Phrases for employee performance

Written by gail sessoms
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Phrases for employee performance
Employee performance phrases help ensure objective, accurate appraisals. (Two office workers image by Vladimir Melnik from

Employers conduct periodic performance appraisals to evaluate employee job performance, reward excellence and provide guidance for improvement. Human resources departments, which train supervisors to conduct appraisals, often suggest objective and constructive phrases to use when writing appraisals. The phrases also help evaluators adhere to company policies concerning performance appraisals.


Employee performance phrases are basic statements worded to objectively and accurately describe the performance of job-specific duties, responsibilities and behaviours. The phrases might be partial sentences to be completed with more detailed information by evaluator. The phrases often fit into specific areas of performance, such as communication, accuracy or computer skills. For example, an evaluator might note under negotiating skills that an employee "handles confrontation with tact." Or an evaluator might rate an employee on how well he "understands how to operate office equipment."


While employers use performance appraisals as a supervisory tool, appraisals also can protect employers against liability for unfair or illegal personnel practices. Employee performance phrases help supervisors avoid using vague statements. For instance, instead of stating that an employee "performed his job poorly," the evaluator might use a performance phrase that requires him to insert specific information, such as the number of calls the employee takes per hour. Employee performance phrases protect against the use of words or phrases that are judgemental, personal or based on information unrelated to observed employee performance. Objectivity also helps the employee view the appraisal as constructive and unbiased feedback.


Using employee performance phrases simplifies the appraisal process, helps supervisors stick to the rating factors listed in the employees' job plan or description and ensures that the final product is based solely on employees' performance. The phrases also guide supervisors to supply specific and factual evaluation information that can be documented. Evaluators use the phrases to produce specific evaluative statements instead of generalisation. For instance, an evaluator would write that an employee "exceeded objectives by 10 per cent" instead of "exceeded objectives." The phrases are often worded to use in multiple constructions, such as statements about future improvement, failure to meet objectives or satisfactory performance.


Employee performance phrases provide consistency in the performance appraisal process. Individual evaluators might habitually rate too leniently or too strictly. One evaluator might rate everyone as average, while another might rate an employee based on performance in only one area. Performance phrases require evaluators to access specific areas of performance for all employees using the same criteria. For instance, when evaluating an employee's dependability, the appraisal form might list the key behaviours considered in rating all employees -- good attendance record, on time to meetings, meets deadlines and follows leave policies.

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