How to go from performance management to employee development

Whether you are a start-up or a scale-up or the industry leader, there’s no substitute for having a highly engaged, skilled workforce. Invest in employee development


min read

Performance management has been one of the key priorities for organizations striving to unlock unprecedented growth. If you look closely, performance management focuses on measuring and improving employee performance to facilitate organizational success. 

However, as organizations are moving towards becoming people-centric, focusing on the growth and wellbeing of their employees, the understanding of performance management is expanding. The focus is now on a more holistic and comprehensive idea of employee development. Performance management is being increasingly viewed with a more end-to-end vision and a continuous process, highlighting the need to foster a culture of development opportunities for employees. 

The move to expand the meaning and scope of performance management towards employee development is critical for fast growing organizations as employees are the greatest asset which they can nurture, develop and ultimately who will contribute to success. 

Through the course of this blog we will explore 5 major steps that can enable organizations to go from performance management to employee development. We will also highlight some of the best practices and essential guidance for fast growing organizations that will help them in early years of their growth journey. 

1. Focus on the big picture

Often, when it comes to performance management, organizational leaders and managers focus on the immediate and short-term goals to gauge if things are working out or not. However, to adopt the broader framework of employee development, it is important to expand the scope and focus on the big picture.

Performance and development of the employee needs to be gauged in relation with the long-term goals and vision, while the short-term goals should be used as milestones in the longer journey. The focus should be on how the employee can develop and grow in the entire journey towards the goal, rather than how well he/she has been able to perform so far. 

To expand performance management to employee development, organizations need to adopt a futuristic lens and gauge what can be rather than simply measuring what is. 

The idea is to broaden the perspective and focus on areas that take into account the employee lens, rather than simply highlighting the impact of the performance on the organizational bottom line. 

2. Align employee and organizational goals

It is a fact that performance management in its conventional sense revolves around organizational goals. However, most fast growing companies believe in expanding this myopic focus. That’s how they move from performance management to employee development. 

Here, it is important to create an alignment between employee and organizational goals. In the absence of such an alignment, employee development will not take place, irrespective of any number of efforts towards achieving organizational goals. 

To put it simply, when employee and organizational goals align, there are streamlined and strategic efforts that go towards their achievement. Since the end goal is the same, every effort and improvement towards organizational goals directly leads to employee development as it takes employees one step closer to their career goals. Also, 58% of employees (62% of Millennials and GenX) say that having professional development opportunities increases their job satisfaction and is a major driver of long term retention.

Therefore, organizations must focus on communicating organizational goals to their team members and also help them in charting out what they seek to achieve in the longer run. Based on the two mind maps, leaders and managers can help identify areas of convergence and transform performance management for organizational goals into employee development for career progression. 

3. Promote collective brainstorming

Promote collective brainstorming

While alignment of employee and organizational goals is important, it is equally important to facilitate collective brainstorming to identify the path to those goals. 

When the focus is solely on performance management, the leadership generally creates the goals along with roadmaps towards achieving the set goals. Since the focus is on organizational success, it is considered that the leadership knows best. However, to expand performance management to employee development, it is important to have the employee voice too. 

This brings the notion of collective brainstorming to the forefront. The process asks employees to be active participants in the setting goals, and creating plans to monitor and improve their performance with incorporation of indicators that align with their priorities too. 

4. Reinvent the feedback cycle

Generally, in performance management, feedback is limited to an annual or biannual event. However, to reinvent the idea and expand the scope, employee development must focus on continuous feedback. There are multiple facets to the idea of continuous and holistic feedback. 

First, feedback should be a regular affair. It should take place at least once every month to identify and address challenges in the beginning itself. To continuously understand the employee pulse and overall organizational sentiment, you must develop a daily feedback culture

Second, for employee development, feedback should come in from different sources. Since employee development is about more factors than just how productive the employee has been, the feedback should reflect the same with self reflection, feedback from managers and peer feedback, to start with. 

Third, the feedback cycle should be transformed into a two way street. While the myopic vision of performance management may focus on a top-down approach for feedback, employee development requires feedback all across. 

This suggests that employees must be given the opportunity and space to share what they feel has been the progress like from an organizational and individual standpoint and how the same can be improved. Employee development requires facilitating employee participation in gauging and identifying what is going well and what requires work, on a regular basis. 

5. Create new metrics for evaluation

There are some standard metrics for performance management, based on specific roles, including the number of deals closed, productivity, etc. Often, these metrics focus on organizational goals and hence, do not seek to gauge the progress made on the professional level for employees. 

To transition to employee development, organizations need to widen the scope and create and implement new metrics which have a more expansive focus. 

From an employee development lens, metric should focus on the learning and development curve for employees. Additionally, attention should be given to transforming the standard metrics to make them more meaningful to gauge how they ultimately contribute to employee development. 

The bottom line here is that the standard metrics for performance management should not be discarded. Rather, new ones should be added that focus entirely on employee development and the existing ones can be delved into deeper to make a case for employee development. 

Employee development for fast growing companies

What we discussed so far is a comprehensive approach for fast growing startups to move from performance management to continuous employee development.

In addition, based on our work with many fast growing organizations, we have created a list of a few best practices to facilitate employee development that supports overall growth:

5 employee development basics

1. Invest in the team: 

Since the team is one of the biggest assets for fast growing companies, investing in learning and training sessions for them is extremely important. Customized learning modules based on the future trends and industry requirements can help hypergrowth organizations expand performance management to facilitate employee development. Here a learning-first work culture makes a lot of sense. 

