Performance Appraisals and Phrases For Dummies
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If your employees have differing levels of productivity and timeliness, you'll need to know how to phrase your employee appraisals. 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.

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

  • Produces a remarkable amount of high-quality work

  • Inspires others with his output

  • Sets a new standard for productivity

  • Puts the “pro” in productivity

  • Monitors productivity and implements upgrades as needed

  • Always seeks opportunities to be even more productive

  • Dazzles everyone with the quality and quantity of her work

  • Is productivity minded

  • Regards productivity as a top priority

  • Generates great productivity from others

  • Identifies and implements steps to enhance output

  • Is responsible for a major increase in departmental productivity

  • Always goes the extra mile(s)

  • Fully understands the figures behind productivity

  • Works hard and works smart

  • Streamlines departmental operations

  • Raises the bar for everyone

  • Is energized by challenges that would derail others

  • Offers outstanding suggestions to increase productivity

Excellent: Frequently exceeds expectations

  • Is motivated to be highly productive

  • Has steadily increased personal output

  • Provides suggestions that enhance productivity

  • Serves as an excellent role model of productive behavior

  • Focuses on people as well as productivity

  • Is productive under less-than-perfect conditions

  • Makes others more productive

  • Generates and implements creative ideas

  • Works directly with others to enhance their productivity

  • Is eager to learn about ways to be more productive

  • Quickly incorporates new knowledge to build productivity

  • Turns challenges into opportunities

  • Is a stellar producer

  • Is productive beyond standard requirements

  • Takes on any task

  • Single-handedly led to the success of the XYZ project through his efforts

  • Is regarded as a productivity guru

Fully competent: Meets expectations

  • Produces solid quality and quantity of work

  • Helps others work better

  • Shares insights to improve productivity

  • Works with the team to build output

  • Has been improving her productivity

  • Understands how to produce more

  • Puts in extra hours to get the desired results

  • Builds productivity by being well organized

  • Fully embraces the need for greater productivity

  • Is a storehouse of productivity knowledge

  • Does more than talk about productivity

Marginal: Occasionally fails to meet expectations

  • Is sporadic with his output

  • Is often uneven with her productivity

  • Can work hard, but not consistently

  • Could be far more productive

  • Tends to set the bar too low

  • Does not exert consistent effort

  • Can meet the mark in terms of productivity, but frequently falls short

  • Blames productivity problems on others

  • Bogs down performance and productivity with his misdirected actions

  • Spends too much time on low-priority tasks

  • Works reactively rather than proactively

  • Tries to do just enough to get by

  • Is an amateur in the world of productivity

  • Sets aside quality

  • Talks about working productively, but rarely does so

Unsatisfactory: Consistently fails to meet expectations

  • Is slipping in terms of her personal productivity

  • Is distracted by non-work issues

  • Doesn’t focus enough energy and attention on the work to be done

  • Sets low goals and fails to meet them

  • Doesn’t regard productivity as a priority

  • Sees his personal output slipping and does nothing to stop it

  • Interferes with the performance of others

  • Displays disruptive or distracting behaviors

  • Often needs to redo her work

  • Rarely gets out of first gear

  • Regards productivity as someone else’s concern

  • Takes inappropriate or reckless shortcuts

  • Shows little interest in being more productive

  • Fails to fully engage in projects

  • Disregards suggestions to build productivity


Exceptional: Consistently exceeds expectations

  • Is a master of time management

  • Is on time and on target with his work

  • Generates more than an hour’s worth of productivity in each hour

  • Is excellent at prioritizing work

  • Helps others manage their time

  • Builds the time-management skills of fellow employees

  • Streamlines tasks and processes

  • Has a great sense of time and timing

  • Never misses a deadline

  • Meets deadlines like clockwork

  • Creates and implements timesaving strategies

  • Consistently makes the best use of her time

  • Plans out the work, and then works the plan

  • Has a high degree of expertise in time management, and applies it on every project

  • Completes most projects early and all projects on time

  • Is sensitive to the time demands and constraints of others

  • Produces on-time, high-quality work

  • Knows when and how to delegate

Excellent: Frequently exceeds expectations

  • Coordinates projects to meet deadlines

  • Develops realistic plans and schedules

  • Keeps the entire team on time

  • Has a keen sense of what to do and when to do it

  • Gives top attention to top priorities

  • Manages time instead of letting time manage him

  • Doesn’t procrastinate

  • Stays on schedule or ahead of it

  • Never loses sight of time constraints

  • Is excellent at estimating the time required for projects

  • Manages to get more done in less time

  • Is punctual in all aspects of the job

  • Maintains flexibility to take on additional tasks

  • Completes many projects before the due date

  • Has yet to miss a deadline

  • Delegates work and follows up as needed

Fully competent: Meets expectations

  • Completes work on time

  • Avoids time wasters

  • Establishes appropriate priorities

  • Develops workable schedules

  • Knows what needs to be done and not done

  • Effectively assigns work to others

  • Keeps commitments to get work done

  • Places a premium on planning

  • Keeps projects on schedule

  • Delivers results on time

  • Tracks projects carefully

  • Makes productive use of her time

  • Follows a proven time-management system

  • Lives by the philosophy that time is money

  • Makes commitments to deadlines and keeps them

  • Watches the time, not the clock

Marginal: Occasionally fails to meet expectations

  • Treats deadlines as if they are optional

  • Devotes too much time to second-tier matters

  • Rarely completes the assigned tasks on time

  • Constantly feels overwhelmed

  • Works on many assignments that should be delegated

  • Is easily drawn into secondary tasks

  • Is too quick to set aside important projects

  • Randomly rank-orders projects

  • Blames others when work runs late

  • Is intermittent, at best, with planning

  • Is late with major projects but on time with minor ones

  • Surprises others when work is on time

  • Occasionally meets deadlines but with questionable quality

  • Is too late with too much work

Unsatisfactory: Consistently fails to meet expectations

  • Wastes time on low-ticket items

  • Places procrastination over performance

  • Allows work to stack up

  • Constantly falls behind

  • Has yet to meet a deadline

  • Waits until the last minute

  • Ignores coaching

  • Doesn’t pay enough attention to the needs of those waiting for his work

  • Consistently fails to make the best use of time

  • Spends too much time crafting excuses

  • Regards time management as a waste of time

  • Is uninterested in time-management tools or programs

  • Feels no sense of urgency

  • Manages time like a pinball

About This Article

This article is from the book:

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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