Writing an employee performance review is a major responsibility. Your words can determine whether an employee earns a raise, nabs a promotion or even remains with your company. It’s important, then, to use the right words when you complete an evaluation form. This is the time to be clear, concise and specific. Anything less is a disservice to the employees you are evaluating.
Too often managers fill their performance reviews with words such as “good,” “excellent” and “outstanding.” Employees might like to see such glowing words in their reviews, but they don’t actually say much about the kind of job workers did. They don’t explain how well employees met their goals for the year. Management consultant and author Richard Grote, quoted in an article on the Hcareers website, recommends that managers use objective language that points out how successful workers were at completing their core duties. These types of words include “grasps,” “generates,” “excels” and “achieves.” As an example, you might write, “Edward consistently generates new revenue sources for the company’s online division.” This is more powerful than writing, “Edward is an outstanding employee.”
Just the Facts
Sometimes the way a company structures a performance review leads to unclear language. Your company’s standard review forms may include questions such as “How well does the employee complete his/her assigned tasks?” This is an unclear question. Better wording would focus more on specific employee tasks. A better written employee performance review might ask “How much of his/her work time has this employee devoted to completing his/her tasks at a professional standard?”
The words used in the second example will lead to a more specific response. In the first case, you could simply answer with the empty words “Employee performs well.” In the second case, you have to get more specific: “The employee spends the majority of her time working in a conscientious and professional manner. She does not waste time while at work.”
When Criticizing, Be Specific
Sometimes you’ll have to include negative information in your employee performance reviews. In such cases, it’s best to be as specific as possible. Instead of using the words, “Employee has turned in substandard work,” use phrases and words that explain exactly how your employee’s work is below par. You might write, “The employee’s reports often contain incorrect data and many misspellings. The employee often turns his work in past deadline, delaying the progress of the rest of his team.” The more specific the wording, the more effective the employee performance review will be.