50 Performance Review Phrases To Inspire and Improve Your Team

Performance reviews shouldn’t be dreadful. In this guide, we help you get performance reviews right

February 26, 2024
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Performance reviews can feel stressful. 😬

You want to inspire workers - managers and employees alike, and help them improve. But you want to be subtle. More importantly, you want to dodge any trouble with Human Resources when your only intention is to help.

In this article, we'll talk about the meaning of performance reviews and provide teamwork performance review phrases you can use to convey feedback clearly, yet subtly, in a timely manner and with a positive attitude.

What is a Performance Review?

A performance review is a review process of assessing an employee’s performance over a certain period. The idea is to provide employees with specific, measurable, actionable insights on how they can improve by highlighting and acknowledging their strengths and weaknesses. 🏆

It’s also a great way to help employees and other team members understand the company’s goals better and how they can align their work with those goals while showcasing communication skills. It's also a great way to help employees become their best selves and become more productive.

According to PR Newswire, a survey of 1,400 GenZers on the industry trends from the International Intern Leadership Conference showed that 63% of respondents prefer to receive timely constructive feedback throughout the year.

The problem? Performance evaluations and self evaluation can have a psychological impact.

Your team might get the wrong message from your review if you call them to your office and go:

What not to say in a performance review

You don’t want to demotivate the employee, but still, help them through actionable feedback. So when providing constructive feedback, sandwich it between positives. 🥪 

What Should You Say in a Performance Evaluation?

Your aim is to maximize performance reviews effectiveness without causing the employees to resent you.

So, how do you write impactful employee performance review phrases that help to create an effective performance review process?

  1. Start with the positives: Ensure employees that you’re noticing what they’re doing well. Be specific (for example, mention they have great time management skills or lots of creative solutions) and inspire them to achieve more with positive feedback.
  2. Provide constructive criticism:  State areas for improvement. Again, be specific. Most importantly, provide actionable steps they can take to improve. Where relevant, provide examples and set goals on how to achieve improved performance.
  3. End on a positive note: Find an overall positive comment to lighten up the workplace before closing the review. For example, acknowledge their progress towards a goal they mentioned during the previous review. Also, ask how you can help moving forward. This will help with the perspective around performance review responses overall.

Remember to lay the groundwork for the next performance appraisal process once you’ve completed the current one. Set achievable goals for the next month, quarter, or year, and periodically check in with the team to offer help.

While it's important to frequently map out time for productive one-on-one meetings, (rather than just sticking with annual performance reviews) it might not always be feasible. But you can use a tool like Assembly to guide the team quickly.

For example, you can use Assembly’s One-on-One Direct Reports template to check in on the team and provide help without investing time in an in-person meeting. Here’s more on how Assembly can help:

50 Positive Performance Review Examples

Performance review sessions can be a hassle but it gets easier when you have a few employment performance review examples up your sleeves.

Below are 50 positive teamwork performance review samples to inspire you during the performance review process.

The examples are categorized based on the area of review.


  1. Proactively asks questions
  2. Always provides constructive feedback to leaders
  3. Open to other members’ ideas and receiving feedback
  4. Concisely and effectively communicates thoughts, ideas, and decisions
  5. Is persuasive and makes logically strong arguments
  6. Tries to understand why a suggestion is rejected and presents thoughtful arguments
  7. Gets along with new team members


  1. Goes the extra mile to complete tasks within the job description
  2. Trusted by team members when inputs are needed for complex projects or tasks
  3. Consistently completes work before they’re due
  4. Aims to exceed expectations


  1. Accepts the group’s preferred methods even when he/she would ideally use a different method
  2. Doesn’t prioritize personal growth over team’s goals
  3. Welcomes ideas and is open to discussing them even when they don’t match his/her ideology
  4. Supports team members when needed

Time Management

  1. Consistently meets deadlines, ensuring he/she doesn’t disrupt the project’s workflow and timeline
  2. Always plans meetings and one-on-ones and ensures they don’t take too much of anyone’s time
  3. Ensures consistent quality of work even in case of faster turnarounds
  4. Reports to the office and meetings on time
  5. Is respectful of other people’s time


  1. Keeps clients updated about the project or work’s progress
  2. Trusted by clients
  3. Builds long-term professional relationships with clients
  4. Has a friendly tone when interacting with clients
  5. Is respectful of the client’s time and boundaries
  6. Empathizes with client’s issues and makes genuine efforts to understand and resolve those issues
  7. Tactfully handles client’s objections to overcome them
  8. Able to handle difficult customers without damaging the business’s reputation


