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Employee performance

Employee Performance Review Examples: How to and How Not to Do It

  • Omer Usanmaz
  • March 30 2023

Employee performance reviews are essential to any organization's human resources strategy. These performance appraisal reviews provide a structured and formal opportunity for managers and employees to discuss job performance, set goals, and identify areas for improvement. The primary purpose of a performance review is to evaluate an employee's performance over a specific period and to provide feedback on their strengths and areas for improvement.


Effective performance reviews are not just about identifying problems; they are also an opportunity to recognize and reward employees for their hard work and achievements. They provide a platform for managers to give employees constructive feedback and help them understand how their efforts contribute to the company's overall success.


Effective reviews of employees are also an important tool for determining employee development needs and creating training and development plans. They also play a vital role in the process of determining pay increases, promotions, and other forms of recognition and rewards.


In short, performance reviews are a critical aspect of a company's approach to human resources improvement; they provide a way to evaluate employee performance, set goals, identify areas for improvement, and recognize and reward employees for their hard work and achievements. They are essential for creating a positive and productive work environment and ensuring the continued growth and success of the organization.


What Are Employee Performance Reviews?

Employee performance reviews, also known as performance evaluations or performance appraisals, are a process in which an employee's job performance is evaluated by their supervisor or manager. The review typically takes place on a regular basis, such as a quarterly performance review, or it may also be done annually or semi-annually and covers a specific period of time. The review process often includes a self-evaluation by the employee, followed by a meeting between the employee and their supervisor, during which the employee's performance is discussed, and feedback is given.

The main objectives of employee performance reviews are to:

  1. Evaluate an employee's job performance over a specific period of time. This includes assessing their skills, knowledge, and abilities concerning the job requirements, as well as their work behavior and attitude.
  2. Provide feedback to the employee on their creative ideas, areas for improvement and strengths. This feedback should be both positive and constructive, highlighting what the employee is doing well and what they need to improve upon.
  3. Set goals for the employee for the next performance review period. This may include specific performance targets or objectives, as well as any necessary training or development plans.
  4. Identify employee development needs and create training and development plans. Performance reviews can help managers identify areas where employees may need additional training or development to improve their job performance.
  5. Determine pay increases, promotions, and other forms of recognition and rewards. Performance reviews are often used as a basis for determining an employee's eligibility for pay increases, promotions, and other forms of recognition and rewards.
  6. Foster communication and relationship between employee and manager, promoting a positive work environment and mutual understanding.
  7. Contribute to the success of the company. By regularly assessing employee performance and addressing any issues, organizations can ensure that they have a highly skilled and motivated workforce that is able to meet the organization's objectives and goals.


How to Conduct a Successful Performance Review

Conducting a successful and efficient performance review requires careful planning and execution. Here is a step-by-step process on how to run a performance review:

  1. Prepare in advance: Before the review, gather all relevant information, such as job descriptions, performance metrics, and any previous performance evaluations. Prepare any necessary forms or templates, and set a date and location for the review meeting.
  2. Self-evaluation: Provide employees with a self-evaluation form and give them enough time to complete it. This will give them an opportunity to reflect on their own performance and to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  3. Review the employee's work: Before the meeting, review the employee's work, including their self-evaluation and any other relevant information, such as performance metrics and customer feedback.
  4. Conduct the review meeting: During the review meeting, discuss the employee's performance, focusing on their strengths and areas for improvement. Provide specific examples and use objective data to support your feedback. Allow the employee to ask questions and provide their own feedback.
  5. Set goals and action plans: Together with the employee, set specific, measurable, and achievable goals for the next review period and develop action plans to achieve them.
  6. Provide written documentation: After the meeting, provide the employee with a written document summarizing the review and action plans. This will serve as a reference for both the employee and the manager and help ensure that the goals and action plans are met.
  7. Follow up: Follow up with the employee to ensure that the action plans are being implemented and progress is being made toward the goals.
  8. Use the review for employee development: Use the review as an opportunity for employee development by providing training and development opportunities to help employees improve their skills and meet their goals.


It's important to note that a performance review should be a two-way communication. It should be a constructive and positive process for both the employee and the manager. It should be focused on employee development and growth rather than blame or punishment. Moreover, it should be conducted regularly, not only when an employee is underperforming, to be able to catch any issues early and address them in a timely manner.


What Are Some Common Useful Performance Feedback Phrases and Examples to Use for Reviews?

When conducting performance evaluations, picking the proper language is essential since it can make the session more beneficial and inspiring for the individual. It's critical to give concrete examples and be transparent about the employee's accomplishments and room for development.


Some effective performance feedback phrases include:

  • "You have shown significant improvement in your ability to meet deadlines."
  • "I appreciate your strong work ethic and effective time management behavior."
  • "You have a great ability to communicate with others, but I suggest working on your active listening skills."
  • "You have a clear understanding of your role and responsibilities."
  • "I have noticed a decrease in your productivity. Can you explain why this is happening and what steps you plan to take to improve?"


