Performance review comments you can use for your employees

If you are a manager, then chances are that you have to write performance reviews. While it can be extremely trying to write reviews of colleagues working under you, your company counts on you to rate each person fairly. Honest performance reviews can help employees improve their performance and be more engaged in their work.

While it may not seem like it when you have to hand down a poor performance review, workers actually crave the feedback that you provide them. That way, they know if they are meeting or exceeding expectations or falling behind company expectations. Finally, performance reviews can be a chance for small business managers to take a look at the coaching that they are providing those working under them to see if it needs to be improved.

Achievement of goals

At the last performance review, the employee should have been involved in setting some specific goals. Depending on the length of time between performance reviews, additional goals may have been set along the way. Ideally, these goals are specific, measurable, attainable and timely. The performance review is the ideal time to review those business goals and set new ones as needed.

  • Poor
    • During the last performance review, the employee was achieving 50% of the company expected objectives, but now the employee is only achieving 20%.
    • While it was agreed upon by the manager and this employee that she would be finishing 75% of her daily task, the employee routinely only completes 30% of tasks assigned to her and has been coached six times in the last year.
  • Needs improvement
    • Refuses to try new techniques to improve her mastery of specific tasks such as lead generation.
    • Spends too much time concentrating on minor tasks while leaving major tasks undone.
  • Meets requirements
    • Improved production of X product by Y percentage over the last six months.
    • Currently meeting all goals as outlined in a previous performance review, and exhibited a vast increase in the ability to use web chat.
  • Exceeds requirements
    • Works well on accomplishing goals and is flexible as needed.
    • Accomplishes own goals quickly and accurately, then assists others to develop easier methods of meeting their goals.
  • Outstanding
    • Quantity and quality of work is outstanding.
    • An outstanding employee who accomplishes all goals on a daily basis with a can-do attitude.

Employee Performance ReviewsPunctuality

Punctuality from all employees is vital to meeting overall company goals. The employee who is punctual shows that they can be counted on by other team members. Managers learn to count on employees who show up on time each day to carry most of the workload. Therefore, they are often the first ones considered for promotions.

  • Poor
    • The employee only showed up for 60% of her assigned days and was late on more than 75% of the days when she showed up for work.
    • Despite three coachings, the employee continues to take extended lunches without permission.
  • Needs improvement
    • The employee consistently takes longer breaks than permitted.
    • Despite clocking in on time, the employee is often slow in returning to her task.
  • Meets requirements
    • The employee’s punctuality falls within company guidelines.
    • The employee works the assigned hours.
  • Exceeds requirements
    • Always on time and displaying a can-do attitude makes it easy to work with this employee.
    • One can count on this employee to always be timely.
  • Outstanding
    • Being present and reliability are two terms that easily describe this employee.
    • We can count on this employee always being here making determining staffing levels much easier.

Communication skills

This area of the performance review must cover a lot of ground because it covers the sharing of information helping the company meet its objectives. At the same time, employees may need to think about protecting vital information that does not need to be shared with all employees. When writing the performance evaluation, make sure to remember that communication is a two-way street, so those excelling in this area are able to build cooperation among team members and when working with the public.

This performance review item also needs to show the employee’s willingness to negotiate in good faith while remaining even-tempered. Employees should exhibit the ability to be good listeners and to respect the small business owner or manager’s final decision even when it differs from what they think should be done. The good communicator is proud when others do well and is always willing to reach out to make sure that everyone is included and all points of view are honored.

  • Poor
    • Consistently unwilling to share information with others, this employee shows that he is unable to be a productive team member.
    • This employee seems to have issues knowing when to be quiet, so the company has had to do reputation management work to cover his mistakes.
  • Needs improvement
    • This employee consistently fails to complete written notes in a timely manner by delaying other teams from completing their assignment.
    • Many employees complain that they have to hunt this employee down because he does not answer emails in a timely fashion.
  • Meets requirements
    • This employee’s reports are always done in a timely manner and filled with vital data.
    • The art of communication is practiced by this employee on a regular basis who often receives positive customer feedback.
  • Exceeds requirements
    • It is always a pleasure to listen to this employee work with customers because she does a great job of recognizing pain points so that customers are convinced to buy.
    • This employee does an outstanding job of active listening allowing him to pinpoint problems and arrive at workable solutions.
  • Outstanding
    • A skilled communicator, this employee does an outstanding job of encouraging healthy debate among all team members.
    • This employee is a very effective communicator in delicate situations where tact and wisdom are required.

communication skills in performance reviewsCooperation

Cooperation and competition are like two ends of a spectrum, and the best employees often are found in the middle. Cooperative employees show a desire to get the job done regardless of who gets the credit. They are willing to put themselves last as long as tasks help meet the company’s objectives, and they are willing to rearrange their schedules based on the needs of the group. Cooperative workers are productive working alone or in a group.