  1. Eager to work on a wide range of tasks
  2. Responds well to change
  3. Admits mistakes and ensures the mistake doesn’t repeat
  4. Handles pressure well and is open to taking on more responsibility if needed
  5. Is capable of adapting to new methods fast


  1. Helps colleagues even when he/she has tight deadlines
  2. Carries a smile and speaks politely with the office staff
  3. Stays composed under pressure and helps colleagues stay focused
  4. Never offends others even when in disagreement with their ideas or opinions
  5. Is highly motivated to grow professionally and encourages others to achieve their full potential


  1. Always brings insightful ideas to the table when working to solve a problem
  2. Uses a logical approach to identifying the root cause and determining a viable solution
  3. Is flexible about trying new problem-solving techniques
  4. Actively seeks challenges and tries to find solutions
  5. Tries to test ideas or verify their relevance and viability when testing isn’t possible
  6. Explains his/her thought process for a solution to ensure others see the rationale clearly


  1. Identifies and assigns tasks that align with the team member’s core skill set but still challenge them
  2. Prioritizes tasks effectively
  3. Is a good negotiator and able to persuade clients effectively
  4. Acknowledges and appreciates the team’s contributions
  5. Sets achievable goals for himself/herself and the team
  6. Leads by example /leads team meetings

And here are some additional review comments that can come in handy:

Colleague Review Example Comments

It can be helpful to include examples of how to phrase feedback for different types of colleagues. For example, you may want to provide specific comments for a team member who needs to improve their communication skills versus someone who excels in that area.

  1. "Your ability to collaborate with team members is outstanding. I've noticed that you consistently find ways to bring out the best in your colleagues and help everyone stay on track."
  2. "I appreciate your attention to detail when it comes to projects. Your thoroughness and accuracy have helped us avoid mistakes and improve the overall quality of our work."
  3. "You consistently go above and beyond in your work and show a strong commitment to the team's success. I appreciate your hard work and dedication."
  4. "I've noticed that you've been taking more initiative lately and have been coming up with creative solutions to problems. Keep up the great work."
  5. "Your communication skills have improved significantly over the past year. You've been more assertive in meetings and have been able to get your point across effectively."

Employee Perfomance Review Sample Comments

These comments can be used as a guide to help employers structure their own feedback, while also providing concrete examples of how to phrase feedback for different situations.

  1. "You consistently produce high-quality work and pay attention to even the smallest details. Your attention to detail has helped our team avoid mistakes and improve the overall quality of our work."
  2. "Your ability to manage projects and meet tight deadlines is impressive. However, I'd like to see you take on more leadership responsibilities in the future."
  3. "You have a strong work ethic and are always willing to go the extra mile to get the job done. However, I've noticed that you sometimes struggle to ask for help when you need it. Don't be afraid to reach out to colleagues or managers for support."
  4. "Your communication skills are excellent and you've been able to build strong relationships with team members and stakeholders. However, I've noticed that you sometimes struggle to express your ideas clearly in written form. Consider taking a writing course to improve this skill."
  5. "Your problem-solving skills are outstanding and you consistently come up with creative solutions to complex challenges. However, I'd like to see you take a more strategic approach to your work and think about how your contributions fit into the bigger picture."

Negative Employee's Performance Review Examples

Although 83% of employees in a survey want feedback, whether negative or positive, it's human nature to prefer positives.

So, while it may be difficult to give negative feedback, you want to help the team grow. So, that’s why you need to deliver constructive criticism in a professional manner.

You should always start and end with the positives. But you also want to help the team grow, and that’s why you need to deliver constructive criticism in a professional manner.

Choose your words carefully when providing constructive feedback to any team member. You want the reluctant team members to understand why something is a problem and offer recommendations on how they can work on it.

Here are some examples for inspiration:

  1. You’ve been missing deadlines over the past quarter. We want to stick to our timelines and be a reliable partner for our clients. Is there something we can do to help you manage your time more effectively? Have you tried using a planner app to plan your time?
  2. You closed fewer clients during the past two quarters. Are you facing any difficulties at work? We can provide training resources if you believe they’ll be helpful.
  3. There have been instances over the past quarter where you didn’t cooperate with the team after a disagreement about team projects. Disagreements are a part of working with a group, but team members must work together towards a common goal. Is there something we can do to help?