The additional examples below are meant to inspire you to start considering how to conduct performance evaluations for your team members. The phrases are arranged according to the various abilities, qualities, and dimensions of performance that are frequently discussed in assessments. The list contains both positive options and negative options.

It's crucial to remember, though, that for these example performance feedback phrases sentences to be meaningful, they must be supported by verifiable data and concrete work examples.


Interpersonal Skills

  1. Works well in a team setting to complete specific jobs or projects.
  2. Ties with internal and external stakeholders that are conducive to cooperation.
  3. Is a strong team player, as seen by their readiness to pitch in and participate when necessary [particular examples would be great].
  4. Actively communicates technical or subject knowledge of products, abilities, and expertise to other team members.
  5. Has consistently tackled tough assignments with a knack for thinking and coming up with creative solutions.
  6. Could show more teamwork by assisting others in completing their tasks so that the project as a whole is completed.
  7. Has a propensity for not participating in team or project meetings and is occasionally absent from team events or bonding exercises.


Communication Skills

  1. Is a skilled communicator, as evidenced by specific events or incidents.
  2. Demonstrates the capacity for effective communication up, down, and across the business.
  3. Excels at creating contact channels with all kinds of people, such as clients and stakeholders.
  4. Consistently brings innovative ideas and insights to meetings with the team and the project.
  5. Needs to practice a specific course or  learning material to improve their writing communication skills.
  6. There is room for improvement in listening abilities, especially during team meetings when various points of view are voiced.
  7. Must demonstrate a stronger readiness to contribute innovative ideas and insights during team and project meetings.



  1. Consistently surpasses the productivity goals set at each evaluation and review milestone.
  2. Boosts overall company productivity with technical skills, knowledge of industry trends, and alternative solutions.
  3. Consistently exceeds expectations in every way with minimal supervision.
  4. Exceeds the company's standards set by supervisors or managers for the job title or project function.
  5. Exceptional contribution to the efficiency of the team.
  6. Has fallen short of the productivity requirements established for the job duties or project function.
  7. Is not consistently achieving the productivity goals set at the checkpoints for performance reviews and appraisals.



  1. Increased individual and team performance in the key performance areas below by x% or overall productivity levels.
  2. Achieved or surpassed the target stated in the performance assessment from the previous year by a margin of y%.
  3. Takes the initiative and is proactive in acquiring the data, putting together the team members, gathering the equipment needed, and finding innovative solutions to finish a project on schedule and within budget.
  4. Sets attainable objectives for the team and oneself and keeps track of progress.
  5. Strong proof that a specific activity or accomplishment was completed.
  6. Has fallen short of colleagues' performance in terms of the x, y, and z productivity goals.
  7. Has dropped by x% short of the productivity target set in the performance assessment from the previous year.


Attendance Levels

  1. Respects colleagues by being punctual and showing up on time for meetings.
  2. Demonstrates a desire to go above and beyond at busy times at work.
  3. Has a fantastic annual attendance rate of x%.
  4. Has not demonstrated the necessary levels of punctuality and attendance.
  5. At x%, sick days and absences from work are higher than the y% industry norm.


Time Management

  1. Regularly meets all deadlines set forth for the team and the project and completes tasks on time.
  2. Consistently arrives at meetings with a planned agenda and supporting documentation. Takes the time to process the information and shows up prepared to contribute to meetings.
  3. Efficiently facilitates meetings such that all team members are encouraged to participate, agendas are kept on time, and a precise record of results and actions is promptly distributed.
  4. Has improved the organization's management by putting effective time management behavior into practice.
  5. Has developed more effective ways to carry out x, y, or z administrative support systems and prevent the duplication of information.
  6. Improves effective time management skills necessary to ensure that projects and activities are routinely delivered on time and that if they are not, the reasons why are clearly conveyed as soon as possible.


Cooperation and Team Collaboration

  1. Is able to work well with peers on a team and in an effective team collaboration project to finish a task.
  2. Demonstrates a readiness to exchange concepts, best practices, and novel approaches in team collaboration.
  3. Has a cooperative and collaborative mindset and has proved themselves to be a team player. Strives to create and be part of a positive team environment.
  4. Has an aptitude for listening that helps build a healthy team environment.
  5. Has the propensity to work alone and is not an effective team player.
  6. When contributing to team collaboration meetings or project discussions, the employee can be unnecessarily critical or harsh to peers.
  7. Fails to look outside of the healthy team environment and department for the wider picture.


Leadership Skills

  1. Is an efficient motivator who is aware of the team members' unique strengths and skills.
  2. Delegates duties to team members in an efficient manner, outlining their expectations and responsibilities.
  3. Leads by example and exhibits an unshakeable work ethic. Fit for a leadership role.
  4. Encourages a cooperative atmosphere that reflects the culture and values of the company.
  5. Is willing to offer support and direction to staff members, especially in stressful situations.
  6. Expert at identifying a coachable person and training them for advanced job roles.