2. Create a culture of coaching and mentoring: 

Most professionals who join fast growing companies come with a growth mindset and are willing to take risks to make an impact and leave behind a legacy. Therefore, providing coaching and mentorship support can truly add value for employee development.

3. Expand the scope of work: 

Fast growing companies have a benefit over established organizations in terms of flexibility of roles and tasks. They can encourage team members to explore and experiment with different kinds of roles and tasks, to achieve a steep learning curve, which is integral to employee development.  

4. Help create a career path

For many employees, working in fast growing organizations is the first step towards crafting and fast tracking their career. Here, such organizations can encourage their leadership team to help employees create their career plans and a roadmap to achieve the same. Employee development can thus lead to better career outcomes for the employees. It also helps with increasing talent retention rate — as 87% millennial employees prioritize professional and career development opportunities over other benefits.

5. Facilitate collaboration

Growth and development occurs at an unprecedented rate when professionals work together and learn from each other. Fast growing companies have the opportunity to enable their team members to collaborate with each other, with fluid boundaries of business verticals. Collective work and diverse ideas can lead to employee development and go a step beyond performance management. 

Final thoughts

Whether you are a start-up or a scale-up or the industry leader, there’s no substitute for having a highly engaged, skilled workforce. There’s no substitute for investing in knowing and developing your employees. When you focus on mentoring, coaching, and developing your employees, they return the favor by going the extra mile in their respective roles. 

As you grow as an organization, make sure to develop a culture that doesn’t stop at simple managing and improving immediate performance, but rather leads to continuous growth. Make sure to learn about the needs and pain-points of your employees through continuous feedback, let them know they are valued through 1:1 personalized coaching sessions, and set goals for them that help them grow too.

Suggested reading:

A manager’s handbook to employee learning and development

Employee Skills for Remote Work: How to Develop Them

Like what you read? Now see it in action in your team, book a free demo with our experts today!

Garima Shukla

Marketing, SuperBeings

Hello world! I am Garima and I research and write on everything we are doing to make the world of work a better place at SuperBeings

Latest posts

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100+ Most Useful Self Appraisal Comments for Your Next Performance Review

In the recent years, there has been a lot of attention that is being given to employee feedback, performance reviews and evaluation as a part of the whole performance management system

While a major focus has been to prepare managers to give feedback in a constructive and effective manner, paying attention to employee self evaluation is equally important. Knowing what self appraisal comments to use can play a major role in helping employees to effectively reflect and evaluate their performance and convey it effectively to the rest of the team. 

Purpose of self appraisal

The purposes of employee evaluation and performance review in general have been talked about time and again. However, self appraisal takes the process of evaluation at a very personal and individual level, leading to a more pronounced understanding of an employee’s performance. Some of the top benefits of employee self assessment include:

  • Getting a true reflection of the contribution an employee perceives he/she has made to the organization
  • Ensuring that the employee formally makes an effort to evaluate their developmental areas
  • Facilitating self awareness for employees to ensure they are able to see the true picture
  • Helping the employees navigate their next steps in the professional journey

Read: Employee self assessment: How to write a great one 

Benefits of self appraisal for the team and manager

In the section above, we have talked about the purpose or the need of self evaluation mostly from the perspective of the employee. However, self appraisal, when done correctly, has equally compelling benefits for the team as well as managers. A quick snapshot is captured below:

1. Higher engagement

With self appraisal, employees become active participants in their review and appraisal process, rather than simply being passive recipients. Consequently, they feel valued, motivated and the level of engagement increases. Furthermore, with greater engagement, levels of commitment, retention and productivity go up. 

2. Greater alignment

When employees take a step back to reflect on their performance with self appraisal, they become more receptive to diverse ideas. Put simply, in the absence of self reflection, they will have a hard time gauging where they need to improve. Consequently, they will be defensive when a manager or the team gives them feedback on the same. However, self evaluation will help them accept the gaps and be open to learning and growing. 

3. Development of a problem solving mindset

When employees reflect on their performance and identify the development areas, they will don a problem solving hat on to accelerate their professional journey. Through the course of time, this problem solving attribute will become a part of their skill set which will benefit the team and the manager greatly. 

4. Higher accountability

As a result of greater alignment due to self reflection on the strengths and areas of development, teams will see a greater sense of accountability to bridge the gaps identified. Under conventional circumstances, performance improvement might be seen as just a tick in the box by employees. However, after self appraisal, employees truly acknowledge and accept the need to bridge those gaps and take greater ownership and accountability. 

100+ self appraisal comments 

Now that you have an understanding of why self appraisal matters, let’s quickly look at how to make it most effective. If you are experimenting with self evaluation for the first time, it can be an overwhelming activity for your employees. It is human nature to feel uneasy when you’re expected to evaluate your own performance. However, if you provide your employees with some comments they can use for self evaluation as a starting point, you can make the journey easier for them. 

Put simply, self appraisal comments are common statements that can be customized by your employees during the self evaluation process, especially, if they find themselves at a loss of words to describe their performance

These phrases are available for both strengths and areas of development to help employees paint a realistic picture of their performance. Here are the top 100 self appraisal phrases that you can use for different performance parameters.

1. Communication phrases

Use these self phrases to reflect on your clarity of communication, willingness to listen to others, etc. 

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I am able to clearly share my ideas and opinions with the team 
  2. I keep my team members duly informed about my work and progress
  3. I ensure that I respond to all emails in a timely and professional manner
  4. I actively listen to and comprehend what others have to say
  5. I excel at storytelling and presenting my ideas in front of a large audience

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. I find it difficult to get the right words to express my views
  2. I am able to write down my thoughts well, but struggle to communicate them verbally
  3. I hesitate in communicating my ideas to the top leadership
  4. I get overwhelmed when I have to present to a large group
  5. I need to work more on my email writing skills

2. Reliability phrases

These self evaluation phrases reflect how reliable or dependable you are for your team members, especially under special circumstances.