Top 10 performance review questions: 

1. How do you handle situations where an employee disagrees with the feedback provided during the performance review?

In situations where an employee disagrees with feedback, it's essential for the manager to remain open and empathetic. The first step is to listen actively to the employee's concerns and understand their perspective. The manager should then provide specific examples and observations that led to the feedback, aiming to clarify any misunderstandings. It's a collaborative process, where the goal is to reach a mutual understanding and agree on a path forward that supports the employee's growth.

2. What are some specific examples of how to set achievable goals for employees during the performance review process?

Setting achievable goals involves creating objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). For example, if an employee needs to improve their project management skills, a specific goal could be to complete a project management certification within the next six months. This goal is measurable (completion of the certification), achievable (with the right resources and time management), relevant (to their job role), and time-bound (six months). Regular check-ins can help ensure the employee is on track and provide an opportunity to adjust the goal as needed.

3. How can managers ensure that performance reviews are equitable and unbiased, especially in diverse teams?

Ensuring equitable and unbiased performance reviews requires a structured approach. Managers should undergo training on unconscious bias to understand how it might influence their evaluations. Implementing a standardized set of criteria for evaluating all employees helps ensure fairness. These criteria should be clearly communicated and based on objective measures of performance. Additionally, soliciting feedback from multiple sources can provide a more comprehensive view of an employee's performance, further mitigating bias.

4. How often should performance reviews be conducted to ensure continuous employee development?

Performance reviews should ideally be conducted at least annually, with many organizations moving towards semi-annual or even quarterly reviews to better support continuous employee development. Frequent feedback sessions allow for timely adjustments to goals and strategies, keeping employees aligned with organizational objectives and their personal growth paths.

5. What are the best practices for conducting virtual performance reviews effectively?

Effective virtual performance reviews require clear communication, privacy, and an emphasis on constructive feedback. Prior to the meeting, ensure all participants have access to the necessary technology and documents. During the review, use video conferencing to maintain a personal connection and ensure privacy to create a safe space for open discussion. Follow up with a written summary of the discussion and agreed-upon next steps.

6. How can performance reviews contribute to employee retention and job satisfaction?

Performance reviews contribute to employee retention and job satisfaction by providing clear expectations, recognizing achievements, and identifying opportunities for growth and development. Constructive feedback and support in achieving career goals make employees feel valued and engaged, reducing turnover and increasing job satisfaction.

7. What role does peer feedback play in the performance review process?

Peer feedback provides a comprehensive view of an employee's performance, offering insights into areas of strength and opportunities for improvement from a different perspective. It can enhance the fairness and accuracy of reviews, foster a culture of openness and trust, and encourage personal and professional development within teams.

8. How can performance review data be used to inform workforce planning and talent development strategies?

Performance review data offers valuable insights into the skills, competencies, and potential of the workforce. This information can be used to identify talent gaps, guide training and development initiatives, and inform succession planning. Analyzing trends over time can also help predict future workforce needs and inform strategic decision-making.

9. What are the challenges of bias in performance reviews, and how can they be mitigated?

Bias in performance reviews can lead to unfair evaluations, affecting morale and career advancement opportunities. To mitigate bias, organizations can implement structured review processes, use standardized evaluation criteria, provide training on unconscious bias, and include multiple raters from diverse perspectives to ensure a fairer, more objective assessment.

10. What are the legal considerations to keep in mind during the performance review process?

Legal considerations include ensuring that the performance review process is consistent, fair, and non-discriminatory. Documentation should be thorough and accurate to support evaluations and decisions made during the process. Compliance with labor laws and regulations is crucial to avoid claims of discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination. Organizations should also respect privacy laws when handling and storing performance review data.

Use the Right Tools for Performance Reviews

Performance management and self-evaluation processes don’t have to be dreadful, time-consuming tasks that threaten your interpersonal skills. Instead of just viewing reviews as a task to check off your list, use them to help the team grow by following performance review best practices to improve professional development (while raising team spirit).

In-person performance reviews can be a time-hog. ⏰

Using a tool like Assembly makes employee reviews easier with customizable workflow templates. For example, for a productive and useful annual performance review example, you can use the Manager feedback template to provide reviews quickly and anonymously while improving the teamwork skills.

The team can ask questions about the feedback using the comments section. More importantly, they’re less likely to feel reluctant about asking questions when you’re not sitting in front of them. Don't forget to throw in some fun with the best team building activities.

Like the sound of it and want to get more performance review phrases for teamwork? Book a Demo today!

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

Explore Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

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