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

July 28, 2022
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How would you describe your job to a five year old?
What season would you be?
What is a weird food you have tried? Would you eat it again?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Would you go in the mother-ship with aliens if they landed on Earth tomorrow?
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Do prefer working from home or the office?
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If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
You are the best criminal mastermind in the world. What crime would you commit if you knew you would get away with it?
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What is a weird fact you know?
What is your favorite part of working from home?
Were the Spice Girls a good team?
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
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Who is someone in your community that makes a difference?
Who was your most unique pet?
Choose one famous person from history you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse.
What is a good way to give back to the community?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
Is Hugh Grant funny?
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Would you want to have an imaginary friend today? Did you have one as a child?
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You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
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What emoji best describes how you are feeling right now?
If you could live in any country, which country would you pick?
Would you rather live in a city or a town?
What is your favorite holiday?
What is something you accomplished as part of a team?
What is your standard office lunch?
What is your most used phone app?
What is your favorite season?
Have you ever won something as a team?
Imagine you are a professional baseball player. What is your introduction song?
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Do you know how to speak more than one language?
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much of a team player are you?
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What is your favorite holiday?
What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
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Which song could you listen to over and over again?
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Where is your favorite vacation spot?
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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.

Below, we talk about the meaning of performance reviews and provide example phrases you can use to convey feedback clearly, yet subtly.

What is a Performance Review?

A performance review is a 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 understand the company’s goals better and how they can align their work with those goals. 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 from the International Intern Leadership Conference showed that 63% of respondents prefer to receive timely constructive feedback throughout the year.

The problem? Performance evaluations 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 performance review phrases?

  1. Start with the positives: Ensure employees that you’re noticing what they’re doing well. Be specific and inspire them to achieve more.
  2. Provide constructive criticism and help:  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 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.

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, 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

Below are 50 positive performance review examples you can use for inspiration. 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
Problem Solving
  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

Negative Performance Review Examples

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

Choose your words carefully when providing constructive feedback. You want the team 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. 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?

Use the Right Tools for Performance Reviews

Performance evaluation processes don’t have to be dreadful, time-consuming tasks. 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.

Now, in-person performance reviews can be a time-hog. ⏰

Using a tool like Assembly makes employee reviews easier with customizable workflow templates. For example, you can use the Manager feedback template to provide reviews quickly and anonymously.

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.

Like the sound of it? Book a Demo today!

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