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I diligently follow up on the work allotted to me
  2. I have been able to meet 80% of the deadlines and have proactively informed about delays with the reason for all other times
  3. I promptly respond to emails 
  4. I have an organized to-do list to ensure no work falls through the cracks
  5. I ensure high quality of work consistently

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. I struggle to meet the deadlines more than 60% of the times
  2. I find it hard to deal with multiple tasks at once
  3. I get overwhelmed when the entire project depends upon me
  4. My goal is to deliver at least 70% of the projects on time
  5. I seek to be more proactive in communicating any delays to the leadership team

3. Ownership and initiative phrases

Using these self appraisal phrases can help indicate how invested or engaged you are in taking ownership of work without being asked to at times. 

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I like to participate in activities beyond my KRAs
  2. I have taken ownership of at least 40% new projects allocated to our team
  3. I am the first person in the team to raise my hand for something new
  4. I enjoy spending 15-20% of my time on projects that I manage end to end
  5. I took the ownership of the biggest client last quarter and the sales went up by 10%

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. I often shy away from taking responsibility and ownership of any project
  2. I restrain myself to being a contributor than taking ownership and managing projects
  3. I intend to take ownership of at least 1 new project in the next quarter
  4. I find it difficult to take part in activities beyond my defined work
  5. I intend to seek support from my manager to help me in getting over the phobia of underperforming when given the ownership 

Similar Read: 150+ performance review phrases for managers 

4. Attendance phrases

The following self appraisal comments are important to help review your performance on the basis of how punctual and attentive you are.

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I always arrive office on time
  2. I attend all meetings and inform in advance in case I am not able to attend any
  3. I respect other people’s time and ensure that all my meetings start and end on time
  4. I plan my time off in advance and inform my team members about the same
  5. I do not take unnecessary breaks during office hours

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. I seek to be on work every time, and bridge the occasional gap that exists right now
  2. I intend to plan all my vacation days in advance
  3. I will ensure that I plan my meetings in advance with a clear agenda to ensure they don’t last longer than intended
  4. I sometimes get carried away during breaks, I will ensure that I adhere to the break schedules
  5. I will account for different factors and leave house early to reach office on time

5. Teamwork phrases

Use these self evaluation phrases when you want to highlight your strengths/ areas of improvement of working with the team, your collaboration skills, etc.

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I go out of the way to ensure that my team members are able to deliver their best
  2. I actively seek inputs from all team members on every project
  3. I actively participate in brainstorming sessions and team discussions
  4. I encourage other team members to share their perspectives
  5. I get along with almost everyone in the team

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. I find it a little difficult to mix up with all the team members
  2. I will work on my confidence to share my ideas with the team
  3. Occasionally, I tend to overlook the ideas shared by others, which I will work towards
  4. I will focus on delegating work correctly to ensure maximum impact
  5. I will attend most of the team meetings and participate actively

6. Creativity phrases

Creativity self appraisal comments can help you in reflecting on how effectively you are able to come up with novel and innovative solutions to challenges and new ideas to augment the impact and value created.

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I am able to pivot my priorities and come up with new ideas based on changes in a project requirement
  2. I like to experiment with new ways of addressing a problem 
  3. In the last quarter, I came up with a new marketing solution that increased our organic traffic by 15%
  4. I am able to think out of the box even in pressure situations
  5. While I rely on standard processes, I am not afraid of taking the risk to try something unique that can lead to better results

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Occasionally, I find it difficult to break free from the established process for any task
  2. I feel that at times, I restrain my creativity in the face of practicality
  3. In the next quarter, I will focus on accepting new ideas and ways of work
  4. Sometimes I make the situation more complex by adding too much creativity, when only a simple solution is needed
  5. I tend to shy away from sharing my innovative solutions, preventing higher impact

7. Attention to detail phrases

The following phrase can create a picture of your quality of work and how much attention you pay while undertaking a particular task during your self reflection process. 

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I check all my work at least 3 times before submitting
  2. I have a detailed to do list to ensure nothing falls through the cracks
  3. Most of the work I deliver has negligible errors
  4. I am extremely patient with each project I work on to deliver the best
  5. I ensure delivering consistent quality of work in at least 90% of the projects

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. When I am working on multiple projects, I tend to miss out on attention to detail
  2. Occasionally, when I am in a hurry, I tend to overlook minor errors
  3. I miss proofreading my work at times
  4. I find it hard to prioritize work, leading to some inaccuracies at times
  5. I aspire to become more organized in the near future to ensure all requirements are taken care of

8. Job knowledge phrases

You can use these self appraisal comments to illustrate how well you understand what is expected out of you and how well you are able to deliver on the same. 

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I have a clear understanding of what I am expected to do as a part of my role
  2. I understand the value my work is able to contribute to the overall organizational success
  3. I was able to meet 80% of my OKRs in the last quarter
  4. I stay updated on the latest trends and insights in my field
  5. I take up training and upskilling every quarter to stay relevant for my role

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Due to a multifunctional role, I find it difficult at times to understand the expectations
  2. I sometimes struggle to explain to others what I do
  3. I am not sure how I am able to create an impact for the organization
  4. I seek to increase meeting my job expectations by meeting at least 70% OKRs in the next quarter
  5. Occasionally, I find myself unprepared for the role, and plan to take up courses to address the same

9. Customer satisfaction phrases

Customer satisfaction self evaluation performance phrases help gauge how effectively you are able to address customer requests or complaints that leads to a higher Net Promoter Score, brand credibility, etc. 

