40 Feedback Phrases That Help Employees Feel Empowered

By Michael Heller

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Gone are the days of the annual performance review. There will be no more single, annual meetings with interrogations about how you're doing and what you can do better. Instead, constant and continuous feedback is becoming the trend for two main reasons: Employees (and employers) dread harsh, critical feedback and receiving feedback once a year does nothing to promote goals or monitor progress.

Employees now want a continuous flow of feedback and need to know their actions have an impact on the company's goals. Come on, we all know everyone likes knowing their work is meaningful. But sometimes, leaders lose focus and get caught up in the ends without thinking about the means. Sending off negative overtones, disappointment and overall bad vibes will do nothing to further your agenda.

Switch it up – take charge of the conversation and use the opportunity to reinforce how important the employee is to the company. By adding continuous feedback through iRevü, help them understand what they’ve done well, why they’ve struggled and how they can continue to grow through positive reinforcement. Instead of applying critical or negative feedback, create goals for the employee to strive for. Use these 40 simple performance review phrases watch how the conversation molds to an improvement perspective:

Leadership

Positive reinforcement phrases:

[Employee Name]…

  • Demonstrates clear leadership abilities by always being on top of projects, whether they’re needed ASAP or down the line.
  • Crushes company time-scheduling expectations – is very punctual.
  • Juggles multiple tasks like a pro.
  • Manages daily tasks with ease.
  • Leads group projects with precision.

Goals:

[Employee Name], going forward we should…

  • Work ahead by setting up a time schedule for future project completion.
  • Increase punctuality by complying with break time rules.
  • Share workloads by collaborating with co-workers.
  • Organize a list of extra tasks to work on once regular work is completed.
  • Include co-workers in group management process to promote group cohesion.

Reliability

Positive reinforcement phrases:

[Employee Name]…

  • Meets expectations of position qualifications.
  • Is always available when needed.
  • Asks for extra work on their own.
  • Never misses a deadline.
  • Always comes to work on time/when scheduled.

Goals:

[Employee Name], going forward we should…

  • Set guidelines and step-by-step instructions to help identify and understand what the job requirements are.
  • Reduce the workload to prioritize essential tasks and projects.
  • Introduce a series of extra tasks to be completed should priority tasks and projects be completed ahead of schedule.
  • Use a time management system to help push projects along faster.
  • Map out a new time schedule that better suits employee needs.

Accountability

Positive reinforcement phrases:

[Employee Name]…

  • Takes their position seriously.
  • Immediately owns up to errors and mistakes.
  • Corrects errors and mistakes cordially and in a professional manner.
  • Maintains responsibility for tasks, projects and other job-related work.
  • Communicates important information effectively with clients.

Goals:

[Employee Name], going forward we should…

  • Incorporate training sessions to help improve understanding of job requirements.
  • Monitor and track issues to better prepare for any future errors and mistakes (should they occur).
  • Set up an adjustable response system to manage errors and mistakes.
  • Establish a checklist to help organize and tackle individual tasks.
  • Create a series of regular recommendations or topics to help both sides improve communications.

Productivity

Positive reinforcement phrases:

[Employee Name]…

  • Produces projects and content within cost-efficient timeframes.
  • Creates well-designed projects and content.
  • Organizes projects and content effectively.
  • Works diligently on tasks – is always busy.
  • Flows through project lists easily.

Goals:

[Employee Name], going forward we should…

  • Balance time management with productivity through an organized time schedule.
  • Educate on how to use different or new design and creation methods.
  • Coordinate how to effectively sort projects and content by level of importance.
  • Set up productivity lists to check off as projects are completed.
  • Include short, weekly check-ins to monitor productivity progress and push direction for areas of improvement.

The emphasis on using the “we” mindset is crucial when setting goals with an employee. It creates a back-and-forth that opens feedback and turns it into a conversation. Positive reinforcement and goal-setting, when delivered correctly with an open mind, help employees and managers take the blame game out of performance reviews and open the conversation up as a dialogue between respected equals. Help your employees get the feedback they need in order to succeed.

About Michael Heller:

Michael Heller has 20+ years of experience in strategic human resources, talent management and technology consulting. As an HR executive at Washington Consulting, Digital Management and Deltek, Michael led teams to develop innovative human capital management programs and initiatives.

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