Sample Performance Evaluations

Six Steps To Performance Reviews
Part Three: Use of Language

Sample performance evaluations should always pave the way for a more positive future experience for both the employee and supervisor.

It is the responsibility of every manager to carefully plan for what will be communicated during the annual performance review.

Good sample performance evaluations will utilize a form that encourages the proper use of words or language. The appraisal can be a truly powerful and positive activity for any good manager.

Managers must ensure that they use language that supports discussion, yet does not offend or is perceived as making inappropriate personal judgements.

The following guidelines are helpful to remember when completing our sample performance evaluations form:

  • Use objective, behavioral language when describing performance. (Examples will be provided later in the article.)
  • Avoid vague, opinionated or judgmental comments. This will only place the employee on the defensive, and is a mis-use of your authority.
  • Make sure to comment on every goal, expected behavior and performance factor. Just giving a rating is not enough. Provide some concrete insight as to how you came to your conclusion.
  • Choose specific examples for each behavioral or performance expectation.
  • Elaborate, provide more details for especially high or low ratings. Give the employee a good sense of how you came to your conclusion.

Language To Avoid

These are examples of statements to avoid when using our sample performance evaluations form. You will notice that each statement contains a personal judgement.

Language to avoid includes:

  • I feel that... (Personal opinion, leave out.)
  • I like... (Personal opinion, leave out.)
  • She is lazy. (Highly judgemental, serves no purpose – focus only on the behavior itself.)
  • He has an attendance problem. (Just state facts, I.e, number of times sick, late, etc.
  • She is good/bad with customers. (No basis for the statement, be more specific, and stick to the facts)
  • She has a terrible attitude – He is a great leader. She in highly engaged. (All lack specific basis for the statement, and therefore only provide an opinion or judgement. Stay with the facts – facts will relate better what you are wanting to communicate.)

Good Use Of Language

Here now are a few good examples of how to write great narrative that is highly factual, and does not make subjective judgements that could place the employee on the defensive:

  • Tracy has successfully planned, organized and developed the phone center by the stated completion date of 1-4-04. All supplies and equipment have been ordered on time and in an appropriate quantity, staying well below the stated budget. Tracy has trained staff effectively as they are taking 30 calls per hour, well above the projected goal of 20 calls per hour.
  • Ken had four separate cash outages during the entire year. Three of the four cash outages were found, leaving total outages for the year at only $6.30. This is a terrific achievement given the fact that Ken is responsible for so many additional side tasks (balancing coin machine, food stamps, cash advances, and more).
  • Jessie consistently smiles, uses a pleasant tone and calls customers by name. She is a good listener, which is how she is so effectively able to resolve customer issues. Jessie has received numerous customer feedback surveys praising her customer service skills. She works well with her co-workers and pro-actively shares best practices with her team in an effort to help her peers.

Use Of Questions

Proper questioning is very important. Questions should be prepared in advance and should be structured to facilitate open and honest discussion. Managers need to use quality tools, such as our sample performance evaluations form, to maintain a healthy balance between telling, seeking and listening.

Some common but highly effective lines of questioning might include:

  • What do you consider to be your most important achievements in the past year?
  • What elements of your job interest you the most?
  • What do you consider to be the most important tasks for the coming year?
  • Tell me more about that? Help me understand...?
  • How do you feel about . . . ?
  • Do you have any ideas for improving . . . ?
  • What do you think might have caused that to happen?

Using this type of questioning, the employee will become more involved in their own performance evaluation – and that is what a true leader is working to achieve.

The performance review must be a time when open communication exists and the employee is allowed and encouraged to speak about how he feels his everyday work life is progressing.

Your employees are your company’s future. Their success (or failure) is your success (or failure).

Using our sample performance evaluations form, now is a terrific time to connect with your employees and investigate just how bright that future is.

Managers cannot allow this process to turn into simply a "yes sir, thank you sir" event. Use our free sample performance evaluations form to make the process more easily achievable.


(Back to Part 2) (Go to Part 4)


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