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Performance review comments examples

Workplace performance reviews and appraisals can often be a challenging task for managers and supervisors. When conducting performance reviews and appraisals, it's important that the manager/supervisor is well prepared to assess the employee's performance. These tips and techniques help managers by preparing performance evaluations, conducting employee reviews, avoiding common appraisal mistakes and pitfalls, and how to follow up with employees after the appraisal is complete.


Preparation is key to the success of a performance review. Managers may see it as a boring, bureaucratic exercise and do not spend enough time formulating a performance review for his/her employees. When managers do not adequately prepare, the value diminishes. significant thought should go into into this process, as it is imperative that key messages and objectives are communicated with the employee in question.

Hold performance reviews that allow for confidential discussions and make sure the environment is comfortable for the employee. Small rooms with a small table makes the atmosphere more comfortable and allows for more engagement. Putting an employee at ease goes a long way in helping the performance review be as effective as possible.

Another part of preparation is making sure the employee know what to expect during their performance reviews. Set up an agenda before the time, and send the agenda to the employee so they feel more comfortable about their impending review. Say things like:

  • “During our discussion today we will look at these areas…”
  • “I would like to have a conversation about these core competencies”
  • “In our review today, let’s have a conversation about your strengths and potential growth areas”
  • “Let’s talk about your goals and objectives, and what you would like to achieve”

Also, be open to a two way conversation. allow the employee to express how they feel about your point of view, and let the employee express what they think of their overall performance. What do they believe went well? What would they have done differently?

Conducting Performance reviews

One of the most important aspects of any performance review is that it is a conversation. The manager and the employee should review the period under discussion, with the agreed-upon “next steps: or commitments from the most recent performance planning and review conversation. Reviews should identify the specific results achieved over the period, and missed any missed objectives. Any obstacles should also be discussed, so that the manager can understand whether or not the system he/she put in place provided a solution. The overall objective of the performance review should focus on listening, coaching, maintaining an open atmosphere and understanding documents under review.

Avoiding pitfalls

Evaluations, even when prepared well, can trip up managers. These faults can deflate the morale of the employee, worsen a work relationship and plant the seeds to a lawsuit. Here are a pitfalls managers should always aim to avoid:

  1. Use of stereotypes: Never base your judgement on what your perception of a particular type of person or thing. Base your review objectively and on how the employee has performed.
  2. Allow personal feelings to cloud your judgement: Don’t base the review on how the employee performs outside of office hours, or on one incident.
  3. Make backhanded compliments: Giving compliments can be beneficial, however do not make it seem sarcastic or condescending.
  4. Assume motives behind behaviours: Never give a performance review based on assumptions. Always base them on facts and give concrete examples to back up the facts.
  5. Fail to explain ratings: When you give a rating, back it up with comments and facts that you believe justify the rating.

When conducting performance reviews, it’s important that both the employee and the manager are in the right mindset to give and receive such information. Performance reviews, when used correctly, can be a powerful tool in the workplace and managers need to realise that, through preparation, employees grow and develop their professional competencies and skills.