting a performance review, make sure to clarify in advance the purpose of your review. Try to clear out the key areas of focus or the kind of questions to expect during the review. This will give employees the time to outline their goals rather than fumble or blank out at the last moment. Thus, the session will be more productive and less chaotic. You can also use an automated feedback tool to streamline the performance review process. 

  • Using different perspectives 

Although a performance review analyses the progress made by an employee, it can be a two-way street. Instead of a traditional review, trying to include multiple perspectives may create an accurate review cycle. Rather than the singular perspective of a manager, an employee will be motivated more if reviewed by multiple people like the manager, peers/colleagues, and of course, self-assessment. A 360-degree review will also ensure that every person is on the same page in terms of a company’s future goals. 

100 Performance Review Phrases and Best Practices 

In addition to the elements mentioned above, a performance review should also contain simple words/phrases that motivate an employee to work better or make them realize that the organization recognizes sincere effort. The right phrase goes a long way in encouraging the employee to perform better. 

Following is a list of performance review phrases under distinct areas of focus – 



  • Always on time (or even early) for crucial meetings and discussions
  • Maintains punctuality daily
  • Respects other team members by arriving on time/starting and concluding meetings on time 
  • Is cognizant of other people’s workload while scheduling calls and discussions
  • Never resorts to a ‘no show’ or ‘no call’ 
  • Has managed to achieve perfect attendance for ‘x’ months/years
  • Does not deviate from or disregard the attendance policy, unless faced with an important commitment 
  • Always provides a prior notice before taking leave, unless faced with an extreme circumstance 


  • Has not fulfilled company’s attendance standards
  • Frequently reports late to work
  • Frequently exceeds the permitted number of leaves 
  • Disrespects others by arriving late to meeting or discussion
  • Frequently reports late after lunch/tea break 
  • Has not been able to adhere to the company’s attendance policy 
  • Poor attendance affects deadlines and team members



  • Showcases strong communication skills with colleagues, team leads, managers, customers, stakeholders, etc. 
  • Has strong interpersonal skills while working with other members
  • Is capable of providing constructive feedback to others, and can communicate their ideas/thoughts even under difficult situations.
  • Maintains constant communication with others with respect to deadlines and deliverables
  • Can deliver feedback to others in a crisp and concise fashion
  • Is proactive in getting to know and understand other employees.
  • Finds it easy to connect and communicate with colleagues
  • Can handle a variety of personalities and temperaments with composure 


  • Direct, blunt, or intimidating nature can turn people off
  • Teammates do not enjoy his/her company
  • Perceived as unapproachable by coworkers
  • Gives an impression of superiority to teammates
  • Weak at establishing effective working relationships 
  • Gets into frequent arguments with coworkers

Time management Skills


  • Respects the time of coworkers, managers, stakeholders, or clients
  • Manages to use time effectively to get the job done on time or beforehand 
  • Regularly meets all allotted deadlines
  • Organized and capable of multitasking 
  • Very reliable especially under shorter deadlines or time crunches
  • Can organize and complete tasks based on urgency and priority 
  • Takes into account coworkers’ time constraints as well while allotting deadlines 


  • Is unable to keep up with multiple deadlines 
  • Is unable to understand how much time a task should take to complete 
  • Meetings and presentations usually exceed the allotted time 
  • Despite complaints and feedback, he/she is unable to improve time-management 
  • Cannot be relied on to finish a task within a shorter deadline 
  • Frequently exceeds mandatory allotted due dates

Reliability /Dependability


  • Completes allotted work within the deadline, while not compromising the quality of work 
  • Maintains consistency with their work output, irrespective of task or project. 
  • Has proven to be a reliable, helpful, and effective team member, especially in times of urgency
  • Shows keenness to get the job done as soon as possible 
  • Loyal and reliable employee 
  • Has consistently performed beyond expectations 
  • Does not slack or get intimidated by the complexity of work and faces challenges head-on 


  • Unwillingness to work beyond time 
  • The quality of work is inconsistent and frequently needs to be reviewed.
  • Not a dependable employee
  • Unable to produce consistent output and results 
  • Reliability is questionable or doubtful

