Negative Performance Review Phrases

Author: Staff Writer

Performance review is a tool for improving the health of any business. Identifying undesirable actions or behaviors before they turn into larger problems is important. All performance reviews should be carefully thought over before conducted. Here are some sample phrases for a negative performance review.

Positive Actions

Reflect on the employees job performance. Write down some key points on things they are doing well. For example, this could be showing up on time consistently, wearing business appropriate attire, greeting clients promptly, or taking effort to complete tasks before scheduled deadlines. Compliment at least three things the employee is doing correctly.

Problem Areas

Everyone has areas that need improvement and direction. Management has the privileged of giving positive constructive criticism during a performance review. This guidance can help improve their career and professional interactions outside of the office. Not addressing these problems does not help improve the employee or their value within the company.

Negative Statements

Look the employee in the eye and directly address their performance. For example, let's discuss the unfinished quarterly statement that was turned in late, and see why in the past month tardiness has increased. Make the statements specific. Try to have supporting documentation so they can see the document in question.

Outside Factors

Ask the employee if there are any extenuating circumstances surrounding any dramatic changes in behavior or performance. There may have been a death in the family, recent divorce, personal illness, or the family may have lost their home due to foreclosure. Keep in mind that they are not obligated to share this information, but opening the conversation may help improve their work performance.

Action Plan

Tell the employee exactly what they can do to improve their job performance. Be extremely specific so there is no confusion later. Reinforce the desired changes by having them sign a statement that reflects the review discussion.

Pointing out an employee's weakness or undesired behavior is not easy. Pointing out three things that they are doing correctly before the negative statements helps to lessen the sting. Work with the employee to see what changes need to take place to improve job performance quickly. Use these sample phrases for a negative performance review.


Works Cited

Business News & Financial News - The Wall Street Journal -
"Get Rid of the Performance Review!"

"How To Do Performance Reviews Right - Forbes"

Expert Opinion 

Quote: "You can call me "dense," you can call me "iconoclastic," but I see nothing constructive about an annual pay and performance review. It's a mainstream practice that has baffled me for years."

Source:  Samuel A. Culbert, The Wall Street Journal (October 20, 2008)

Quote: "It's important to see bad reviews as wonderful gifts.  At the very least, they are going to make you stronger and give you a road map of strategies to do your job better down the road."

Source:   Wendy Kaufman, chief executive of Balancing Life's Issues

(New York Times November 28, 2008)

purple arrowCite this Article

"Negative Performance Review Phrases." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <>.  

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to treat or diagnose any health problems or illnesses without consulting a physician. It is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please consult a physician with any questions you may have regarding your health.

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