60 Best Performance Review Phrase Examples


Effective performance review phrases from managers are critical to employee growth and development. This in-depth list of example phrases works as a starting point for any manager desiring to improve upon performance review communication, while also leaving room to include their own unique style. 

Performance review phrase examples

Managers and employees alike rarely get excited about performance reviews. Sometimes managers lack the confidence to effectively share helpful feedback. In some cases, employees are unsure if they have met leadership expectations. In both cases, clear communication is essential.

Effective communication in performance management is critical to employee growth and development. The health of the organization is largely dependent on each team member fully grasping what is expected of them, and that begins with the manager/employee relationship. While the performance review is not the only determinant of this relationship, it is a defining discussion that gives insight into the level of trust, communication, and respect between the manager and employee. A healthy dose of positive and constructive feedback is needed so the employee knows their value and what action steps to take.

But, effective communication does not come naturally to most. That is why we have compiled a list of performance review phrase examples to help ensure appraisal conversations are pleasant and produce results.

Performance Review Phrases for Employees

It’s a fine balance between honestly sharing performance contributions and sounding arrogant. Reviews can feel awkward because employees generally want to avoid ‘tooting their own horn’ when completing self-evaluations. On the other end, no employee enjoys admitting to their manager the areas in which they struggle. To help combat the self-evaluation challenge, we have listed an easy process below for employees to follow:

  • Action- Clearly explain what action(s) you took toward accomplishing the performance objective, goal, or workplace behavior. Be concise but specific. 
  • Result- What was the result of the action you took? Describe how your action  impacted your organization and/or your team. 

Following this process reduces emotion and opinion and focuses on concrete results/actions. It also gives managers insight into the employee’s perspective, allowing the manager to provide more intentional feedback. Here are a few general examples of employee comments:

  • Problem-Solving 
    • I adjusted our email campaign to include more stats and less content (action) based on the desires of our target audience. This resulted in a higher click-through rate and an increase in demo conversions. (result)
  • Collaboration
    • I scheduled a one-on-one meeting (action) with the project lead to hear her concerns about not meeting our deadline. We determined two major issues and devised a plan to tackle them together. We were ahead of our deadline by 2 days. (result)

Performance Review Phrases for Managers

The example phrases below are categorized by common performance objectives and core values/workplace behaviors. Each objective and behavior is then broken down further into examples for not meeting, meeting, and exceeding expectations. While these comments are meant to be generalized to assist a larger audience, it is critically important to note that each review should be unique to the employee.

Performance Objectives 

  • Job knowledge/Self-Development 
  • Problem-Solving and Decision-Making 
  • Productivity 
  • Quality of Work
  • Delivers Results


Core Values 

  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Inclusivity
  • Work Ethic

Phrase Examples for Performance Objectives

Job Knowledge/Self-Development

Demonstrates a good understanding of job duties and accurately identifies their own strength and development areas. Engages in learning opportunities to further develop skills and capabilities in technical and functional areas, taking constructive feedback when given.

Not Meeting Expectations:

  1. You have struggled with receiving and implementing constructive feedback regarding your performance. I suggest creating a plan to tangibly apply these suggestions and asking your teammates for help in doing so. 
  2. Your performance is lacking in [specific area(s)]. I recommend setting a goal of taking one measurable action per week to actively improve in this area.

Meeting Expectations:

      3. You have demonstrated a good understanding of job expectations and embraced your strengths while working on your weaknesses. Well done! For stellar performance, I would encourage you to seek out ways to further enhance your skills, such as feedback from peers, LinkedIn Learning, etc. 

     4. You have gracefully accepted feedback on job performance. Continue implementing the recommendations made.  

Exceeding Expectations:

     5. You have exceeded expectations for all job duties by consistently improving upon your skills, tacking development areas, and taking feedback well. Excellent job!

     6. Your work in this [performance area] is the example by which all other colleagues should follow. Continue capitalizing on your strengths!

Problem-Solving and Decision-Making 

Extent to which an employee deals with complex problems in their entirety. Effectiveness of employee addressing and resolving problems. Seeks out new and better solutions. Makes appropriate and timely decisions. 

Not Meeting Expectations:

     7. You have not shown sufficient initiative in providing solutions in a timely manner. Your next steps should include quicker responses to active problems.

     8. Your decisions have not been in line with company standards. I would encourage you to focus on the issue in front of you and eliminate unnecessary distractions.

 Meeting Expectations:

     9. You show obvious skill in providing creative and effective solutions. My only suggestion is to take more initiative in anticipating problems before they arise. 

     10. It is clear you are confident in making good business decisions. I would just encourage you to seek out new and improved ways of solving problems with increased efficiency.