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I respond to all customer queries within 24 hours
  2. I have been constantly receiving high remarks on customer satisfaction surveys 
  3. I am always calm and patient when dealing with customer complaints
  4. I have been able to increase the customer lifetime value for my customers by 15% in the last year
  5. I am able to answer difficult questions for customers in a professional manner

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. At times, I find it difficult to respond to customers in a timely manner
  2. I intend to ensure that I become more patient while dealing with customer complaints
  3. I sometimes get overwhelmed when a customer raises an objection, which I seek to overcome
  4. While I am able to handle customer service over phone/email, I intend to achieve the same for in-person customers
  5. I intend to improve my score on customer satisfaction surveys by at least 10% in this quarter

10. Growth and development phrases

Finally, these self-appraisal comments can help you highlight your growth plans towards your professional development and impact on the organization.

Positive self appraisal comments

  1. I set personal growth plans every month to ensure a healthy balance
  2. I have taken 2 trainings in the past quarter
  3. I have a clear 5 year vision for my career and am taking ‘abc’ steps towards it
  4. By the end of the year, I plan to complete 5 trainings in my domain
  5. I believe learning and development is integral to success

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. I sometimes find it difficult to make time to upskill myself
  2. In this quarter, I will try to take up at least two courses on technical skills
  3. I struggle to identify the right courses for my skill set
  4. I tend to leave trainings in between occasionally
  5. In this quarter, I will focus on creating a professional development plan for myself

Self appraisal template 

With a broad understanding of the more than 100+ self appraisal comments that you can use as a part of your self evaluation process, let’s move to this concluding section. Here, we will focus on sharing a few templates that employees can use to articulate their performance in an effective manner. 

The self evaluation phrases mentioned above can be added at the right places in these templates to give a holistic picture of one’s performance. A few things to focus on include:

  • What you did
  • What was the result
  • What was the overall impact
  • What were your learnings
  • What are some areas of improvement

Template 1: Positive impact

In the last <performance period>, I have successfully <activity/ initiative undertaken> which led to <tangible impact (metrics)> for the organization. 

My focus was on <a detailed view of everything that was done> which resulted in <accomplishments>. 

Overall, I believe that I have been able to create an impact by achieving <top 3 achievements> and seek to amplify the same in the future. 

Template 2: Areas of improvement

I believe that the last <performance period> has been full of learning and development for me. 

While I was able to <quick snapshot of achievements>, I acknowledge that I need to pay attention to <areas of improvement>. 

I believe that this focus will help me <intended outcome for improvement>. 

Towards this, I will ensure that I consistently work towards <improvement plan (courses, behavioral changes)> to achieve <SMART goal>. 

Wrapping Up

That said, self appraisal is an extremely crucial step of performance review. As a manager you must encourage your team members to provide honest reflection on their performance without being afraid of any negative consequences. Apart from providing the self appraisal comments mentioned above, you can also use assessment tools to make self appraisal a common practice within the organization. 

Custom Pulse Surveys by SuperBeings can help you with understanding their needs and help you support them better. If interested, book a free demo today.

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Employee Self Assessment: How to write a great one

150+ performance review phrases for managers

How to use custom pulse surveys to enhance employee experience

min read

Employee Self Assessment: How to Write a Great One

Holistic performance reviews are integral for any organization that seeks to create a high performance culture. However, the nature of performance appraisals has undergone significant transformation with a focus on 360 feedback and review. 

One of the key pillars for the same is employee self assessment and self appraisal. Through the course of this article, we will share with you why self assessment is important and how you, as a manager, can help your employees get it right to facilitate maximum impact. 

Decoding the meaning and importance of self assessment

As the name suggests, employee self assessment or self reflection is the practice or process where employees reflect on and assess their performance over a period of time to identify accomplishments, development areas and other performance aspects

The aim of self assessment is to get the employees’ view of their performance and add the information and data to manager and peer feedback. This can enable organizations to get a holistic understanding of the employee performance and gauge the overall contribution, some of which might be invisible from a macro view. Here are a few reasons why employee self assessment as a tool for performance review makes sense for growing organization:

  • Understand employee’s side of the performance story on what has been their greatest contribution, blockers, development areas, etc. 
  • Gauge aspirations of the employees to align OKRs and engagement plans to facilitate high levels of performance
  • Enable employees to reflect on their contribution as well as challenges faced by them to get an understanding of where they stand in the overall organizational vision
  • Help managers gauge employee strengths and identify accomplishments that may not be overtly visible
  • Empower managers to bridge the gap between their perception of the employee performance and the self reflection of the employee 

When is the ideal time for employee self assessment?

With the rise of continuous performance management and regular review and appraisal, your self assessment process should follow a similar approach. 

Instead of pushing employees to assess and reflect on their performance at the end of the year, you should encourage them to conduct regular self assessment

On one hand, regular and continuous performance linked self appraisal by employees will ensure that no part of their performance goes unnoticed. On the other hand, it will constantly give them a chance to reflect on their performance and improve on the development areas on the go, instead of waiting for the year end. Invariably, they will embark on the path of development and improvement at an accelerated pace. 

Here, if you leverage employee pulse surveys which are short and frequent in nature, you can ensure consistent and continuous self reflection from employees. With as frequent as one question a day, you can encourage your employees to build a culture of performance-oriented self assessment. 

