4 Tips for Writing Employee Evaluation Phrases

4 Tips for Writing Employee Evaluation Phrases

It’s easy to spot a poorly written performance review. Take a look at the following comments from real employee reviews.

Comments from Actual Employee Reviews

  • His men would follow him anywhere…but only out of morbid curiosity.
  • This young lady has delusions of adequacy.
  • He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.
  • This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.
  • He’s been working with glue too much.
  • If you see two people talking and one looks bored…he’s the other one.
  • Donated his brain to science before he was done using it.
  • Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled.
  • Takes him two hours to watch 60 minutes.
  • The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead.

While these comments make us laugh, most people know better than to write them on a review. So what should you say?

Follow These Tips

  1. Focus on behaviors. Limit comments to observable behaviors that are job related such as performance on assignments, meeting deadlines, quality of work and attendance. Use specific examples to illustrate your points. Use the employee’s job description as your guide.
  2. Avoid conjecture. Don’t include personal comments, rumors or theories about why an employee performs a certain way.
  3. Capture both positive and negative behaviors. The employee needs to not only know what to improve; they also need to know what they should continue doing well. Employees want feedback and will be more engaged when they receive it.[1] Keep notes throughout the year in JuvodHR to help jog your memory and use corrective action notices to quickly address immediate problems. 
  4. Be honest, clear and direct. Don’t leave anything open to interpretation. Offer constructive feedback. Make sure comments reflect the ratings given.

JuvodHR Makes Performance Reviews Easier

JuvodHR knows that most people dislike performance reviews.[2] So why did we take on this challenge? Because we knew we could fix it – and we did.

JuvodHR reviews are tied directly to job descriptions. Our job descriptions contain tasks and Work Styles - characteristics needed to be successful on the job.

We structured performance reviews this way because the process is valid – it’s based on content validity. This means the content of the job matches the content of the evaluation.

Our process then guides the manager through the tasks and Work Styles to ensure a comprehensive review of performance. Additionally, the employee knows what’s expected, providing a basis of understanding.

Finally, JuvodHR suggests verbiage to support Work Style ratings.

The end product is a professional performance review report to give to the employee. And it can all be completed within 15 minutes.

Suggested Comments Provided by JuvodHR

This post started with ridiculous performance review comments and ends with a sampling of comments supplied by JuvodHR.

  1. Reliably demonstrates a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  2. Sometimes appears uncooperative.
  3. At times appears aloof and unfriendly.
  4. Consistently maintains composure and keeps emotions in check, even in difficult situations.
  5. Responds well to criticism and deals calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  6. Sometimes performs tasks in the existing manner rather than accepting new ideas or processes.
  7. Always reliable, responsible, and dependable, fulfilling obligations on time or ahead of schedule.
  8. Generally detail-oriented, producing work that is thorough and complete.
  9. Regularly fair and direct. Respects and maintains confidentiality.
  10. Sometimes fails to gather sufficient information before making decisions.

So what’s your preference? Do you want to be known as the manager who wrote “She brings a lot of joy whenever she leaves the room.” Or “At times she appears insensitive to the needs and feelings of others.”

It all boils down to whether you’d rather show up in the first list or the second.


[2] Performance appraisal satisfaction: The role of feedback and goal orientation. Culbertson, Satoris S.; Henning, Jaime B.; Payne, Stephanie C. Journal of Personnel Psychology, Vol 12(4), 2013, 189-195.

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