HR professionals often grapple with the significant challenge of crafting effective performance reviews that truly reflect each employee’s contributions and areas for growth.

The struggle to identify the right competencies and skills, and to phrase feedback constructively, can consume much of your time and energy, making performance reviews a daunting task.

Recognizing this pain point, we've developed a comprehensive list of over 100 performance review phrases, that can streamline the performance review process, saving you both time and effort.

100+ Performance Review Phrases

Using the right language during performance reviews is essential for fostering transparency, fairness, and motivation among employees. Clear and concise performance review phrases enhance the credibility of the assessment process, encourage employee development, and align individual goals with organizational objectives.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are crucial in every workplace setting, as they enable employees to effectively share ideas, feedback, and concerns, and to collaborate efficiently.

Below is a breakdown of performance review phrases categorized into strengths and corresponding weaknesses in communication skills.


  1. Demonstrates clear and effective communication with team members.
  2. Listens actively to feedback and incorporates it into work processes.
  3. Conveys complex ideas clearly and concisely.
  4. Demonstrates empathy and understanding in interactions with colleagues.
  5. Communicates effectively across different mediums (e.g., email, phone, in-person).
  6. Demonstrates adaptability in communication style to suit the needs of different team members.
  7. Effectively facilitates meetings and discussions to ensure all voices are heard and contributions are valued.
  8. Displays strong written communication skills, producing clear and professional documentation.
  9. Shows tact and diplomacy in sensitive communication situations, maintaining professionalism and respect.
  10. Actively engages in cross-functional communication to ensure alignment and collaboration across teams.


  1. Struggles to communicate clearly and effectively with team members.
  2. Ignores feedback or fails to integrate it into work processes.
  3. Has difficulty conveying complex ideas in a clear and concise manner.
  4. Lacks empathy and understanding in interactions with colleagues.
  5. Struggles with effective communication across different mediums (e.g., email, phone, in-person).
  6. Shows inflexibility in communication style, not adapting to the needs of different team members.
  7. Poorly facilitates meetings and discussions, often overlooking or undervaluing contributions from others.
  8. Weak in written communication skills, producing unclear or unprofessional documentation.
  9. Lacks tact and diplomacy in sensitive communication situations.
  10. Fails to engage in cross-functional communication, leading to misalignment and lack of collaboration across teams.

2. Collaboration and Teamwork

Collaboration and teamwork are vital components of a productive workplace, enabling projects to proceed smoothly and efficiently. Effective teamwork involves not only working towards common goals but also fostering a supportive environment.


  1. Works together with others on the team to reach the team's goals.
  2. Establishes good ties and encourages a helpful work setting.
  3. Shares information and resources with team members to foster collaboration.
  4. Respects different points of view and participates in group discussions.
  5. Shows flexibility and a willingness to compromise when working with others.
  6. Actively seeks opportunities to assist and mentor junior team members, aiding their professional growth.
  7. Consistently asks team members for feedback to continuously improve joint efforts.
  8. Takes responsibility for both the team's successes and mistakes.


  1. Struggles to collaborate effectively with team members to achieve common goals.
  2. Fails to establish strong relationships or foster a supportive work environment.
  3. Withholds information and resources, hindering team collaboration.
  4. Dismisses or disregards different viewpoints and avoids participating in group discussions.
  5. Shows inflexibility and reluctance to compromise in team settings.
  6. Rarely offers help or guidance to junior team members, neglecting their development.
  7. Seldom seeks feedback from team members, missing opportunities for improvement.
  8. Avoids taking responsibility for the team’s failures, placing blame on others.

3. Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking

Problem-solving and critical thinking are essential skills that enable employees to effectively handle challenges and innovate within their roles. These capabilities are particularly important in dynamic environments where adaptability and decision-making impact the success of projects and operations.


  1. Identifies and analyzes problems effectively to find viable solutions.
  2. Thinks creatively to generate innovative ideas and approaches.
  3. Uses logic and reasoning to evaluate situations and make informed decisions.
  4. Demonstrates resilience in overcoming obstacles and setbacks.
  5. Proactively identifies potential issues and addresses them before they escalate.


  1. Struggles to identify or analyze problems effectively, often overlooking viable solutions.
  2. Lacks creativity in generating new ideas or approaches.
  3. Struggles with using logic and reasoning to evaluate situations, leading to poor decision-making.
  4. Exhibits difficulty in overcoming obstacles and setbacks, often feeling overwhelmed.
  5. Fails to identify potential issues in advance, allowing them to escalate unnecessarily.

4. Time Management and Organization

Time management and organization are critical skills that contribute significantly to an individual's productivity and effectiveness at work.

Employees who excel in these areas can manage their responsibilities within deadlines and maintain order in their work environments, which enhances overall efficiency.


