Language, tone and the way you phrase sentences all help determine the effectiveness of a performance evaluation. Whether your aim is to reward or correct behaviour, the phrases you use can encourage an open dialogue and set the stage for continued employee growth and development. For this reason, it is important not only to use effective phrases yourself, but also to ensure that anyone who conducts performance evaluations, including peers, co-workers and supervisors, includes them is any evaluation dialogue.
In order to create and use effective phrases, it is essential to understand their meaning. By definition, a phrase is part of a sentence that starts, but does not complete a full thought. As this relates to phrases in performance evaluations, effective phrases often act as adjectives, or words that will describe or modify the remainder of your sentence. For example, "specialised knowledge," "works with honesty and integrity" and "level of professionalism" are phrases you might consider using in a performance evaluation.
The ultimate objective of a performance evaluation is growth. As such, anything you can do to achieve this objective, such as taking care to use effective phrases during the planning and execution of the evaluation, benefits you, your employee and your company. The key to effectiveness lies in combining the right phrase into a sentence that also includes the appropriate amount of detail and measurable examples. Effective phrases, no matter how many times you include them in a sentence, are clear, specific and mean something to the person with whom you are speaking.
Effective phrases feature appropriate words to convey your message. For example, adjectives that relate to attitude include dedication, loyalty, initiative and flexibility while those more appropriate for an area such quality of work include accuracy, thoroughness and productivity. In addition, effective phrases emphasise the point you are trying to make and relate directly to your point, especially important in statements involving constructive criticism. A sentence such as "You can improve work productivity by delegating administrative tasks to others" uses the phrase "improve work productivity" effectively as it emphasises and relates directly to your point.
The phrases you use during a performance evaluation will be less effective in the absence of strong supporting statements, examples and documentation. Make sure your statements are fair and accurate and focus on the facts. In addition, keep in mind that to increase the effectiveness of phrases and motivate employees, focus on those that convey a message of positive reinforcement.