Problem-solving ability


  • Has the ability to come up with innovative ideas and think outside the box 
  • Displays creative thinking with effective solutions to specific tasks 
  • Has the ability to come up with multiple solutions for a single problem 
  • Is proactive in coming up with innovative ideas not just for allotted tasks but also for those assigned to other members 

Leadership quality


  • Always keen to help a coworker
  • Gives team members a chance to speak and provide their opinions 
  • Is capable of handling each member’s temperament and working style 
  • Can keep the team organized and on track 
  • Expresses appreciation for a job well done
  • Can keep the team’s morale high
  • Promotes a culture of co-working and understanding
  • Actively responds and communicates with the team
  • Members consider them to be the backbone of the team 
  • Has continuous conversations with team members


  • Maintains a condescending tone while speaking to coworkers 
  • Does not encourage or inspire team members to work harder 
  • Does not have set future goals to meet 
  • Is unable to provide quick solutions to problems 
  • Is unable to assign tasks and activities to team members
  • Rarely recognizes efforts of team members 
  • Does not ask for input or suggestions from team members 



  • Gets along easily with other team members while working towards a common goal
  • Is capable of listening to other people’s thoughts, suggestions, and solutions 
  • Well-respected and appreciated by other team members 
  • Has shown keenness towards improving the performance of the team as well as each team member 
  • Is good at managing difficult conversations with team members while taking into consideration their sentiments and efforts 


  • Needs to improve team working ability
  • Does not view the workplace as a team environment
  • Prefers to work alone on projects rather than leading or working in a team
  • Coworkers do not prefer to ask them for help
  • Does not contribute well to team activities or projects
  • Is quick to blame others in situations of accountability 
  • Shows insensitivity towards other members’ feelings 
  • Is not willing to take risks 



  • Has shown the ability to work with little or no supervision/Does not require constant supervision
  • Has actively sought out additional work rather than only sticking to allotted tasks  
  • Has the ability to face new challenges and work outside their comfort zone with enthusiasm and excitement
  • Possesses the entrepreneurial approach while provisioning innovative ideas and solutions 

Overall performance


  • Shows a keen eye for detail while maintaining a good track record in terms of time management, deadlines, and quality of work 
  • Has proven to be an important member of the team and adds great value to the expertise of each team member 
  • Has demonstrated initiative and efforts towards understanding their role better and building on their skillset 


  • Has been unable to meet the performance goal set as per the previous performance review
  • Has been consistently placed towards the bottom of performance ratings
  • Only completes the tasks allotted without any extra initiative or effort
  • Is not known to make significant contributions to the team’s overall success
  • Is not able to communicate goals or solutions to other team members
  • Mostly lacks the drive to improve 

Wrap Up

In a nutshell, with the right words and phrases, you can use a performance review for encouraging employees to work harder and step outside their comfort zone. The above phrases are suggestions and you can always add your personal touch to deliver the message. These days, employees look for honest and constructive feedback and areas where they genuinely lack. So, there is no need to use difficult phrases and figures during a performance review. While honesty is the best policy, the way to deliver this honesty to employees also matters. 

FAQs on Performance Reviews

What should I write in a teamwork performance review? 

In a teamwork performance review, write about each member’s contribution, goals achieved by the team, and areas of improvement. Try to draw a comparison between the team’s previous performance review versus the current one and write about their progress. 

What are the 4 best practices used in a performance appraisal?

The 4 best practices in a performance review include – 
· Using simple and concise communication 
· Provide examples while commenting on the improvement 
· Maintaining consistency in putting out reviews 
· Including multiple perspectives 

How would you review a team’s overall effectiveness?

To review a team’s overall effectiveness, you can – 
· Establish certain metrics to review each team’s progress
· Communicate with the team 
· Have a one-to-one meeting with each team member 
· Talk and discuss the team with other managers

What are the 7 performance elements?

The 7 key elements of a performance review are – 
· Understanding the importance of review 
· Choosing the right time for a review 
· Talking about progress
· Being sympathetic 
· Providing clarity about the review’s aims 
· Including multiple perspectives in the review
· Focusing on professional development and morale-boosting

What is the golden rule of performance appraisals? 

Providing consistent and continuous feedback and later, checking whether the feedback has been incorporated by the employee, during a performance review, is the golden rule to follow. 

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