  • Poor
    • According to numerous reports documented in her personnel file, this employee refuses to cooperate with other employees and superiors.
    • This employee is headstrong and needs to learn to work in a group setting without getting into shouting matches with fellow employees.
  • Needs improvement
    • This employee’s unwillingness to take the lead has resulted in numerous projects falling behind schedule.
    • Unwilling to see that it takes everyone working together, this employee wants to consistently do things on their own time schedule.
  • Meets requirements
    • This employee is a team player that often can be found encouraging others.
    • The ability to take constructive criticism when needed makes this employee one of the most cooperative in the building.
  • Exceeds requirements
    • Extremely goal orientated, this employee works well at building company spirit daily.
    • One of the company’s strongest cheerleaders, this employee often delays her own projects to help others. Yet, her consistent drive means that her own work is completed in a timely manner.
  • Outstanding
    • You would never know that working with people from diverse backgrounds is challenging when you watch this employee in action.
    • One of this employee’s strongest assets is his ability to lead teams to find creative solutions that increase productivity.

Leadership & management skills

Without good management, it is hard for a company to succeed. While most people exhibiting these skills will be a line leader or above, it is an essential part of all good employee’s behavior. Employees who exhibit good leadership give appropriate feedback to those above and below them. They understand company policies and the expected workflow. Employees with good management skills are also outstanding at building teams and being everyone’s favorite cheerleader helping the company to exceed its expectations.

  • Poor
    • Despite coaching, this employee shows little comprehension of how to build a good team.
    • The company’s headquarters has received four complaints about this manager from his inferiors that the company found to be valid.
  • Needs improvement
    • While this employee does a good job of assigning tasks, he does not carry through to make sure that they are completed in a timely manner.
    • Other managers often complain that they find this manager headstrong.
  • Meets requirements
    • This employee shows good leadership skills when working on a team.
    • Always a great cheerleader, this employee has a servant’s heart.
  • Exceeds requirements
    • One of the hardest working employees in the building, management can always count on this employee to pick up the slack left by others.
    • Consistently a great team player, this employee does a good job of making sure that everyone’s opinion is heard.
  • Outstanding
    • Watching this employee in action should be a requirement for all who want to learn about leadership.
    • While just being promoted to leadership six months ago, this employee already outperforms many more experienced managers.

employee management skills

Interpersonal skills

In order to be an asset to a company, an employee must be able to get along well with others. Communication is a huge part of interpersonal skills, but there are others as well. Some employees can work well with people at all levels of the company while others may have trouble getting along with their coworkers while getting along great with management. Good personal hygiene is an important part of interpersonal skills.

  • Poor
    • This employee seems to have a bad attitude every day and is often seen yelling at coworkers.
    • Despite coaching, this employee has not improved his ability to get along with other team members.
  • Needs improvement
    • This employee does a good job of getting along with superiors, but he often treats those below him poorly.
    • Management has given this employee numerous warnings that his personal hygiene needs improvement.
  • Meets requirements
  • Exceeds requirements
    • This employee works well with management, other employees and the public where he always exceeds expectations.
    • Others feel extremely comfortable and valued when they are around this employee.
  • Outstanding
    • A positive attitude and a willingness to listen to the opinion of others make this employee one of everyone’s favorites.
    • This employee does an outstanding job of valuing the opinion of those around them even when there are differences in opinion.

Problem solving

This part of the performance review evaluates if the employee is able to create workable solutions when problems arise. Ideally, they will be able to suggest ideas that enable production to increase or saves the company money. Employees who excel in this category are able to communicate their ideas and suggestions so that those around them can implement them successfully.

  • Poor
    • This employee is consistently rude when problems arise requiring even minor changes.
    • This employee needs to be able to change project directions more effectively without losing her temper.
  • Needs improvement
    • This employee needs to exhibit more flexibility and willingness to change directions during the workday.
    • While this employee takes direction well, he needs to be more independent in problem-solving.
  • Meets requirements
    • This employee is able to solve customer problems in an appropriate manner.
    • A very creative thinker, this employee does a good job of solving routine problems.
  • Exceeds requirements
    • Managers seldom know about problems encountered during production because this employee is so good at solving them.
    • This employee is a real asset because of her ability to think quickly when problems occur.
  • Outstanding
    • This employee saved the company a lot of money when an assembly line had to be shut down for over six weeks because she was able to configure another line to make the product.
    • This employee did a great job of keeping employees safe while protecting assets when disaster struck.

employee problem solving


An employee’s ability to be creative in managing resources and time is an important part of a performance review. As a leader, these people tend to be able to solve most problems helping to keep deadlines. They are also an asset in helping to bring new products to market.

  • Poor
    • This employee comes to superiors with every minor problem often delaying the work of others.
    • This employee is very creative, but he refuses to apply those skills to get tasks completed in a timely manner.
  • Needs improvement
    • This employee has great ideas, but too often he fails to see the big picture.
    • Often fails to think through entire processes, which can cause even more issues later on.
  • Meets requirements
    • Journals new ideas so that the best ones can be presented to management when appropriate.
    • This employee is able to look at problems in creative ways that others might not consider.
  • Exceeds requirements
    • A real asset to the company, this employee takes ideas that others think are unchangeable and makes them better.
    • A willingness to experiment with new ways of doing tasks to improve the use of assets makes this employee top notch.
  • Outstanding
    • This employee consistently reads to find answers to problems within the company.
    • Displays look perfect when this employee does them because of her attention to detail and creativity.

performance review comments for employees


Done correctly, performance reviews can help make good employees better and encourage great employees. If you are in charge of writing performance reviews, then focusing on these core competencies allows you to give constructive feedback on what employees are doing right and where they need to grasp the opportunity to grow in the near future.

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