How to Word Performance Reviews

A performance review enables employers to communicate to employees how they're doing and where they need to improve. Many companies base employee promotions and raises on performance reviews. This makes the wording of the review quite important. Learn how you can write an effective performance review for your employees.

Design a performance review form specific to duties performed by the employees you will be reviewing. The form should include a list of duties written clearly and detailing exactly what is expected of your employee. Do not use ambiguous phrases that leave doubt in your employee's mind about what you expect of him.

Add comments to each duty section of your employee's performance review. Write in the third person present tense and state clearly the employee's performance in each of these duties, detailing both positive and negative behaviors.

Suggest areas for improvement and write them out on the performance review worksheet. Don't simply state needs improvement. "Bob needs improvement" isn't constructive and it doesn't really tell Bob what he should be improving. "Bob lack communication skills with his co-workers" is more to the point. Now Bob knows what to work on. Suggest one or two concrete ways Bob can do this.

Write a summary of the review that states succinctly what you've discussed during the performance review, summarizing each of the issues and any solutions you've discussed with your employee.

Be careful about word choice. Never use words like "lazy" or "useless" in reference to an employee. You can state that you feel your employees is "not as productive as he is capable of being." Avoid racial slurs and sexist statements. You should word your performance reviews using the same language for each employee.