Exceeding Expectations:

     11. You have a knack for finding solutions when others can’t. I look forward to seeing your skills continue to benefit the organization!

     12. Excellent proficiency in problem-solving and making decisions. Your skills set a great example for your team. 


Extent of work volume employee regularly produces. Efficient management of workload. Satisfactory speed and consistency of output. Completes requirements/projects within specified timeframe. 

Not Meeting Expectations:

     13. Your productivity has been inconsistent and work is often not completed on time. The action steps required are to meet all upcoming deadlines and ensure work is not missing important items.

     14. You seem to struggle with managing your workload well. I would recommend breaking down deadlines into smaller deadlines for yourself to ensure things are done well and on time. 

Meeting Expectations:

     15. You show efficiency and care in the work you produce. Continue honing in your skills and you will see your projects completed faster and even more efficiently. 

     16. Your work is reliable and consistent. As your comfort with [insert task] increases you will be even more impressed with what you can accomplish!

Exceeding Expectations:

     17. The speed and volume of your work is highly impressive. You show great skill in managing your workload beyond what is required of you.

     18. The consistency of your work is highly reliable and completed well before deadlines. Your skill in this area is obvious and does not go unnoticed. 

Quality of Work

Extent to which employee can be counted on to carry out assignments to completion. Work is thorough, accurate, and meets standards. Employee corrects errors and questions inconsistencies. 

Not Meeting Expectations:

     19. Your efforts in [insert area] have not met required standards. It is important that you always check your work for errors before submitting it.

     20. Your team has not been able to trust that you will complete what is required of you on time. A good next step would be to choose a teammate who can help answer any questions you have and hold you accountable to work completion. 

Meeting Expectations:

     21. Your work to date has been thorough and consistent with minor errors. Nicely done! I would encourage you to be just a bit more diligent in checking your work for inaccuracies before submission.

     22. Your dedication to completing work on time is very beneficial to your whole team. My only additional feedback is to work to put just as much effort into quality as you do to deadlines.

Exceeding Expectations:

     23. The quality of your work is excellent and consistently shows no errors. You go above and beyond to ensure no inconsistencies are present. 

     24. Your team and the organization at large benefit from the thoroughness of your work. Everyone knows if you are working on it, it will be done on time and with near perfection. 

Delivers Results

Maintains focus and prioritizes tasks based on importance and delegates appropriately. Actively identifies ways to improve. Completes all tasks and goals with accuracy. 

Not Meeting Expectations:

     25. Your tasks have not been prioritized appropriately and therefore do not produce consistent results. It is crucial that you focus on managing your time better, perhaps by writing to-do lists each day. 

     26. Your results have suffered because you appear unwilling to delegate tasks appropriately. I would encourage you to find 2 to 3 tasks you are comfortable passing off to others.

Meeting Expectations:

     27. You have mastered the art of prioritizing what is important and you consistently produce results. I would now encourage you to shift your focus to ways you could improve upon [insert skill].

     28. You have actively been improving upon your skillset in this role and continue to produce good results. I would suggest that you continue to work on prioritization to ensure you do not rush to complete things.

Exceeding Expectations:

     29. Your results produced are consistently exceeding what is expected of you. You skillfully delegate when appropriate and show initiative in improving upon your areas of opportunity. 

     30. Your ability to remain focused on the task at hand is highly impressive. You can always be counted on to deliver results and accomplish all goals. 

Phrase Examples for Core Values


Leads change by example. Accepts change as positive. Adapts plans as necessary. 

Not Meeting Expectations:

     31. Your resistance to change causes disruption and creates a negative work environment. You are expected to take necessary changes in stride and ask any questions you have politely and professionally. 

     32. Your unwillingness to shift plans when necessary slows down work and is frustrating to others. I encourage you to respectfully respond when changes occur and strive to be an example to those around you.

Meeting Expectations:

     33. You have proven to be skilled in adapting when necessary and this sets an example for others. I would recommend encouraging your teammates to embrace your attitude by speaking positively about change when it occurs. 

     34. Your willingness to shift your plans when necessary does not go unnoticed. As you continue to hold a positive attitude, change will get even easier!

Exceeding Expectations:

     35. Your ability to seamlessly transition when necessary is an example to others. Letting the adjustments roll off your back, you forge ahead to complete what is required of you every time. 

     36. You have become a champion of change for your team. They look to you as the reference point for how they should respond and you carry that responsibility graciously. 


Seeks input and ideas from others. Able to effectively work with different personalities and pursue common goals. Respects other opinions. 

Not Meeting Expectations:

     37. You seem to have a difficult time working alongside other colleagues. You are expected to be respectful of other personalities and remain professional, even if you do not like or agree with something.

