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Performance Management

41 performance review phrases for managers, peers & yourself

Image of a speech bubble with three dots in it

Are you feeling a little lost in the wilderness of performance review season? Don't worry, we've got you covered!

Performance reviews are a crucial part of the working world, but let's be honest, they can be daunting.

However, they can't be overlooked. Highly engaged employees have an 87% lower likelihood of leaving their positions, and getting performance reviews right plays an important role in the employee experience.

That's why we've put together this list of performance review phrases to help you navigate the maze of peer, self, and managerial performance reviews. 

We'll share a range of example phrases to use in your performance reviews, so you can give feedback that will motivate and inspire your team.

What is a performance review?

Think of your employees as plants in a garden. Just like plants need sun, water, and fertilizer to thrive, your employees need feedback, support, and recognition to grow and succeed. 

That's where performance reviews come in. 

They're your chance to nourish your employees and help them reach their full potential. 

During a performance review, you get to talk to your employees about what they're doing well, where they could improve, and how you can help them get there. 

It's not about criticising or micromanaging - it's about working together to create a healthy, happy, and productive garden. 

💡Pro tip: You don’t have to wait till review time to give and get employee feedback. The Eletive Platform allows you to keep a pulse on your employees year-round with Employee Pulse Surveys

Employee engagement

The Eletive platform allows HR and managers to streamline and automate the entire performance review process.

Performance review phrases for managers

Performance review phrases can help managers evaluate employees accurately and fairly. While also providing meaningful feedback that will help employees improve their work in the future.

When evaluating direct reports, it is important to use positive performance review phrases that focus on strengths rather than weaknesses. 

For example…

  • “You have a strong work ethic and consistently deliver results”

  • “You take initiative when completing tasks and often exceed expectations”. 

These types of comments will encourage employees to continue performing at a high level.

It is imperative to use constructive performance review phrases when addressing areas of improvement, as opposed to being overly critical or negative. 

Instead of saying “you need to do better at time management”, try something like… 

  • “Planning ahead more effectively would be a great way for you to get tasks done faster and smoother” or

  • “Regular attendance at team meetings could help us all stay in the loop with projects”. 

By taking this approach, clear direction can be provided while maintaining an upbeat attitude overall.

Managers should look out for specific examples where employees demonstrate key skills such as problem solving ability or creativity; they should also note instances where improvements need to be made regarding attitude towards colleagues or adherence/compliance with company policies etc. 

By using specific language throughout the entire process - both praise and criticism - managers create an environment that encourages open communication between them and their direct reports which fosters trust, leading to increased engagement levels across teams.

Positive performance review phrases for managers

  • “John has consistently outdone expectations, meeting deadlines ahead of schedule”

  • “Jane's attitude towards her job is admirable as she always goes the extra mile”

  • “Susan achieved all tasks assigned within budget and Joe dealt with customer complaints expeditiously”

  • “John shows excellent initiative when problem-solving” 

  • “Jane demonstrates strong organizational skills when managing projects".

Negative performance review phrases for managers

  • "Let's work on delegating tasks and giving team members the autonomy they need to complete their work effectively."

  • "I've noticed that there have been some misunderstandings lately. Let's work on improving your communication skills to ensure everyone is on the same page."

  • "We need to prioritize our tasks to meet our goals. Let's work together on improving your time management skills to ensure we're meeting our deadlines."

  • "Let's work on developing a leadership style that is more collaborative and supportive of the team, to create a more positive work environment."

  • "Your presentations could be clearer. Let's work on improving your public speaking skills to ensure your message is getting across effectively."

Situational examples

Corrective action

Ella, a marketing executive, has consistently missed deadlines and has been producing low-quality work. 

She’s been given opportunity after opportunity to address this. 

But despite that Ella continues to falter. 

After discussing the issue with her, her manager decides to take corrective action to improve her performance.

Performance review phrases for this situation:

  • "Your performance has fallen below expectations. Let's work together to identify the reasons why and create a plan to improve."

  • "I have noticed that your work has not been meeting the standards we expect. Let's discuss how we can work together to address this issue."

  • "It is important to us that our team members meet deadlines and produce high-quality work. Let's work together to get you back on track."

Promotion or transfer

Sarah has been working as a customer service representative for two years and has consistently exceeded expectations in her role. 