  1. Manages time efficiently to meet deadlines and achieve goals.
  2. Prioritizes tasks effectively based on importance and urgency.
  3. Maintains a well-organized workspace and digital files.


  1. Struggles with managing time efficiently, often missing deadlines or failing to meet goals.
  2. Poor at prioritizing tasks; frequently focuses on less urgent tasks at the expense of critical ones.
  3. Keeps a disorganized workspace and digital files, which hampers productivity.

5. Leadership and Management

Leadership and management skills are crucial for anyone in a supervisory role, as they directly influence team dynamics and productivity.

Effective leaders guide their teams toward achieving goals through clear communication, motivation, and support.


  1. Gives clear instructions and direction to team members.
  2. Gives out jobs correctly and trusts team members to get them done.
  3. inspires and motivates team members to do their best work.
  4. Offers coaching and helpful comments to help employees grow.
  5. Sets a good model and acts with honesty and efficiency.
  6. helps team members grow professionally by giving them chances to learn new skills and improve their abilities.
  7. Shows humility by owning up to mistakes and learning from them, setting a good example for being responsible.
  8. actively asks team members for feedback on their leading style and changes how they do things based on what they hear.
  9. Gives praise and credit for individual and team accomplishments, which boosts morale and drive.
  10. Shows inclusion by making sure that everyone on the team has the same chances to participate and contribute.


  1. Provides unclear or inconsistent directions to team members.
  2. Fails to delegate effectively, either micromanaging or neglecting necessary oversight.
  3. Lacks the ability to inspire or motivate team members effectively.
  4. Offers limited or unhelpful feedback that does not support employee growth.
  5. Sets a poor example through inconsistent or unethical behavior.
  6. Does not provide opportunities for team members to develop new skills or advance.
  7. Avoids taking responsibility for mistakes or does not demonstrate accountability.
  8. Rarely seeks or ignores feedback on their leadership approach.
  9. Neglects to recognize or reward team members' contributions, affecting team morale.
  10. Does not ensure all team members have equal opportunities to contribute, affecting team dynamics.

6. Initiative and Proactivity

Initiative and proactivity are vital traits that can significantly impact the effectiveness and efficiency of a workplace. Employees who demonstrate these qualities often drive innovation and improvement within their teams.


  1. Takes initiative to identify opportunities for improvement and implement solutions.
  2. Demonstrates a strong work ethic and goes above and beyond job requirements.
  3. Seeks out additional responsibilities and challenges to contribute to the team's success.
  4. Takes ownership of projects and sees them through to completion.
  5. Proactively seeks feedback and actively seeks out opportunities for self-improvement.


  1. Hesitates to identify or implement opportunities for improvement.
  2. Shows a lack of work ethic by doing just enough to meet basic job requirements.
  3. Avoids taking on additional responsibilities or challenges.
  4. Struggles with seeing projects through to completion without guidance.
  5. Rarely seeks feedback or shows interest in self-improvement.

7. Adaptability and Flexibility

Adaptability and flexibility are crucial in today’s dynamic work environments. Employees who excel in these areas are able to handle unexpected changes with ease and maintain productivity under pressure.


  1. Deals well with changes in the workplace or in the tasks they have to do.
  2. Keeps their cool and acts professionally when things get tough.
  3. Displays the ability to adapt to new tools or processes.
  4. Are ready to listen to feedback and make changes to get better.
  5. Embraces new tasks and has a good mood about them.


  1. Struggles with changes in the workplace, showing resistance to new tasks.
  2. Becomes easily flustered or unprofessional in stressful situations.
  3. Reluctant to adopt new tools or processes.
  4. Resistant to feedback and slow to make necessary changes.
  5. Approaches new tasks with reluctance or negativity.

Bonus: Additional Examples of Performance Review Phrases

Exceeds Expectations

  1. Always goes above and beyond achievement goals and sets a high bar for the team.
  2. Shows immense skill and knowledge in their job, regularly producing excellent outcomes.
  3. Always produces high-quality work that goes above and beyond standards, going above and beyond what is expected.
  4. Takes the initiative and always looks for new tasks and chances to do well.
  5. Always goes above and beyond by coming up with new ways to solve difficult problems.
  6. Displays exceptional initiative all the time, gladly taking on extra duties with excitement.
  7. Amazingly flexible in dealing with changing situations and always producing top-notch outcomes.
  8. Always gets great results, even when things are stressful, showing that they are strong and determined.
  9. regularly goes above and beyond achievement goals by a large amount, showing a high level of commitment and effort.
  10. People are always praised for going above and beyond in all areas of their work by clients, coworkers, and bosses.
  11. Excellent leadership skills as shown by regularly inspiring and pushing team members to do their best.
  12. Takes full responsibility for their acts and the results they get, showing a strong sense of ownership and accountability.
  13. Continuously shows a lot of creativity and innovation, giving projects new ideas and points of view.
  14. Always produces the best quality work because they pay such close attention to detail.
  15. Meeting targets and turning in work early consistently goes above and beyond what is expected.
  16. Does difficult work on a regular basis and always produces excellent results.
  17. Outstanding problem-solving skills; always comes up with useful answers to tough problems.
  18. Excellent speaking skills, getting thoughts and information across to a wide range of people.
  19. Always shows a strong dedication to learning and growing, always looking for ways to improve their skills and knowledge.
  20. Always goes above and beyond by showing a strong dedication to excellence and constantly producing excellent results.

