A formal performance appraisal is a challenge for any manager as it tests their communication skills and managerial expertise. Good performance appraisals are easy, but bad performance appraisals can cause hurt and conflict.

When holding arduous conversations, some phrases and approaches work better than others. These should be utilized effectively by performance managers to ensure that feedback is constructive and the employee takes it in the best possible spirit.

Writing performance appraisals definitely has a mix of both good and bad. You have good employees that deserve great reviews, while some employees need feedback to help them improve their performance. You’ll rarely find yourself in a situation where all your employees are exemplary. Writing reviews for good employees are not difficult, but providing professional and constructive feedback for employees that need direction and guidance is a challenging task. This guide of performance appraisal phrases should help save you some time and effort when it comes to employee assessment.

Performance Appraisal Phrases for Good Performances

  • John begins every day with the same passion and enthusiasm that is infectious to his teammates.
  • Jack is a valuable team member. His reliability and consistency has contributed to the overall success.
  • Jill has excellent time management skills. She is able to complete her work without any inconsistencies within stipulated deadlines.
  • Charles takes feedback in the right spirit and applies this feedback to improving his work – this has borne fruitful results.
  • Cathy’s team praises the way she communicates her ideas and requirements – her open channel of communication is a reflection of the positive vibe in the team.
  • Carl is skilled at steering away from obstacles and always finishes his work accurately and on time.
  • Peter is an excellent listener who is compassionate and understanding. He values the time of his co-workers and customers and goes beyond his line of duty to make sure that they are happy. He demonstrates the value of good listening skills.
  • Pam’s high ethical standards are reflected in her work every day.

Performance Appraisal Phrases for Employees that Need Improvement

  • Ryan usually leads team meetings that run beyond the stipulated time. He should develop his time management skill so that meetings are conducted and concluded as per schedules.
  • Larry often finds himself late to work. He should work on getting to work on time so that he could follow the standard work schedule, rather than always being the last to leave.
  • Mark finds it difficult to take constructive criticism. He should work on his ability to take criticism and feedback from bosses and coworkers better and apply it to enhance his productivity and accuracy.
  • Susan habitually holds back information from the team because she fears it could cause conflicts. She should work to improve her communication skills so that her team feels included, thus building a sense of coherence within the team.
  • James does not usually confirm that his clients are satisfied, leading to a few complaints about his work. He should improve his customer interactions skills and ensure that he meets their needs in a satisfactory manner.
  • Frank shies away from responsibility. He should take initiatives to engage in new projects and tasks without always relying on others.


A performance appraisal should be treated as the ability to applaud the work of a good employee and help sub-par employees improve their level of performance. These performance appraisal phrases will help you get the right message to your employees. The key point to remember is to always give praise when it’s due and not to be scared of handing out constructive feedback.

With every performance appraisal, you must learn to be impartial and objective – this way you will be able to have a more constructive discussion with your employees. They will be willing to listen and open up to you. Remember not to use harsh or negative phrases, which could end up defeating the purpose of improving employee performance.