How can employees get self assessment right

With self assessment and reflection being a fairly new practice to performance management, many organizations and employees struggle with getting it right. 

While some believe that employees might see it as a chance to explain their bad performance, others believe that it might end up biasing the manager’s perspective. 

However, when done right, employee self assessment can be an extremely powerful tool to facilitate a high performance culture. Here are a few tips to get your employees conduct performance self assessment the right way:

1. Be open and honest

Encourage your employees to be open and honest. Employees must not see self assessment as a place for self aggrandizing in the hope of a better rating, rather an honest assessment of one’s performance. 

For self evaluation to be effective, your employees need to reflect on their performance without the worry of being penalized for identifying areas of development and improvement 

It is important to not see self assessment as the sole foundation for promotions and appraisals, but rather as a journey towards growth. 

2. Reflect on the OKRs

Next, persuade your employees to reflect on their OKR performance. The idea is not only to assess what has been achieved with OKR grading. It should also include reflections from OKRs about the possible enablers and blockers to further refine them for the next performance period. The employee must be guided to reflect on what helped achieve the OKRs and what other support is required as well as what he or she would personally like to work towards. 

Download: Free OKR grading template

3. Incorporate feedback from managers and peers

Third, when self assessing for performance review, employees must incorporate feedback from their conversations with managers and peers. If your organization has a culture of regular 1:1s, this will be very easy for your workforce. The idea here is to motivate your employees to reflect on what feedback they have been able to gauge and whether or not according to them their performance is a reflection of the same. 360 degree feedback can also be a helpful tool for employees to understand all aspects of their performance.

Factors like what did the manager praise about their performance or what did a coworker thank them for are very important for self assessment. 

Read: Top 50 1:1 meeting questions for great managers

4. Identify challenges and opportunities

Finally, as a part of performance review self assessment, employees need to reflect on the challenges and opportunities, both internal and external. Internally, they need to assess their attributes, skill sets and aspirations and align them with the expectations to gauge their level of performance. Similarly, external factors like resources, team support and their impact on performance needs to be documented. 

Best practices to write employee self assessment

When you share these above mentioned tips with your team members, they are bound to ask questions about the best practices for writing or filling up self assessment surveys in the most effective way. We have you covered for that as well. Here are a few quick tips to help your employees write effective self assessment:

  • Be focused and get to the point of reflecting on your performance quickly
  • Do not shy away from appreciating or praising yourself, be an advocate for yourself
  • Illustrate your USP as a part of your team i.e. be specific about what sets you apart
  • Clearly highlight your contribution — towards a project, to overall team work, etc.
  • Use figures and data wherever possible
  • Highlight the impact of your work, it could be in the form of more sales, stronger pipeline, etc. depending on your role
  • Reflect on your OKRs to see what you were able to achieve and what you couldn’t, document the reasons
  • Clearly mention your development areas, it will help your managers see that you are open to suggestions

Read: How to go from performance management to employee development 

Employee self assessment questions and templates

If you look at these best practices closely, you will realize that the key to writing effective self assessment also lies in the questions that you ask. 

Simply asking an open ended question like reflecting on your performance will seldom yield any substantial responses, mainly because your team members will struggle with starting their answers

Therefore, we have compiled a list of questions and potential answer prompts/ templates to help you make self assessment a part of your performance review process effectively.

Top 10 self appraisal questions

  1. What are the key responsibilities you have taken up in the past <performance period>?
  2. How would you describe your performance in the said period?
  3. What have been your greatest accomplishments?
  4. What are the top 3 skills that have helped you excel professionally?
  5. What are a few skills that you would like to work on in the next 3-6 months?
  6. Have your goals changed over the past <performance period>? If yes, how?
  7. Have you been able to achieve your set goals?
  8. How do you plan to achieve your goals for the next <performance period>?
  9. What are some development areas that you have identified for yourself in the past <performance period>?
  10. How would achieving your goals impact your professional journey as well as the organization?
Also read: 150+ useful performance review phrases to start using today

Top 10 employee self assessment answer prompts

  1. I have been able to increase sales by x%
  2. I have maintained a response time of 24 hours for all stakeholders
  3. I helped and supported the efforts of an external team to help them reach their targets 
  4. I appraise my team members of my targets and updates on a weekly basis
  5. I exceeded my target by y%
  6. I believe I would benefit from <improvement area>
  7. In the coming months, I would like to focus more on <skills> to ensure <impact>
  8. I would like to do more of <development area>
  9. I believe refining my <development area> will help me leverage my <strength> better
  10. I wish to achieve <goal> and would work towards <development area> for the same

Role of managers in facilitating effective employee self assessment

Ensuring impact with self assessment is not only dependent on your team members. There are several ways in which managers of an organization can help build a culture of effective self evaluation. 

Create an open culture where employee self reflection does not become the sole tool to penalize or promote employees, see it as an extended glimpse of performance
  • Encourage your team members to reflect on their performance without the fear of it being used against them
  • Provide constant and regular feedback to enable employees to reflect on their performance in real time
  • Use the right tools to make employee self assessment a common practice across the organization
  • Do not comment on the self assessment for any employee as it being correct or incorrect
  • Create a dialogue around the self evaluation to understand the employee better and deliberate on each point, don’t assume

Wrapping up

As we come to an end, it is clear that employee self assessments are an integral part of performance reviews and if conducted in the right manner have the potential to drive a high performing culture. However, we understand that administering and facilitating participation for self assessment can be daunting, especially for a growing organization. 

Fortunately, custom pulse surveys by SuperBeings with automated sending and reminders, along with NLP based sentiment analysis can take care of the same for you. If interested, book a free demo today to learn more. 