She blows her colleagues out of the water. Because she cares about her customers and has taken extra care in learning about them.

That allows her to handle potential issues with ease. 

Her manager believes she is ready for a promotion or transfer to a higher-level position.

Performance review phrases for this situation:

  • "You have consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic and exceeded expectations in your role. I believe you are ready for a new challenge."

  • "You have shown excellent performance in your current role and have the skills and potential to take on a more senior position."

  • "Your dedication and hard work have not gone unnoticed. I believe you have the potential to excel in a new role."

Eletive makes the performance review process smoother, easier and faster.

For example, you can use our 1on1 meeting templates to steer managers in the right direction. Saving hours of time, frustration and testing.

Screen image of the Eletive app showing a set up for a one-on-one meeting

To learn more about Eletive's 1:1 and performance management features, contact sales for a quick demo.

Peer performance review phrases

Peers should also provide honest but respectful feedback on one another's performances during team presentations, meetings, etc. To get an accurate assessment from multiple perspectives within the organization. 

For instance, Wilfred could be commended for his stellar leadership in running the meeting and Violette could be acknowledged for her preparedness when giving her presentations. This type of peer evaluation helps ensure everyone has equal opportunities for success within the company culture by fostering collaboration among colleagues.

When evaluating peer performance, it’s best to focus on specific examples of behaviour rather than general statements about their overall job performance. 

Positive phrases should highlight strengths and achievements, while negative ones should point out weaknesses and areas for improvement without being overly critical or harsh. 

For example…

Positive peer performance review phrases

  • “Cristobal has consistently demonstrated excellent teamwork skills by helping his peers complete tasks efficiently and effectively.”

  • “Jill has been an invaluable asset to our team with her strong communication skills and willingness to help others succeed."

  • “Sam is always willing to lend a hand when needed, which has made him an integral part of the team dynamic."

Negative peer performance review phrases

  • "John often fails to take initiative on projects despite being given multiple opportunities."

  • "Jill does not demonstrate enough enthusiasm for her work which impacts the morale of the entire team." • "Sam needs to improve his communication skills as he frequently misunderstands instructions from management."

Situational Examples

Team-based work

Bernard is part of a cross-functional team that has been working on a project for the past six months. As the project nears completion, Bernard's team members have recognised his outstanding contributions to the team's success.

His team members used the following phrases to recognize his contributions to the team:

  • "Bernard’s natural ability to connect with team members and build strong relationships has been essential to the team's success."

  • "Bernard’s creative problem-solving skills have been instrumental in overcoming the challenges we've faced as a team."

  • "Bernard’s attention to detail and organisation skills have helped keep the team on track and ensure we meet our deadlines."

Picture of female manager working in front of co-workers, leading the work

360° performance reviews

A 360° approach helps provide a holistic view of an employee's professional performance and behaviour. However, it is essential to regard the 360-degree feedback as a complement to the performance review process, and not use it as a performance appraisal on its own..

Eletive's 360° feedback surveys contain both closed questions, where the reviewers gets to the accuracy of statements on a scale from 1-5, and open-ended questions where they can provide feedback in their own words. Integrating 360° feedback in the performance process helps increase self-awareness, encourages self-reflection from team members, and provides invaluable insights into any blind spots management may have overlooked previously that can still be acted upon. When implementing 360-degree feedback in an organisation, it's important to communicate clearly what is expected of the reviewers, and what the purpose is. Everyone needs to understand that this feedback is for the benefit of the person being reviewed, and the purpose is to help them grow and develop. Therefore the tone and content of 360° feedback scould always be helpful and constructive.

Example of performance review phrases that peers can use when in a 360 review situation:

  • "Tanya's creative problem-solving skills have been a game-changer for our team, and her unique perspective has led to some truly innovative solutions."

  • "Jake's positive attitude and infectious energy have not only lifted the morale of our team but have also inspired us to go above and beyond in our work."

  • "Maria's unwavering dedication to quality has resulted in some of the best work our team has produced, and her attention to detail is second to none."

Related reading: 360-degree feedback questions [with examples]

Self-performance review phrases

Self-performance review phrases can help individuals reflect on their own performances objectively by asking themselves questions such as: What have I done well? What areas could I improve on for future performances? How am I progressing towards my professional goals? 