     38. You have shown an unwillingness to hear ideas other than your own. I encourage you to remain a professional and be willing to work with your colleagues, hearing out their thoughts even if you disagree.

Meeting Expectations:

     39. You are a team player and willing to work with people who are not like you. My only recommendation is to actively seek out additional ideas from your colleagues. 

     40. You successfully work toward the same goals with your teammates and remain respectful of all input. Continue with this approach and you will quickly grow into a leader in this area.

Exceeding Expectations:

     41. Your ability to work well with anyone in the organization sets the standard for all others. You initiate others’ ideas and input, contributing to a culture of strong collaboration. 

     42. Everyone enjoys working with you, even if their approaches are different from yours. You have proven to be the ultimate example of what it looks like to be a collaborative team member. 


Conveys information and ideas through a variety of media to individuals or groups in a manner that engages the audience and helps them understand and retain the message. 

Not Meeting Expectations:

     43. It is difficult to communicate with you as your messaging is often disjointed and confusing. I would encourage you to slow down when typing emails or speaking with colleagues/clients and ensure you have shared all necessary information.

     44. Colleagues and customers have repeatedly struggled with getting in contact with you. It is imperative you communicate via phone call, email, etc. to those waiting on a clear response from you.

Meeting Expectations:

     45. You appropriately communicate all necessary information to those who need it. One additional thing to consider is to be more concise in your messaging and correspondence.

     46. Your communication has been timely and clear. I would encourage you to work on adjusting your messaging to your audience. For example, using different verbiage for colleagues vs. customers. 

Exceeding Expectations:

     47. Your ability to communicate clear, concise messages to everyone you interact with is inspiring. You craft your messaging to the appropriate audience so that no information is left out. 

     48. Your communication is engaging and easily understood.. Phone calls, emails, and face-to-face conversations are clear and effective, and all parties know exactly what you are trying to say. 


We are all a team. We win together, rejoice together, mourn together. We will not develop cliques, or tolerate ‘water cooler talk.’ 

Not Meeting Expectations:

    49. You have neglected to show inclusivity by speaking negatively about your fellow colleagues. You are expected to act as a member of the team, refraining from contributing to discourse. 

     50. You have been working in a silo. Moving forward, you should interact with your team by actively celebrating wins and discussing losses.

Meeting Expectations:

     51. You are a positive and active member of the team. While it is encouraged to celebrate your wins, I would encourage you to also attribute those wins to the team members that helped you get there.

     52. Your behaviors toward your team members prove to be inclusive and kind. I would encourage you to distance yourself from conversations that paint the organization or any of its individual members in a negative light. 

Exceeding Expectations:

     53. You go above and beyond to ensure all team members feel included and appreciated. You show no appetite for engaging in water cooler talk and have stopped those conversations from continuing when you were in the room.

     54. You never act alone, always winning and losing alongside your teammates. You are the first person to congratulate someone else or to walk with someone through a tough situation. 

Work Ethic

Every team member is expected to fulfill his or her commitments to the team. In some cases, this may mean working longer than expected on a particular task.

Not Meeting Expectations:

     55. Your work ethic is lacking and your commitments often go unfulfilled. Your next course of action is to commit to completing all commitments, even when it is inconvenient. 

     56. You show a tendency of giving up on something if it is not completed in the time you expected. You are expected to stick it out and complete what is required of you, even if that means working longer occasionally.

Meeting Expectations:

     57. You have demonstrated a strong work ethic and fulfill all commitments. For stellar performance, I would encourage you to anticipate upcoming work so you stay ahead.

     58. Your team members can count on you to get the job done. While this will certainly not happen often, I would encourage you to be willing to work later on occasion so you do not have to rush to fulfill your commitments. 

Exceeding Expectations:

     59. Your strong work ethic is unmatched. You have gone above and beyond to ensure all work is complete and even stayed behind to help a teammate finish theirs. 

     60. Without prompted, you have willingly stayed late on occasion to ensure your work was completed with quality and on time. You set the example for a strong work ethic on this team. 

Create Effective Performance Review Conversations with WorkDove

The above phrase examples are intended to be a launching point for improved performance reviews but all managers should add in their own style. Each manager and employee relationship is unique and every employee deserves individualized coaching for their needs. 

For the most effective review experience, organizations turn to performance review software to streamline the process. WorkDove provides an easy-to-use performance review tool that integrates employee goals, recognition, 360-feedback, and Workplace Satisfaction results. Our app offers automated reminders and customized templates that fuel the review cycle. Improve retention and employee satisfaction with WorkDove’s review capabilities. 

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