Performance Appraisals and Phrases For Dummies
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Describing an employee's skills in accuracy and detail-mindedness means more than saying, "Has a strong/good/poor eye for detail." Conducting an employee appraisal means using the right phrasing to delineate levels of the employee's abilities, whether they excel or need improvement.

In order for the written feedback on your evaluations to have a long-lasting impact, you need to focus on the individual performance factors that determine the quality and quantity of your employees’ work, such as accuracy and detail-mindedness. The best strategy is to include targeted phrases that energize an employee to keep up the good work in key areas, while also encouraging employees to focus more carefully on the quality and quantity of their work where needed.


Exceptional: Consistently exceeds expectations

  • Sets the gold standard for accuracy

  • Produces consistently error-free work

  • Produces work that is 100 percent reliable

  • Has zero tolerance for mistakes

Excellent: Frequently exceeds expectations

  • Has an ongoing focus on accuracy

  • Finds and corrects errors

  • Emphasizes accuracy to others

  • Checks and rechecks for accuracy

Fully competent: Meets expectations

  • Keeps accuracy in mind

  • Expects accuracy in all aspects of the job

  • Maintains detailed and accurate records

  • Does not tolerate sloppy work

Marginal: Occasionally fails to meet expectations

  • Does not spend enough time reviewing

  • Produces documentation that is not consistently reliable

  • Is too tolerant of errors

  • Produces frequently unreliable output

  • Tends to overlook specifications

Unsatisfactory: Consistently fails to meet expectations

  • Produces work that cannot be relied upon

  • Needs constant monitoring

  • Has made errors that have led to significant problems

  • Always falls short of the mark in terms of accuracy


Exceptional: Consistently exceeds expectations

  • Covers every significant detail from A to Z

  • Takes thoroughness to a new level

  • Energizes others to work carefully

  • Catches critical details missed by others

  • Meticulously manages every key detail

  • Manages the details, and doesn’t let the details manage him

  • Possesses uncanny insight into the role and relevance of every detail

  • Can discuss details with anyone at any level

  • Remains unsatisfied until a topic is totally mastered

  • Accurately analyzes and prioritizes details

Excellent: Frequently exceeds expectations

  • Has a great eye for detail

  • Regards the term minor detail as an oxymoron

  • Keeps details in perspective

  • Can get down to a microscopic level if needed

  • Never gets mired in minor details

  • Quickly notices when key details are overlooked

  • Digs into the details

  • Has detailed knowledge that is greatly valued by others

  • Supports conclusions with appropriate details

  • Is uncomfortable when details are lacking

Fully competent: Meets expectations

  • Includes all relevant details

  • Discerns relevant from irrelevant details

  • Sweats the small stuff

  • Makes sense of the masses of detail

  • Steps up to the challenge of handling details

  • Does not miss a major detail

  • Stays on top of the details

  • Is comfortable with the expected level of detail

  • Pushes extra-hard to handle the details

Marginal: Occasionally fails to meet expectations

  • Has little concern for details

  • Sees the big picture, but overlooks the small picture

  • Leaves the details to others

  • Struggles with details

  • Leaves out points that should be included

  • Randomly omits details

  • Lets the details slide

  • Regards details as a major challenge

  • Regards details as a low priority

  • Sees details as an inconvenience

  • Procrastinates when handling details

  • Gets careless with details

Unsatisfactory: Consistently fails to meet expectations

  • Does not get down to details

  • Overlooks essential details

  • Focuses on the fine points and misses the major ones

  • Focuses on the major points and misses most others

  • Tries to bluff when asked about details

  • Omits vital details, but includes insignificant details

  • Regards details as fluff

  • Is easily distracted when working on details

  • Provides details that are sloppy, inaccurate, or incomplete

About This Article

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About the book author:

Ken Lloyd, PhD, is a nationally recognized consultant, author, and columnist who specializes in organizational behavior, communication, and management coaching and development.

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