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How 360 degree feedback can help managers

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150+ Helpful Performance Review Phrases for Managers

Reviews can be overwhelming for those giving it as well as those receiving it. 

As a manager, you need to ensure that the performance review phrases and comments you use create the delicate balance between providing critical feedback covering areas of improvement and ensuring a positive attitude to motivate the employees

To make the entire process effective, we have compiled a list of 150+ performance review phrases and captions that you can use with a list of phrases to avoid and best practices for providing reviews on areas of improvement. 

How to use performance review phrases 

Before we jump onto the review phrase examples that you could use, let’s discuss how you should use them to ensure maximum efficacy.

  • Don’t use generic phrases or buzzwords for all performance reviews
  • Make the reviews personalized for each employee
  • Add context or quantify the review phrases with information and data points relevant to the employee
  • Use performance phrases that are context specific 
  • Leverage performance review phrases to identify key behaviors for each segment of performance appraisal

Read: Top 10 performance review tips for managers that actually work

Which performance review phrases should you avoid 

While the intent of employee review phrases is to provide appropriate feedback to the employees, there are certain practices and comments that you should avoid. Often, using such phrases will dilute the impact of your conversation. To ensure high levels of effectiveness, you should avoid:

1. Being vague

Steer away from using cliched review phrases which don’t have any substance or communicate impact like ‘Mr. A is an excellent communicator’

This is a generic statement. You should rather use phrases that add value to the statement like ‘Mr. A doesn’t shy away from asking questions in case he has doubts about the conversation.’

2. Comparing two colleagues

You need to ensure that your performance review phrases do not hint on any level of comparison between two employees.

Avoid statements like, ‘Ms. P was able to close 10 deals in 6 months, however, you closed only 6.’

3. Being absolute

On whichever side of the spectrum your performance review falls, ensure that your phrases are not absolute. Put simply, you should stay away from comments that include the terms Always/Never. Even if you want to show incidence of more than one time, use terms like seldom/frequently. 

For instance, avoid phrases like, ‘Mr. Q never speaks up during meetings.’

4. Humiliating or downgrading the employees

The intent of using performance review phrases is to ensure that you are able to communicate your feedback in the most meaningful manner

Using statements that humiliate or look down upon the employees defeats the purpose. Ensure that your statements have a constructive tone to them.

It is best to negate statements like, ‘Ms. L is the worst person on the team, she can never get anything right.’

5. Being uncertain

Finally, be very firm and sure of the performance review phrases you use. 

Terms like maybe, I am not sure, etc. will downplay the impact because the employee will get a sense of your uncertainty and may not take the feedback very seriously

Avoid using phrases like ‘I think Mr. G has been outperforming his targets for the last 3 months.’

How to provide reviews on areas of improvements

Not all instances where you will use performance review phrases will be completely positive in nature. Rather, there will be multiple instances when you will have to talk about the areas of improvement for your employees if you really want to see them grow. However, delivering reviews on the latter can be overwhelming. Fortunately, the following tips can help you be well prepared for it.

1. Be specific

Don’t throw random generic statements when you want to speak of areas of improvement. It may seem a good way to avoid confrontation, but you will end up not yielding any impact. 

For instance, instead of saying, ‘You did not perform well’, use statements like ‘Your performance in the last project was not upto the mark due to several missed deadlines’

2. Be regular

Next, if you are providing review or feedback for areas of improvement, try to make it as soon as possible, once you identify the challenge. The sooner you share the review, the more relevant it will be. 

For instance, saying, ‘Mr. X did not meet sales targets in the first quarter’ when you are sitting in the last quarter will not yield much impact. 

3. Try to not get personal

Finally, ensure that the performance review phrases you use do not come across as a personal attack on your employees. They should focus on the behavior or attribute you wish to talk about and not the person specifically. 

For instance, instead of commentating ‘You are not serious about your work’ use statements like ‘Your performance in the last quarter indicates a lack of taking ownership’

150+ useful performance review phrases 

Let’s quickly walk through the top 150+ performance review phrases that you can use for performance management and feedback for your employees. We have categorized them under specific performance aspects to make them easier to comprehend. 

1) Quality Of Work Performance Review Phrases

You can use these phrases to describe your assessment of whether or not the quality of work has been as per company standards. 

Generally, quality of work is intrinsically linked to high levels of motivation, commitment and productivity

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Has an exceptional attention to detail
  2. Consistently follows up and prevents work from falling through cracks
  3. Work is well researched and articulated
  4. Double checks the work before submitting
  5. Maintains a proper plan to ensure nothing is missed

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. More focus is needed to ensure greater accuracy
  2. Has been inconsistent in the quality of work delivered
  3. Needs to put more effort into producing reports that are error free
  4. Doesn’t follow an established process of completion and checking of work

2) Job Knowledge Performance Review Phrases

Every role or job comes with a set of expectations and responsibilities. If an employee is foggy on this understanding, chances are high that he or she will be unable to deliver as per expectations.

Clear job knowledge will help employees set clear expectations of themselves and ensure effective performance  

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Has been able to translate strategy into results
  2. Is able to address organizational challenges with technical knowledge
  3. Was able to yield 10% higher sales by leveraging new techniques
  4. Keen to upskill in the domain of operation
  5. Understands the changing job requirements and is willing to adapt

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Is not able to meet changing market expectations
  2. Has not been willing to take on opportunities to learn new skills required
  3. Unable to provide technical solutions to the problems at hand
  4. Is unsure of the skills required for the job

3) Attention To Detail Performance Review Phrases

Attention to detail is a subset of quality of work and is critical for most roles.

