The purpose of performance reviews is to communicate with employees on what is going well, how they can improve, and how managers can better support their growth and performance.
When done well, performance reviews help employees and leaders align on goals and expectations and provide the sounding board and support system employees need to succeed.
In other words, performance reviews matter.
So how do you make sure you’re communicating effectively—especially if there’s constructive criticism to deliver?
Below we’ll outline exactly what to say in a performance review—including performance review comments, phrases, and questions—so you can approach these conversations with confidence.
So what should you say in a performance review? How you communicate can make or break your one-on-one conversations. You want your employees to leave the meeting feeling empowered and motivated—not deflated and disengaged.
Use these examples to model constructive criticism and concrete points versus ax-grinding criticism and vague observations.
It’s also helpful to have specific performance review comments in your back pocket to provide constructive feedback.
Performance review comments help you recognize employee achievements, strengths, and contributions and, when needed, shed light on areas where they need to improve. This is especially important when you’re offering criticism because you don’t want to phrase feedback in a way that demotivates, shames, or compares employees.
Here are a few examples of comments you can use in your next one-on-one conversation:
When starting a performance conversation, it’s helpful to have an outline of go-to performance review phrases you can tailor to each employee. Consider including these phrases as part of your evaluation template:
Phrases like these help you approach the review with a structured conversation and specific benchmarks to evaluate how an employee performed—all framed in a positive way.
As you review performance together, prompt your employees with open ended questions to solicit feedback and gain understanding on how your employee views their own performance, how they fit into the team and culture, and where they’d like to improve.
Asking performance review questions like these will help you identify opportunities to better align on performance, goals, and expectations, and find ways to support your employee’s success on the team.
Consider including some of these questions in your next review:
The secret to a good performance conversation is preparation. Preparing what to say (and what not to say) will go a long way towards creating a productive, secure conversation. Our Performance Review Templates will help you give the feedback your employees are looking for.