Delivering Performance Review Phrases and Messages That Motivate

Using phrases in performance reviews that will motivate & encourage staff

by Rod Dunne on March 16, 2011

in Creative, Human Side

Struggling to complete your performance review comments? Then you’re not alone. For the majority of team leaders, supervisors and managers the general review process is a difficult task to complete due to the awkwardness of being subjective.

Describing other people’s qualities, considerate customer support/service skills, leadership abilities, etc. can be clouded by friendships.

It is important for you to be truthful in the employee performance review phrases you use but also reflect the positive and negative elements of any employee.

The key, as I’ll show you here, to successfully completing any performance appraisal techniques/documentation you use is to focus in on standard employee performance review phrases.

You can expand upon these to reflect the good and bad points of each employee.

Below are some sample performance review phrases broken down into specific evaluation areas, traits or skills which should be highlighted as part of the review. Use these phrases as a starting point for building up a more detailed review document.

Leadership and team building

All roles require a certain amount of interaction with your fellow employees and colleagues, some of whom may actually be reporting to the employee being reviewed. Try to use sample performance review phrases which highlight their inspirational qualities, strategic leadership skills, mentoring abilities and steam focus. Here are some examples:

  • She has treated her team with respect and dignity which has resulted in a focused unified team of individuals all working towards common goals.
  • He has actively encouraged fellow colleagues in the pursuit of their project goals with positive reinforcements of effective work effort being done by colleagues.
  • She has instilled a sense of confidence and trust amongst team by leading by example with a professional attitude in all dealings with employees and customers.


Effective communication in the workplace  is essential in all roles whether online, verbal or written communications are required. The annual review should reflect this in an employee’s appraisal by using performance reviews phrases that reflect the positive qualities of their ability to interact with colleagues as well as customers.

Here are some some performance evaluation example comments:

  • He has openly and frankly communicated with colleagues, providing feedback and reinforcement of good work practices.
  • She has communicated in a professional manner in all face-to-face interactions, phone conferences, online communications via e-mail and other digital channels with both team members and customers.
  • He is in active listener in all meetings, phone calls and team discussions seeking to clarify requirements and issues with customers/colleagues before collaboratively problem solving and deciding upon effective solutions.

Creativity, pro-active traits and innovation

Having a creative or pro-active attitude within the workplace can help improve the productivity of groups of people in the entire department. It shows initiative in the employee and therefore increased dedication and loyalty for their role. Creative management techniques are also important for those needing to motivate and reward team members.

Here are some sample performance review comments which reflect this:

  • She seeks out innovative solutions to issues that have arisen and is dedicated to collaborating with fellow employees to establish better work processes and improving sales performance.
  • He has successfully contributed and implemented novel new ways to improve work practices within the team which improve day-to-day operational productivity.
  • She pro-actively works to exceed customer expectations by providing great service and innovative solutions before issues start arising for the customer.


Acting in a professional way in the workplace means being dignified and respectful to customers & colleagues, as well as being well-informed about the requirements of the role (e.g. products/services offered). Professionalism and courtesy are fundamental to any firms customer retention strategies.

Your use of employee performance review phrases should reflect the key areas of interaction, information and attitude as follows:

  • He projects a professional and dignified demeanor in all interactions with both colleagues and customers.
  • She is well-informed of all product changes which have a bearing on her day-to-day work and stays up to date with company news and developments in order to provide greater service to customers.
  • He maintains a professional and respectful attitude colleagues and customers at all times even during times of pressure or when dealing with difficult customers.

Stress management

All jobs have goals, deadlines or pressures from customers and staff which need to be dealt with carefully through effective time management and without any feelings of victimization, office politics or rude behavior. The worst case scenario is that your teams performance improvement plans are actually putting undue stress on employees (e.g. through stretch goals).

Your sample performance review phrases need to reflect the individual’s ability to deal with stress effectively, not lose their temper and their crisis management skills.

  • He has a good capacity for handling stress from high pressure customer situations as well as difficult workloads without the need for additional assistance or excessive overtime.
  • She maintains her composure even when others are losing theirs.
  • He pro-actively manages crisis situations through effective leadership, logical thought and collaborative discussions on solutions.

Time management

The ability to manage your own time during work results in better productivity based on the amount of hours each individual puts in. This is also reflected in their levels of attendance in the workplace which is a sure sign of their loyalty and dedication to the work.

Note that waiting to post comments on performance review appraisals regarding a persons timekeeping during the year is really a last resort. Punctuality is something which managers should deal with on a daily or weekly basis.

Here are some sample performance review comments that can be used to reflect this:

  • She is punctual at all times in her attendance at work as well as her positive attitude to attending meetings on time.
  • He has displayed effective time management skills in the estimation of work efforts in order to complete scheduled activities.
  • She ensures that all her reportees adhere to company attendance requirements and lunch break timings as well as administering their capacity to complete work on time.

REMEMBER: You must depend upon your human resource department for guidance on phrases to use and the  various strategic human resource management techniques they can help you with. You will need to add additional employee performance review phrases relating to technical aspects of the role which can differ from job to job.

At all times, you should try to include performance review comments which reflect the positive aspects of a person’s abilities, traits and skills. While negative aspects should be included, there should be some effort made to also see the positive side of a person’s skills or traits.

Related posts
160 new career ideas you probably hadn’t considered 
The best examples of performance reviews detailing time management problems
Key to better appraisal using a standardized performance management system

Author Rod Dunne...

Blog owner and sole writer Rod DunneI am the owner and sole writer on This is my personal blog detailing troubleshooting tips for small businesses. Posts are based upon 2 decades in consultancy & innovation management within startups/maturing companies.

Get Email Updates (it’s Free)

Comments on this entry are closed.