· Tricia Tan  · 6 min read

Useful Phrases for Effective Employee Performance Reviews

Every organization thrives on teamwork and collaboration. And with these values at the heart of your workflow, you don’t need us to tell you that giving feedback is very important.

Feedback is often given to your team members during the performance review season. As their leader, you are tasked to brief them on how well they performed their tasks. You’ll also give them pointers on how to improve specific areas of their performance, if any.

While feedback should always be offered and received, employee performance reviews provide a particularly beneficial opportunity for development.

Oddly, when it comes to performance reviews, not knowing what to say or write might lead to more issues than it resolves. Many corporate executives and managers struggle to find the right words, especially when there are tight deadlines.

So read up if you have difficulty figuring out the proper and most effective phrases to say what you mean.

We’ve rounded up some of the best ones just for you.

Employee performance review in a nutshell

A performance review is a formal, regulated assessment tool in which managers and key stakeholders evaluate an employee’s work performance.

The purpose is to learn more about their strengths and weaknesses, offer constructive feedback for skill development in the future, and assist with goal setting.

Whichever approach you choose for performance reviews, a well-planned and executed appraisal boosts employee engagement and sets the tone for creating a culture of feedback and ongoing development at your organization.

Since they are the most knowledgeable about the employee’s position and present work, the line manager typically conducts the employee performance review.

The evaluation may occasionally be led by a leadership group, a team leader, a more senior leader, or a member of human resources.

Why do employee performance reviews matter?

Performance reviews have immediate benefits and long-term gains for companies and individuals seeking a summary of their professional development, strengths, and flaws.

When effective, employee performance reviews give the following benefits:

Helps employees align their goals to that of the company’s

In an employee performance review, managers ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the company’s goals.

Effective managers can also explain how the employee’s role and contributions fit into the wider picture—this motivates the employee to deliver constantly.

Clears up any misunderstandings on job responsibilities

A good performance review is two-way. Meaning employees also get the chance to answer questions about their roles.

Any uncertainty at work is minimized when staff members and managers can grasp and own their job responsibilities. Each person is responsible for their work and obligations.

But, employees are unproductive when there are overlapping roles or general confusion about their duties and responsibilities.

Gives actionable feedback to improve the employee

Frequent feedback helps to improve workplace communication as a whole.

Performance evaluations help determine a person’s strengths and limitations and, more importantly, enable employees to define the standards to which they must live up to.

The review may motivate staff members to go above and beyond what is expected and feel more fulfilled in their work.

Provides an avenue to discuss career advancement

Performance reviews give the perfect opportunity to plan and set goals to further an employee’s career.

Also, performance reviews help employees receive any additional training or mentoring that might serve as the foundation for HR to create future succession planning.

Recognizes employees and their contributions

In addition to money, an employee performance review offers bonuses and time off as other ways to express appreciation for a job well done.

Working hard is encouraged by the prospect of earning a performance evaluation that goes above and beyond “exceeds expectations” and acknowledges your efforts. This could pave the path for future career advancement.

Here’s what you should say

There is a lot of pressure to convey employee feedback effectively. Therefore, balancing giving constructive criticism and favorable feedback might be challenging.

So why don’t you simplify things? Try phrasing your feedback into a list of things your team member needs to stop, start, and continue doing.

This framework is useful for explaining to staff members how to take the initiative for their personal growth. Although employees should be responsible for their development, supervisors might use these terms to monitor their progress and hold them accountable.

Here’s one way to phrase what you mean if your staff is doing well: “You are excellent at [action], and I would love to see more of it.”

You praise actions that you wish to motivate an employee to continue using this performance phrase.

This clarifies to the person what they are doing well and what is expected of them to receive future positive performance reports and potential promotions. Your comments will significantly impact the employee more if they are more detailed.

Another way to say your staff is doing well is: “I encourage you to continue [activity]. I’ve received positive feedback that this has significantly helped the team [outcome].”

This performance phrase is different because it offers you the chance to include criticism from the peers of the person being reviewed.

Whether this criticism is anonymous will depend on how comfortable your team is with it. Your employee will feel appreciated by others in addition to you with this phrase.

If you want to discuss the employee’s areas for improvement, you can say this: “You should stop [activity] because it results in [consequence].”

This is a way to communicate to your staff that a particular, apparent activity they did is not desired. Also, it offers you the option to discuss the adverse effects with someone who may not have been aware of them beforehand.

It’s critical to confirm that you or a team member have seen this behavior repeatedly; otherwise, explaining why your employee is getting this kind of advice may be challenging.

If telling an employee to stop doing something makes you uncomfortable, try pointing them in the right direction.

You can say something like: “I highly encourage you to start [activity] since it will help you [define the desired outcome].”

To summarize

In giving feedback, your purpose is always to bring up something actionable that will significantly help your employees improve their performance and even advance in their careers.

Using clear language is one of the most effective ways to communicate your feedback—it also helps to be kind and empathetic so the whole performance review becomes a dialogue, not a monologue.

If you’re looking for HR insights and a platform that’ll help you streamline your HR workflow, Hezum’s here for you.

Visit our website or schedule a demo to learn more about how this solution works for your business.

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