Performance Review Examples

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 18, 2020
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Everyone needs feedback about what they’re doing well and what they need to improve on, and your employees are no different.

As a manager, you need to regularly provide this for your workers, as even the most qualified hires need accountability and encouragement to continue growing.

This is why many companies require regular performance reviews for all of their employees.

What Is a Performance Review?

Performance reviews are regularly held one-on-one meetings where managers give feedback to each of their employees.

The feedback addresses both employees’ strengths and weaknesses, and the most effective reviewers will also provide ideas on how to improve those weaknesses. Performance reviews can also be an opportunity for employees to work with their supervisors to set personal goals.

How often performance reviews are held depends on the company. Sometimes they’re annual meetings, and other times they’re held twice a year or every quarter. Other times they’re held far more frequently and are treated more informally. The rate may change for newer employees, too, as they might be reviewed more often than their more established colleagues.

Companies conduct these reviews to keep employees and their managers accountable so that they continue to grow and improve their skills. They’re also kept on record for evaluating if an employee deserves a promotion or if they need a reference for a new position.

Organizations usually standardize their performance review materials across the company so that they know all employees are being held to similar standards. Some even hire professional reviewers or performance managers to handle this for them.

To do this, they often set up systems that allow managers to assess specific skills or qualities. Sometimes these also include a rating scale to make it easier to evaluate employees and compare employees’ self-evaluations with managerial evaluations.

Other times, these systems just prompt managers to provide feedback however they’d like to.

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12 Common Performance Review Skills

If you’re preparing to give a performance review, there are some common skills that many reviews cover.

While the skills you’re reviewing will depend on your organization and your employee’s position, here are some examples of some of the most common ones, as well as questions to think through to help you answer them:

  1. Achievement. Have your employees been setting and meeting goals? Have they gone above and beyond in any area?

  2. Adaptability. Are your employees willing to take on changes and new challenges? Do they respond well when things don’t go according to plan?

  3. Accountability and integrity. Do your workers own their mistakes and work to fix them? How do they respond to constructive criticism?

  4. Communication. How are their communication skills? Do they let you know when they’re behind on a project? Do they actively avoid misunderstandings in their emails and phone calls?

  5. Teamwork and cooperation. Do they work well with their colleagues? Are they team players who understand they occasionally need to make sacrifices for the good of the group?

  6. Creativity and innovation. Do your employees share new ideas and create ways to improve processes and products? Or are they instead content to stay in their comfortable rut?

  7. Attendance and punctuality. Do your employees show up on time? Do they come in when they say they’re going to, stay until the workday is finished, and remain focused throughout the day? Do they take a reasonable number of days off and give you the proper notice when they do?

  8. Interpersonal skills. How do they get along with their colleagues? Their clients? Do they solve conflicts quickly and professionally, or do they create more drama within the office?

  9. Teachability and professional development. Are your employees actively seeking out ways to learn and grow? Are they teachable when you or someone else tries to help them?

  10. Productivity and work quality. Do your employees consistently give you good results? Do they actively add to the company and stay productive throughout the day?

  11. Time management. Can you rely on your workers to keep themselves organized and not allow anything to fall through the cracks? Do they regularly meet deadlines without prompting from you?

  12. Improvement. What are your employees’ weaknesses? In what areas could your employees grow, even if they aren’t performing poorly?

Examples of Effective Performance Review Phrases

Now that you know how you’re going to be assessing your employees, it’s time to craft ways to explain what you see in them and what you want them to improve on.

The best use of performance reviews is to encourage your workers to continue their good habits and help them identify ways to improve on their weaknesses instead of just pointing them out.

You should also give as many specific examples as possible so that your employees will have a reference point for your feedback and so that corporate leaders will have a better understanding of your workers’ achievements when they’re being considered for a promotion.

While you should obviously adjust your statements to reflect your employees, here are some examples of phrases you can use to communicate your feedback for each skill:

  1. Achievement.

    • “Improved production by 5% by streamlining communication process.”

    • “Regularly sets and achieves well-thought-out goals.”

    • “Created a new inventory tracking system by redesigning workflow, cutting down errors by 10%.”

    • “Exceeded original sales goal by 5% by increasing his number of daily cold calls.”

  2. Adaptability.

    • “Willingly adjusts her schedule to cover empty shifts.”

    • “Quickly adapts to last-minute changes in project timelines.”