Answering these questions honestly can lead to greater self-awareness which ultimately leads to improved job satisfaction and career development over time.

When writing self-performance review phrases, it is important to be specific about what was done well and where improvement could be made. 

Positive self-performance review phrases 

  • “I successfully completed all tasks assigned within the given timeframe” 

  • “I handled customer complaints professionally and efficiently”. 

Negative self-performance review phrases 

Constructive feedback should address any issues that need improvement such as… 

  • “I could have been more proactive in addressing customer concerns”

  • “I need to work on my communication skills when dealing with difficult customers”.

If there is a particular skill that needs developing such as public speaking then this should be noted down alongside other achievements like receiving recognition for completing projects early or exceeding sales targets month after month. 

This kind of reflection will help managers evaluate each employee's progress accurately come evaluation time.

Situational examples

Mid-year review

You're halfway through the year, and it's time for a mid-year review. You've had some successes and challenges, and you want to take stock of where you are and what you need to do to achieve your goals for the rest of the year.

Performance review phrases for a self-review:

  • "I've shown resilience and resourcefulness in tackling unexpected challenges, and have demonstrated an ability to adapt and find creative solutions."

  • "My strong work ethic has allowed me to consistently meet deadlines and exceed expectations, even when faced with competing priorities."

  • "I've taken the initiative to seek out new opportunities for professional development and growth, and have actively pursued learning opportunities outside of my comfort zone."

  • "I've demonstrated effective communication skills by clearly articulating my ideas and actively listening to feedback, resulting in improved collaboration and teamwork."

Performance review writing tips

Composing successful appraisals can be a daunting task, yet there are several key strategies HR administrators should remember when constructing them.

Provide specific feedback on the employee’s performance 

Avoid general statements like “you did a good job” or “you need to do better next time." Instead focus on what the employee has done well and how they could improve going forward. This will give the employee clear direction and help them understand exactly where they stand with their manager.

Use positive language when possible

Performance reviews don't have to be all negative; instead focus on highlighting areas where employees excel or have improved over time as well as areas that need further development or improvement. By emphasizing both successes and opportunities for growth it encourages employees to strive towards their goals while also giving them recognition for their achievements thus far.

Constructive criticism should always be phrased positively as well; rather than pointing out what someone has done wrong, emphasize how they could do it better next time. 

Examples:

  • “If you plan ahead more carefully, you will be able to complete tasks faster”

  • “By taking extra care when preparing reports you will ensure accuracy every time”.

Conclusion

As a HR Manager, it is important to use performance review phrases in order to accurately measure and increase employee engagement and performance. 

By using the right words during reviews, managers can provide clear feedback on an employee's progress while also inspiring them to reach their goals. 

Additionally, self-reviews allow employees to reflect upon their own work which further contributes towards bettering themselves as well as the team or organization they are part of.

Take the guesswork out of employee performance reviews with Eletive. Our easy-to-use tools help you measure and improve engagement for better results in your organisation. Contact sales today for more information. 

FAQs in relation to performance review examples

What should I write in a performance review example?

Employee performance reviews are an important tool for measuring and increasing employee engagement and performance. When evaluating an employee, it is essential to be precise regarding their accomplishments, capabilities, shortcomings, areas needing development and overall contribution to the team or company.

For example: "James has consistently demonstrated strong communication skills in his role as Sales Manager. He regularly exceeds expectations with customer service initiatives and has been instrumental in driving sales growth over the past year."

By providing clear feedback that focuses on both successes and areas of development opportunities, managers can help employees reach their fullest potential while also encouraging them to continue striving for excellence.

How do you start a performance review essay?

A performance review essay should begin by outlining the objectives of the review, such as identifying areas for improvement and recognising accomplishments. It is essential to outline what will be expected of the individual going forward and how these criteria will be assessed.

The essay should also include an evaluation of past performance against established goals or standards, with specific examples where applicable. Finally, it should conclude with suggestions on how to improve employee engagement and productivity in the future.

How do you write a performance review statement?

A performance review statement should be an objective assessment of the employee's work. It should detail their accomplishments as well as any areas for improvement. A performance review statement should also provide clear examples to demonstrate the points being made, and offer helpful feedback on how the employee can progress. The performance review statement should always focus on tangible results and SMART goals to motivate employees towards further success.

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