Employees that have high levels of attention to detail are often more proactive and deliver error free work

On the other hand, a lack of the same leads to a high number of inaccuracies.

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Displays high levels of patience
  2. Is highly organized and ensures clarification at every stage
  3. Produces work that requires minimal iterations
  4. Maintains a checklist to ensure everything is delivered on time
  5. Undertakes multiple rounds of proofreading before delivery

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Delivers unreliable or incomplete output frequently
  2. Tries to focus on multiple projects at once
  3. Tends to overlook requirements in an attempt to complete work on time
  4. Doesn’t spend adequate time on details

4) Dependability Performance Review Phrases

As a performance component, dependability refers to the degree to which you can rely upon your employees to deliver quality work consistently and put in extra effort if the need arises 

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Displays high level of performance every day
  2. Has shown time and again that he/she can be counted on during uncertain times
  3. Doesn’t shy away from commitment to handle multiple projects
  4. Doesn’t complain if the need arises to put in extra hours at times
  5. Ensures high quality of work consistently

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Is seen struggling with keeping up with deadlines
  2. Rarely delivers what is agreed upon
  3. Tends to shift ownership to others 
  4. Takes leave of absence without prior intimation regularly

5) Initiative Performance Review Phrases

Initiative is an attribute that is exhibited by only a few employees who take ownership of getting things done without being asked to. 

Initiative is generally found among employees that feel a sense of affinity towards the vision and values of the organization and seek to make an impact

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Proactively sets goals and OKRs for oneself
  2. Participates in activities that goes beyond KRA
  3. Often tries to engage in areas to deliver more value
  4. Constantly takes ownership of new projects and assignments
  5. Is willing to go out of the way to help others

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Requires constant reminders and supervision
  2. Resists taking on new responsibilities and participating in activities
  3. Unwilling to set goals and add value to projects
  4. Barely completes the work allotted to him/her

Read: How often should you conduct performance reviews

6) Teamwork and Collaboration Performance Review Phrases 

When you are working in an organization, you seldom work in silos. You often have to collaborate, co-create and collectively work with your team members towards a shared goal. An employee can be a great individual contributor but may not excel in teamwork. However, high levels of teamwork and collaboration lead to greater engagement, commitment and a positive culture. 

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Was active in seeking inputs from all team members during the last project
  2. Has shown proficiency in delegating tasks and following up
  3. Has been actively participating in all brainstorming sessions
  4. Facilitates unity in the team by promoting open communication 
  5. Has built a rapport with everyone in the team

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Has a poor record of showing up for team meetings
  2. Does not willingly share ideas or feedback with others in the team
  3. Rarely encourages colleagues and is less than willing to seek feedback
  4. Is unable to delegate work in an effective manner

7) Productivity Performance Review Phrases

Productivity refers to the output an employee is able to deliver, both in terms of quality and quantity. Employees that show high levels of productivity are an asset to the organization. Providing regular performance feedback on productivity can enhance the same by making employees aware about the gaps. 

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Constantly delivers on or before time
  2. Has been instrumental in meeting targets in the last quarter
  3. Ensures minimal distractions to deliver volumes of high quality work
  4. Focuses on using tools and techniques to work in a smart way
  5. Achieved sales target 5 days ahead of time for the last month

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Has been asking for extensions on deadlines
  2. Unable to focus attention on work for a long time, leading to below average delivery
  3. Lacks organizational skills leading to little progress in productivity
  4. Has shown reluctance to work on new projects

8) Attendance Performance Review Phrases

While it is true that employees must be given adequate time off, taking leave of absence very frequently and without prior notice can impact an organization in more than one way.

Attendance is not limited to showing up at work, but also permeates to meetings, sessions and learning initiatives. It is an overt display of commitment and engagement and low levels can be an indication of potential attrition

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Consistently shows up for meetings on time
  2. Doesn’t take unnecessary breaks during work hours
  3. Informs about time off well in advance
  4. Ensures things are managed well with Out Of Office (OOO) automatic emails when not available
  5. Doesn’t make others wait for a pre-scheduled meeting

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Shows up late or is a no show during workshops
  2. Does not take initiative to respond to meeting invites
  3. Spends excessive time on non-productive things during work hours
  4. Extends meetings unnecessarily

9) Communication Performance Review Phrases

Poor communication among employees can lead to misunderstanding, high stress, poor company morale and much more. On the flip side, streamlined communication results in greater engagement and a better experience. Constant feedback on communication can help prevent instances of miscommunication and clarity at all levels.

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Is able to communicate his/her ideas in a concise yet informative manner
  2. Consistently asks questions in case there is any confusion
  3. Ensures the every point he/she makes is relevant and well articulated
  4. Doesn’t shy away from starting a conversation, especially on a difficult topic
  5. Is not afraid of saying “let me get back to you”, when he/she is not sure of the answer

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Has been observed using language that is not welcome by others
  2. Is unwilling to listen to others/ take feedback
  3. Avoids meaningful conversations
  4. Is often verbose and written communication is not clear

10) Integrity Performance Review Phrases

Employees with high levels of integrity often align with strong moral values and believe in ethical business practices. 

Guiding integrity through performance review statements can help build an attractive and reputable employer brand for the organization

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Ensures that commitment is adhered to
  2. Makes an effort to do what is right
  3. Does not take the easy way out
  4. Maintains a high level of discipline, confidentiality and ethics at work
  5. Follows business principles diligently

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Indulges in office gossip
  2. Doesn’t give in 100% if left unsupervised
  3. Tries to pin blame on others and makes comments in the process
  4. Is found breaking rules on more than one occasion 

11) Leadership Performance Review Phrases

Leadership as a quality is integral for your employees if you seek to build a healthy succession pipeline

Reviews on leadership capabilities can help budding leaders build the right skills, competencies and attitudes to take up new roles and positions without any challenge. 

