Performance reviews aren’t exactly magic, but they can do wonders for your business if done correctly. They are an integral part of boosting performance and encouraging employees to be their best selves. But crafting a performance review that effectively gauges employee performance while still setting motivating goals can be a real headache. Knowing a few standard phrases to boost your performance review’s effectiveness can save you a lot of ibuprofen. With these example phrases, you’ll be able to give employees valuable feedback in a direct and professional way. Check out everything you need to know about writing a performance review here.
A Performance What?
If this is your first time learning about performance reviews, don’t be embarrassed. A performance review is essentially just a worker evaluation made by human resources and, at times, peers and conducted by a supervisor. They’re done so that supervisors can assess when an employee has succeeded and where they might have some shortcomings. The goal is to find talent, weed out slackers, encourage good habits, and correct bad ones. Some examples of effective performance reviews encompass giving feedback and setting goals for the future. Performance reviews were originally thought of as an annual event, but experience has shown that the more often employees receive feedback, the more effective that feedback is.
This feedback benefits employees by:
- Assessing their recent performance in relation to previous goals
- Celebrates employees’ strengths and finds solutions to employees’ weaknesses
- Gives employees the tools to grow into better members of the team
- Determine who deserves a raise or a promotion
- Set goals for the upcoming future
What Are We Reviewing?
Surely not every job has the same set of skills, right? Yes, but you’d be surprised how many similar skills most jobs use. For the most part, performance reviews phrase their questions in a way that makes the review applicable to most jobs. These are a few of the standard characteristics judged by a performance review:
- Impact on the company
- Ability to work in a team
- Time management
- Communication skills
- Leadership skills
Examples of Productive Feedback
As you can see, the skills covered in a performance review are pretty broad. They relate to just about any career field because they’re skills that relate to work in the abstract rather than actual hard skills. But just because these skills are broad doesn’t mean that your feedback should be broad. In fact, the most effective reviews are direct, specific, and dig out the most detail on your employees’ performances. Only in this way can you hope to give your employees personalized and specific feedback.
So that you know what this style looks like, we’ve gone ahead and made examples of the types of comments you’ll likely make on a performance review. Check them out and note their tone and content.
Impact is probably the most important part of an employee’s history that you’ll review. This is how they’ve made positive changes in the business and is usually the most measurable using data gather through your software. Be specific about employees’ results like this:
- “Jane Doe has shown a continued effort to bring in new profits to the business.”
- “Jane’s work has resulted in three new clients in the last month.”
- “Jane’s work ethic shows promise, but she has lacked the ability to bring in new customers.”
Ability to Work in a Team
Ever since we were children, we were constantly told that teamwork is key to success, and it’s never more true than when working on a team assignment. Being able to work well with others speeds up contracts, thus boosting productivity, but it also makes for a more pleasant work atmosphere, which should not be understated.
- “John Doe has shown strong teamwork by delegating responsibilities equally, according to his teammates’ abilities.”
- “John was quick to reply to his teammates when asked for further clarification.”
Time Management Skills
Being able to turn in work on time is essential to productivity. Clients are never pleased when their contracts are not met on time, and it can really affect the company’s reputation and bottom line. Time management also includes time estimations and attendance. Be sure to address all positives or negatives:
- “John is prompt with his work and has never missed a deadline.”
- “Jane often underestimates how much time it will take to complete projects, frequently putting her behind schedule.”
- “John has come back late from lunch four times in the last two weeks.”
While communication and teamwork seemingly go hand-in-hand, there are some aspects of communication that are not included in teamwork. These skills include conveying information in clear and concise ways, maintaining open lines of communication with managers and coworkers, and having a generally positive attitude in the office. These comments should always be specific:
- “John struggled to clearly communicate information on project x, causing a delay.”
- “Jane’s positive attitude made her approachable when customers had questions about a product.”
- “John is upfront about when he will finish work and always keeps management in the loop.”
Supervisors are always looking for up-and-coming talent. Strong leadership skills point to an employee worthy of promotion. Be sure to celebrate employees’ leadership skills:
- “Jane takes responsibility for assignments whenever called upon to take up extra work.”
- “John has played an active role in doling out new work, as he has a good understanding of his coworkers’ experiences.”
- “John takes responsibility for his mistakes and sets about correcting them without prompting.”
Following these examples, you should see that performance review comments are direct, to-the-point, and specific. When possible, give examples of situations in which the employee exemplified the problem or strength. From here, it’s easy to come up with future-oriented goals. Hopefully, this guide has given you the information you need to get out there and provide your employees with the guidance they need to bring your company to its maximum potential. Download the ebook “The Skeptics Guide to Performance Management“ and get started on improving your performance management process.