50 New & Innovative Performance Review Phrases

Performance reviews provide a great opportunity for HR managers and business owners to point out what their team members are doing right. It can also be an excellent time to boost employee empowerment. However, review time can also present a number of challenges. This is especially true if one of your employees needs to make major improvements in certain areas. It can be useful to have some starter performance review phrases handy to help you conduct a professional and in-depth review that provides valuable feedback and avoids hurt feelings or defensiveness.

Dependent on your performance appraisal method and set of objectives, these phrases could easily help you become comfortable with giving necessary feedback. Divided into categories depending on what skills or goals you are reviewing, here are 50 of the most valuable phrases that can be customized for your own appraisals.


• Improved production on (x) goal set out at beginning of review period
• Exceeded production expectations on (x) goal set out at beginning of review period
• Tends to take initiative to gather the information and tools needed to get a project completed on time and above expectations
• Sets measurable goals and continually strives to attain them
• Struggles to match the results of his/her teammates when it comes to (x)


• Exceeds expectations in arriving on time for meetings and conferences
• Improved attendance at non-mandatory training and meetings
• Has not met goals set out for arriving on time as set out at beginning of review period
• Completes deadlines in a timely manner
• Respects the time of others by arriving at team meetings on time


• Has greatly improved on hitting production goals on (x) since last review
• Has not displayed consistent productivity improvement since last appraisal
• Exceeds output expectations set out for his/her department
• Makes a large contribution to the overall success of his/her department through excellent productivity
• Consistently falls below others on the team regarding work output

Communication Skills

• Displays improved listening skills in meetings with colleagues and managers
• Excels at communicating project expectations to those he/she manages
• Needs to work on fully understanding a situation before making defensive explanations
• Effectively communicates with team members on projects and delegates when necessary
• Builds company morale and cooperation through effective group facilitation


• Effectively collaborates with other team members to get projects finished efficiently
• Shows improvement delegating tasks to others when overwhelmed
• Excels at sharing knowledge and tips with new team members to help them become part of the team
• Could work on helping team members complete tasks for overall success of project
• Has a tendency to make others feel hesitant asking him/her for help as they do not know the reaction they will get


• Shows ability to come up with new solutions for problems when old ways of thinking are ineffective
• Tends to shut down instead of finding new ways of working when expectations are not met
• Displays improvement in taking on new tasks or changing workflow when situation requires
• Rigidly sticks to traditional methods of project management even when results do not warrant it
• Consistently uses constructive criticism to improve his/her skills and work processes


• Shows curiosity for new ways to thinking and communicating to improve projects and customer satisfaction
• Continually pushes for more responsibility and shows willingness to put in extra hours
• Is continuously striving to improve skills and production
• Lacks the initiative to willingly take on more complicated tasks or projects
• Tends to wait for projects to be handed to him/her rather than requesting more responsibility


• Needs to work on talking to employees on their level without being condescending
• His/her team often comments on how he/she makes them feel comfortable in voicing opinions and ideas
• Clearly understands strengths of team members and delegates accordingly
• Displays a strong worth ethic that effectively motivates team members to excel
• Promotes a culture of learning and understand that team members respond well to


• Appears to be hesitant when it comes to taking creative risks that are outside the box
• Has a vision for the future of the company and applies creative ideas to help implement it
• Always contributes fresh ideas at team meetings and on projects
• Fails to reward those under his/her management for innovative ideas or suggestions
• Strives to always take new information into account and adjust plans accordingly


• Has displayed capability to solve complex problems independently, but tends to defer to others on the team
• Shows creativity and initiative when tackling complicated problems
• Tends to make excuses and blame others on team when problems arise instead of working to solve them
• Recognizes problems when they are at early stages and implements solutions proactively
• Empowers those he/she manages to solve problems on their own

Giving employee performance reviews is never easy, though they are certainly necessary. They are also convenient for both your staff and supervisors to come together and find common ground. Keep in mind that these phrases are valuable for employees who are exceeding expectations and for those who might be falling short. All employees should be given goals to work towards during performance reviews.

You must also realize that all employees have room for improvement. By using some of the above performance review phrases, you can make employee appraisals a positive and empowering event. They can also help you navigate cross-cultural differences effectively and provide gentle guidance while still maintaining morale.You will find that your employees will feel better about their performance and even strive for greatness, as these valuable phrases will certainly give them confidence.



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