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Sample Performance Review Phrases


The performance review process is vital to the success or failure of a business. In order to use its assets most efficiently, a business needs to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of its assets. The most valuable assets of most companies are the employees, and for this reason, it is necessary to evaluate them in order to best use their abilities.

Performance review phrases used on forms during this process can usually be divided into three categories, positive attributes that are being used properly, positive attributes that are not being used to their potential, and attributes that could be improved upon. A successful business will focus most of its efforts on finding positive attributes that are not being used to their potential. Attributes that could be improved upon by one employee can be taken on by others, so it is sometimes more effective to rearrange the work than to attempt to improve upon specific characteristics.

Many (or all) of the attributes listed under “Positive Characteristics” can be considered attributes that are not being used to their potential, although the reverse is not true.

Positive Characteristics:

Adapts easily
Takes on responsibility [eagerly/willingly]
Constantly seeks improvement opportunities
Contributes frequently in discussions
Has self-confidence.
Has self-esteem.
Has a sense of humor
Works well with others
Displays effective [written/verbal] communication skills
Exceeds expectations
Good at following directions
Happy to work here
Has an agreeable personality
Makes a good corporate citizen
Listens actively
Is intelligent and skilled
Considers the quality of work to be important
Has enthusiasm
Has a professional demeanor around customers
Is dependable
Has respect for other staff members
Asks questions without fear
Responds positively to stressful situations
Budgets time effectively
Takes responsibility
Notices small details
Looks for responsibilities and completes them effectively
Communicates effectively and efficiently
Is cooperative with others
Highly involved in discussions on [topic]
Learns from mistakes and criticism
Works well without guidance
Has a strength in [skill]
Is thought of as a star talent in this department

Characteristics that Show Potential:

Displays strong likelihood of leadership role in the future
Could be more effective if moved to [department name]
Has knowledge about [skill] that is not being utilized
Is ready to communicate directly with clients
Displays promise in [skill]


Areas that could be Improved Upon

Needs to work faster on [task]
Needs to improve team mentality
Needs to follow through on responsibilities
Could do better at [weakness]
Should receive training in [skill]
Loses efficiency by working too fast
The level of effort in [task] is inconsistent
Poor at budgeting time
Won’t follow directions
Incapable of working without supervision
Can’t set priorities
Low energy and interest in work



US Department of the Interior
“Performance Appraisal Handbook.”

Department of Employment Relations
“Performance Evaluation Review and Planning”

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