Conflict Resolution

  1. Has demonstrated excellent conflict resolution skills by finding common ground with team members.
  2. Has shown the ability to remain calm and objective when dealing with conflicting opinions.
  3. Appreciable ability to mediate disputes and bring about a resolution.
  4. Has a good sense of when to involve a higher-up in a conflict and when to handle it independently.
  5. Commendable ability to maintain a professional attitude when dealing with conflicts.

In addition to using positive and negative phrases, it is also important to provide specific feedback and discuss how the employee can improve. Additionally, it is important to use the review as an opportunity to set goals and expectations for the future. A performance review is not only a time to evaluate an employee's performance but also a time to discuss the employee's growth and development within the company.


How Not to Provide Feedback in Reviews

Providing employee performance reviews can be a delicate task, and it's important to avoid certain pitfalls to ensure that the review is fair and constructive. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when conducting employee performance reviews:

  1. Not being prepared: Before conducting a performance review, it's important to gather all relevant information about the employee's performance, including their strengths and areas for improvement. Failure to do so may lead to a review that is not based on solid evidence and can appear arbitrary. Managers should keep detailed notes throughout the year, documenting the employee's performance, achievements, and any areas for improvement. This will ensure that the review is well-informed and that the employee is given accurate feedback.
  2. Being vague: It's important to provide specific and detailed feedback during a performance review. Avoid using general phrases such as "you're doing well" or "you need to improve." Instead, provide specific examples of what the employee is doing well and what needs to be improved. For example, instead of saying, "you need to improve your communication skills," a manager might say, "I noticed that in our team meeting last week, you had difficulty getting your point across. Can you tell me more about that and how you plan to improve?"
  3. Being overly critical: While it's important to provide constructive feedback, it's also important to maintain a positive tone. Being overly critical can demotivate the employee and can lead to a negative work environment. Managers should strive to find a balance between pointing out areas for improvement and highlighting the employee's strengths. This can be done by using specific examples and providing actionable steps to improve employee performance.
  4. Not providing actionable steps: A performance review is not just about pointing out what the employee is doing wrong; it's also about providing actionable steps for the employee to improve their performance. Managers should work with the employee to identify specific, measurable goals that will help them improve their performance. This can include providing additional training or resources or setting up regular check-ins to track progress.
  5. Not providing an opportunity for feedback: A performance review is a two-way conversation. It's important to provide the employee with an opportunity to give feedback on their performance and to discuss their goals and aspirations. This can help the employee feel more invested in their work and can also provide valuable insights for the manager.
  6. Not following up: A performance review is not a one-time event. It's important to follow up with the employee to see how they are progressing and to provide additional feedback if necessary. This can be done through regular check-ins or by scheduling a follow-up performance review.
  7. Being biased: It's important to avoid personal biases when conducting a performance review. This means focusing on the employee's performance, not personal characteristics or attributes. Managers should strive to be as objective as possible and base their feedback on facts and evidence.
  8. Not being consistent: It's important to ensure that performance reviews are conducted regularly and that the same criteria are used for all employees. This ensures that the process is fair and objective. Managers should also ensure that they are consistent in how they deliver feedback, regardless of the employee's level of seniority or position within the company.
  9. Not taking into account the employee's perspective: The employee's perspective is important; it's important to consider the employee's point of view and to understand the context in which they are working. Managers should ask open-ended questions and actively listen to the employee's responses. This will help to get a better understanding of the employee's perspective.
  10. Not providing recognition: Performance reviews are an opportunity to recognize and reward employees for their hard work and achievements. Managers should take the time to acknowledge the employee's successes and celebrate their contributions to the company. This not only motivates the employee but also helps them grow.

By avoiding these mistakes, managers can ensure that performance reviews are fair, constructive, and beneficial for both the employee and the company.


Why Constructive Feedback Is Important in Employee Reviews

Constructive feedback is a vital component of employee performance reviews as it helps to improve the employee's output standards and overall job satisfaction. It provides the employee with a clear understanding of their strengths and areas for improvement and allows them to set goals for their future performance.


One of the main benefits of constructive feedback is that it helps employees to identify and overcome any obstacles that may be hindering their performance. It also helps to create a sense of accountability and responsibility for the employee's performance and allows them to take ownership of their work. Constructive feedback also helps to build an atmosphere of trust and respect between the employee and the manager. When employees receive honest and fair feedback, they are more likely to feel valued and respected, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and motivation.


In addition, providing constructive feedback allows employees to understand how their performance aligns with the company's goals and objectives. This can help to align the employee's efforts with the company's overall mission and vision.

Overall, constructive feedback is an essential tool for managers to use to improve employee performance and engagement and to help them reach their full potential within the company

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