Conducting performance reviews for employees who report to you can be a challenge. Firing an employee for bad performance when the employee’s records show good evaluations is one action that can increase an employer’s risk of a lawsuit. Sample phrases that accurately and professionally communicate to an employee the various aspects of his performance can make your job easier and lower your risk.
In addressing an employee’s ability, skills or job knowledge in a performance review, your phrases should specifically address the individual’s competence in relation to the job. For example, a performance review for a good performer might include phrases such as “experience is evident,” “expertise makes him a go-to person,” or that he has “complete understanding.” The performance review for a poor performer might include phrases such as “technical skills need bolstering,” “inexperience has caused losses,” “inadequate comprehension” or “could use further training.”
In completing a section of the performance review that addresses the employee’s productivity, your phrases should be specific in addressing the employee’s productivity on the job. For example, a review for a good performer might include phrases such as “has increased overall productivity of the department by 15 percent,” “focused and productive” or “exceeds quotas regularly.” In reviewing a poor performer, the section might include phrases such as “easily distracted,” “has met productivity goals only 60 percent of the time” or “unfocused approach causes inefficiency.”
The section of the performance review covering communication skills should address verbal, written and non-verbal communication. For example, sample phrases for a good performer might include “speaks knowledgably and clearly” or “written communications are concise and coherent. A review of a poor performer might include phrases such as “emails and memos are often unfocused” or “needs to improve spelling and proofreading skills.”
When reviewing an employee’s accuracy on the job, be specific. If possible, use quantifying phrases, such as “calculations in the monthly sales reports are accurate 98 percent of the time” or “answers to client questions are consistently precise and accurate” for a good performer. A performance review for a poor performer might include phrases such as “80 percent of errors are a result of carelessness” or “valuation reports had to be re-run 10 out of 12 months due to inaccurate calculations.”
In addressing the employee’s initiative in the performance review, focus on those phrases that will highlight times when the employee took sound action on her own. Examples of phrases for a good performer might include “identifies inefficiencies in processes and systems,” “suggests solutions” or “inventiveness has saved the company $5,000 this year.” For a poor performer, evaluation phrases might include “fails to seek creative solutions” or “unwilling to seek out additional tasks.”
Attendance in an employee performance review is about more than whether the individual is present or absent during the year. Attendance also refers to timeliness for meetings and availability throughout the work day. Evaluation phrases for a good performer might include “arrives on time for meetings” or “is at his desk and available when needed.” Sample phrases for a poor performer include “frequent absences negatively impact the team,” “habitually late for important meetings” or “regularly missing from workstation.”
Teamwork, collaboration and knowledge sharing are important aspects of an employee’s job performance. The review should focus on work-related attitudes and projects. For example, phrases for a good performer could include “works in concert with others to further the mission of the department,” “exhibits a cooperative spirit” or “fosters an environment of participation.” Examples of poor collaboration are expressed in phrases such as “creates discord” or “disassociates herself from the collaborative effort.”