    • “Responds well to being assigned new tasks and quickly learns how to complete them.”

    • “Cheerfully accepts changes in his daily schedule and adjusts his to-do list accordingly.”

  3. Accountability and integrity.

    • “Immediately admits when she’s made a mistake, apologizes for it, and explains the steps she’s going to take to rectify it.”

    • “Informs me as soon as he knows that he won’t be able to keep a commitment or deadline.”

    • “Takes responsibilities seriously and works to complete them independently, but asks for help when needed.

  4. Communication.

    • “Keeps meetings organized and to-the-point.”

    • “Excellent at ensuring everyone’s voice is heard in group discussions.”

    • “Effectively communicates expectations to the team.”

    • “Intentionally works to make sure team members understand their assignments.”

  5. Teamwork and cooperation.

    • “Works well with other team members.”

    • “Willingly makes sacrifices for the good of the organization.”

    • “Cheerfully accepts project assignments that aren’t technically part of her job description.”

    • “Regularly asks colleagues what he can do to help them.”

  6. Creativity and innovation.

    • “Presented and implemented a new strategy for better communicating with clients, raising customer satisfaction rates by 3%.”

    • “Shows initiative in creating new solutions to improve team performance.”

    • “Constantly finds new ideas and approaches to overcoming obstacles.”

  7. Attendance and punctuality.

    • “Always shows up on time and communicates requests for days off far in advance.”

    • “Is the first person in the office every morning and is the last person to leave.”

    • “Is intentional about taking breaks to refresh his mind instead of falling into distractions throughout the day.”

  8. Interpersonal skills.

    • “Creates calm, positive team environments.”

    • “Works well on teams both when in a leadership position and when not in one.”

    • “Develops strong professional relationships with colleagues and clients.”

    • “Handles conflict quickly and calmly, preventing it from growing out of proportion while keeping relationships intact.”

  9. Teachability and professional development.

    • “Asks for help when he needs it.”

    • “Always seeking and taking advantage of relevant professional development opportunities.”

    • “Eagerly and graciously accepts help and instruction.”

  10. Productivity and work quality.

    • “Is a vital contributor to her team and its success through her high-quality work.”

    • “Continually exceeds performance standards.”

    • “Takes initiative to find helpful tasks to do when his workload is light.”

    • “Always finding new ways to improve engagement metrics and increase brand awareness.”

  11. Time management.

    • “Always meets his deadlines.”

    • “Created a personal calendar system to track all project progress and individual tasks.”

    • “Respects others’ time and notifies them if she is going to be late to a meeting or late getting a project in.”

  12. Improvement.

    • “Needs to work on creating and maintaining professional relationships with clients.”

    • “Should work to find more solutions to problems independently before involving management.”

    • “Struggles to maintain a positive attitude in the face of unexpected schedule changes.”

Your Company Values

You should also consider looking at your company’s values and giving your employees feedback on how they uphold and further those.

While your values may overlap with some of these other categories, they might also give you good ideas for other areas to assess your employees.

Tips for Conducting Performance Reviews

  1. Find ways to make meetings as comfortable as possible. Performance reviews are inherently uncomfortable for both parties involved. Still, they’re most useful when you’re able to set your employees at ease and make it more of a conversation than a meeting.

    Choose a small office instead of a conference room, or set up the meeting so that you’re sitting next to each other at the conference table instead of sitting across from each other.

    Consider walking over to the meeting location with your employee and chatting with them along the way instead of meeting them there. You might even grab some coffee for both of you to help it feel less intimidating and to give them something to hold.

  2. Start and end with the positives. Sharing areas that need improvement is necessary and helpful, but it’s essential to give this negative feedback tastefully by sandwiching this part of the review in the middle of your positive feedback to soften the blow.

    After all, the point of performance reviews is to help your employees grow, not to discourage them. Discouraged workers won’t perform and may even leave the company for another position where they’ll be better appreciated.

  3. Set goals. It isn’t enough to just give negative feedback and expect your employees to figure out how to magically fix it. You need to work with them to set measurable goals that will help them improve and then provide the tools they need to reach those goals. Once they do reach them, you should be ready to reward them for it.

    You can do this in the performance review, but you can also hold a separate meeting after they’ve had some time to come up with ideas for goals.

  4. Give regular feedback. Performance reviews shouldn’t be the only time you give your employees feedback. Schedule informal monthly meetings to give you both the opportunity to address any issues or reinforce positive habits.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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