Needs Improvement

  1. Has trouble making goals consistently and could use some help managing their time better.
  2. Has trouble communicating clearly, which leads to mistakes on the team.
  3. Shows resistance to comments and might not want to make the changes that have been offered.
  4. Needs to be more proactive about taking on new tasks and looking for ways to grow.
  5. Shows little ability to solve problems and might need help with more complicated ones.
  6. Shows a lack of attention to detail, which causes work to be wrong and incorrect.
  7. Has trouble working together with others on the team and could use some help improving their teamwork skills.
  8. Lacks responsibility for actions and results, putting the blame on others a lot of the time.
  9. Shows inconsistency in meeting performance standards and may need more help and direction.
  10. It needs to get better at adapting to new situations and may not like new ways of doing things.
  11. Has trouble setting priorities and may get stressed out when they have a lot of deadlines.
  12. Needs to get better at dealing with stress and staying calm in tough scenarios.
  13. Some professional skills are lacking, and the person may do better with more training or growth.
  14. Needs to get better at leading so they can effectively guide and inspire their team members.
  15. Not very creative, and might need help coming up with new ideas or answers.
  16. Has a hard time taking charge of projects or jobs and usually needs someone else to lead them.
  17. Shows bad organizational skills, which makes managing tasks and process inefficient.
  18. Attendance and punctuality need to be improved to make sure that they can reliably take part in team events.
  19. Has a bad mood about work or coworkers, which lowers confidence and slows down work.
  20. Improvement is needed in how they handle disagreements and solve problems with coworkers.
  21. Not very good at responding to comments, and might not want to make the changes that are needed to improve performance.
  22. Does not take the effort to look for career development chances.
  23. Has trouble keeping promises and might not finish jobs as they are given.
  24. Needs to make both writing and spoken conversation more clear and effective.
  25. Lacks good customer service skills and might have trouble meeting clients' wants.
  26. Doesn't seem very excited about the job and might do better by finding more drive within themselves.

Do's and Don'ts While Framing Your Performance Review Phrases


  1. Be Specific: Use precise language that clearly addresses particular behaviors and outcomes. This helps eliminate ambiguity and ensures the employee knows exactly what is being discussed.
  2. Focus on the Behavior, Not the Person: Phrase feedback in a way that addresses the employee's actions and decisions, rather than personal characteristics. For example, "Your management of the project timeline demonstrated effective organizational skills," rather than "You are very organized."
  3. Provide Constructive Feedback: Always aim to offer feedback that employees can use to improve. Highlight areas for growth in a way that is supportive and encouraging.
  4. Use a Balanced Approach: Include both strengths and areas for improvement. This balanced feedback can help motivate employees to continue good practices and address areas where they can improve.
  5. Encourage a Two-Way Conversation: Frame phrases in a way that opens up dialogue. Encourage employees to share their thoughts and perspectives on the review and their own performance.


  1. Avoid Generalizations: Steer clear of vague comments that don’t provide clear direction or specific feedback. Phrases like "good job" or "needs improvement" without further explanation are not helpful.
  2. Don’t Use Confrontational or Negative Language: Keep the tone positive and constructive, even when discussing areas for improvement. Avoid language that might come across as accusatory or personal.
  3. Refrain from Comparing Employees: Focus on the individual's own achievements and development needs rather than comparing them to their peers.
  4. Don’t Rush the Review: Take your time to prepare and conduct the review thoughtfully. Rushed feedback can be incomplete and inaccurate, which can be demotivating.
  5. Avoid Overloading With Criticism: While it’s important to address areas needing improvement, overwhelming an employee with negative feedback can be discouraging. Balance it with positive feedback to show appreciation for their strengths.

All the Performance Review Phrases You Need

At the end of the day, it all boils down to asking the right questions. If you still have a hard time phrasing your performance review questions, copy these phrases and paste it onto your notepad. It will help you create performance review phrases.

ThriveSparrow is an employee success platform that will help you create 360-assessments with ease and schedule them at bulk. Moreover, the platform organizes the feedback into easy-to-view reports that gives managers and HR a holistic view of each employee's strengths and weaknesses.