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Successfully led the last team project and recorded 15% increase in sales
  2. Provides meaningful feedback to peers and colleagues with clear actions
  3. Deals with people with empathy and compassion
  4. Encourages team members to unlock full potential
  5. Helps others when they are stuck in work 

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Rarely shows appreciation or acknowledges others
  2. Doesn’t set a positive and authentic example for others
  3. Creates a culture of shifting accountability and fear
  4. Lacks the willingness and skills to delegate work

Read: Top 7 tips to improve leadership effectiveness 

12) Problem Solving Performance Review Phrases

Problem solving is one of the most critical skills for the 21st century. Employees no longer have to just undertake repetitive tasks, but have to indulge in critical thinking to address real world challenges. 

Creating a culture of problem solving can help you ensure resilience and business continuity even during uncertainty and ambiguity

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Proactively suggests new and innovative solutions to problems
  2. Always comes with a few solutions to the management when a challenge arises
  3. Views problems as opportunities 
  4. Helped address a customer complaint leading to 10% increase in customer stickiness
  5. Is good at preempting and evaluating challenges

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Rarely comes up with ideas or suggestions during brainstorming sessions
  2. Sticks to the processes and practices and shies away from experimentation
  3. Fails to comprehensively understand the problem
  4. Is hesitant to change the conventional flow of processes and work

13) Adaptability Performance Review Phrases

Surrounded by uncertain market conditions, employees need to display high levels of adaptability. Be it picking up new skills, or pivoting priorities as the need arises, adaptability is highly critical today. Consistent feedback on adaptability can help employees gauge the importance of this quality and focus on developing the same. 

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Is willing to adjust priorities, deadlines based on changed realities
  2. Thinks on the feet and quickly responds to a new challenge
  3. Believes change can lead to better outcomes
  4. Upskilled himself/herself in 3 months to deliver the last project successfully
  5. Makes conscious effort to remain agile

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Is reluctant to move out of the comfort zone
  2. Feels overwhelmed when asked to adjust priorities and take on new work
  3. Unable to maintain calm and composure when uncertainty strikes
  4. Rarely attends sessions on change management

14) Flexibility Performance Review Phrases

Close to adaptability lies the quality of flexibility to describe employees who are not rigid and set in their own ways. They are open to new ideas and are willing to accommodate in case the need arises.

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Has a positive attitude when there is a need to accommodate or change
  2. Shows proactiveness in case of urgent changes 
  3. Is willing to embrace change
  4. Adjusts well with new responsibilities and duties
  5. Is willing to adjust when others request

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Doesn’t move away from what he/she believes is right
  2. Is not willing to view things from others’ point of view
  3. Rarely helps others if there will be no impact on him/her
  4. Unwilling to work according to schedules of others

15) Adherence To Policy Performance Review Phrases

While it is important to innovate and think out of the box, a certain level of adherence and compliance to policies and practices is integral for a thriving culture. For instance, certain HR policies, POSH policy, etc. need to be adhered to, to ensure the maintenance of a professional decorum and create a safe workspace for everyone. 

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Respects and follows all policies set by the company
  2. Ensures that any instance of poor compliance is reported immediately
  3. Is vocal about commitment to policies
  4. Has deep knowledge about the content and intent of each policy
  5. Makes an effort to engage in different committees, initiatives to further the policy impact

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Is unaware about the policies that exist in the organization
  2. Doesn’t make an effort to attend workshops/sessions organized on key policies
  3. Doesn’t actively make an effort to adhere to policies
  4. Dismisses colleagues when they quote policies to him/her

16) Achievements Performance Review Phrases

Though not exactly a performance parameter, it is very important to get in line performance review phrases that talk about achievements of the employees. While positive phrases can reinforce the achievements, areas of improvement can help reach the desired levels. 

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Ended the last quarter with 20% more sales than the previous one
  2. Saved $1 Million for the company by leveraging automation tools
  3. Outperformed other teams by exceeding the target by 15%
  4. Increased customer stickiness by 15% by reducing complaint resolution time to 24 hours
  5. Increased organic traffic on the website by 35% leveraging the right SEO techniques

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Missed meeting the target for last month by 5%
  2. Unable to meet deadlines because of lack of organization
  3. Finds it difficult to deliver error free work consistently
  4. Needs to focus on better social media engagement to increase organic traffic

17) Professionalism Performance Review Phrases

Despite the rise of a casual work culture, especially with the advent of remote work, there is a need to maintain a level of professionalism to ensure the right culture. Performance review phrases on professionalism can help employees understand what is desirable and how it ultimately impacts productivity, performance, retention and engagement at large.

Phrases to indicate performance is acceptable or exceeds expectation

  1. Has high levels of integrity and work ethic
  2. Ensure communication in a professional way without using abbreviations, emojis, etc.
  3. Doesn’t get worked up and shows it to others even under pressure
  4. Dresses according to the need of the workplace
  5. Converses in a polite yet convincing manner

Phrases that indicate need for improvement

  1. Has a hard time keeping personal life away from work
  2. Sometimes talks to colleagues in a manner that is considered offensive
  3. Doesn’t maintain workplace hygiene
  4. Is often dressed in casual clothes which don’t gel well with the nature of the setting

Suggested Reading

Performance review tips for managers

When and how frequently to conduct performance review

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