Organizational Wellness

79 Performance Feedback Examples for Your Annual Reviews

Feb 7, 2023
Last Updated Jun 1, 2023

For some people, annual reviews are a dreaded part of their yearly routine. Who wants to hear about all of the ways that they need to change at work? And who wants to deliver that news? For both managers and employees, a poorly designed performance management system can be a real drag.

Luckily, performance feedback doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking process centered on negative feedback. Annual reviews, especially at companies that want to create a healthy work environment, can be some of the best opportunities to connect with employees, celebrate successes, realign priorities and expectations, recognize efforts, and appreciate a year’s worth of hard work. 

The key to all of it? Offering helpful, accurate, and actionable feedback in a professional manner. An empty “well done” or a weak checklist that deems someone’s efforts as “unsatisfactory” every year just isn’t enough if you’d really like to see your employees improve and engage at work. And engagement is an endemic issue — Gallup found that only 34% of U.S. employeesare engaged, so honing your feedback process can help you stem the tide of disengagement at your office.

These performance feedback examples will aid you managers to inspire and motivate employees to care about their work, help them find better work-life wellness, and ultimately benefit your business.

What Is Performance Feedback?

Performance feedback, also known as employee feedback, is how managers and other leaders in an organization communicate with employees about aspects of their work including productivity, engagement, and diligence. Especially when it comes to annual check-ins — where managers and employees sit down to review the last year — feedback sessions are a great way to let employees know where they stand andto set joint goals and expectations for the following year.

There are plenty of important discussions to have at annual performance reviews, for the sake of the employee andthe manager. Perhaps an employee is looking for a raise, but they haven’t met certain qualifications. Or, maybe there’s an employee who has been knocking it out of the park — a performance review is a great time to discuss what they’ve done to achieve that success and how they want to continue developing professionally. It’s also a great venue to assess workloads, ensuring teammates are only taking on a reasonable number of tasks. This helps your organization maintain work-life wellness and avoid the all-to-common costs of employee burnout. 

As you can see, while performance feedback can take many forms, it is foundational communication between managers and their employees so workers can succeed at their job. Constructive feedback fosters better relationships and higher levels of trust, and employees are 76% more engaged in high-trust offices compared to low-trust environments. This benefits the employee in their development, and it also protects your business from high turnover rates, lack of productivity, and poor company culture. 


Phrases Managers Can Use During Performance Reviews

Providing employees with useful feedback is a core aspect of management, as it can have a huge impact on people’s performance, engagement, and willingness to improve. But even experienced leaders may struggle with delivering difficult feedback, or finding the best and most professional way to offer praise.

Every employee is a blend of strengths and weaknesses that influence how they work, and managers have to find the best ways to thoughtfully provide feedback, both positive and negative. The good news is, most people (92%) appreciate feedback when it’s appropriately delivered, even if it is in the form of criticism. This makes mastering the phrasing and language that you use during annual reviews an essential skill for managers if they want to actually help their employees succeed. 

For positive behaviors and activities, consider using performance review phrases like:

  • “You excel at [action], and I would love to continue seeing that from you.”
  • “I’ve received positive feedback when you [performed this action] and it really helped the team [result].”

The first helps identify a positive action and hone in on the specifics. Get detailed with this kind of feedback so they understand why this behavior is desirable and set the expectation that you want this behavior to continue.

The second is useful when you have feedback from a third party, including a peer from their team, another leader, or even a client or customer. This extra validation can encourage similar behavior, and touching on the positive results is also key to reminding them their work matters.

For negative behaviors (or lack of preferred behaviors and results), you could use phrases like:

  • “To meet expectations and your goals, stop [action] because it results in [consequence].”
  • “I encourage you to start [action] because it will help you [intended result].”

This first phrase is useful when you want to highlight a negative behavior that needs to stop while justifying your instruction. Sometimes, people aren’t even aware that they are doing something undesirable, so explaining why you’re giving a recommendation provides the employee a better chance of understanding an issue at hand..

For the second phrase, you’ll find it helpful when the employee isn’t necessarily doing something wrong, but they do need to startdoing something that would benefit their workflow, teamwork, or attitude. This phrasing is also a great way of reframing the first critique: Instead of demanding an employee stop doing something, you can encourage them to start something else. For example, if you want an employee to stop taking unexpected long lunches, you can ask them to start planning for long lunch breaks and communicating those schedule updates with you.

Examples of Performance Feedback Phrases

Now that we’ve gone over why appropriate and well-designed performance feedback is so important, it’s time to dive into the 79 performance review examples to get the most out of your employee evaluations.


Being a member of a cohesive and effective team is a big part of work-life — every company needs people who can work well with others and are willing to contribute to group efforts. Team buildingis an important part of developing functional teams, so each person needs to be actively involved and respectful for your team to maintain a positive culture while completing its goals.


  • A great team player
  • Supports others in their goals
  • Respects peers
  • Actively listens to coworkers
  • Team members can rely on them 


  • Inconsiderate towards others’ ideas and opinions
  • Tries to solve problems alone
  • Does not participate in team activities
  • Tries to take credit for teamwork
  • Commonly blames others


Your culture and environment can be completely overturned by a sour attitude, even if it’s from one source. We’ve all heard about the one rotten apple in the bunch — you don’t want your entire workforce to be negatively affected by one person’s bad attitude, gossip, or poor work ethic. Plus, when someone doesn’t care about their team, work, or contribution, this impacts the productivity of your workforce and revenue.


  • Positive attitude benefits coworkers
  • Does not let circumstances affect their attitude in the workplace
  • Attitude reflects a positive mindset toward job
  • Builds rapport and trust with coworkers
  • Actively seeks the positives in all situations


  • Negative attitude negatively affects coworkers
  • Regularly complains about work
  • Gets easily irritated
  • Takes constructive criticism poorly
  • Allows stress to overwhelm them regularly


How is the quality of the work this employee produces? Some employees will continue to produce amazing work day after day and deserve some recognition. Others may struggle to be productive, lack the skills to be at the top of their game, or lack motivation. There are plenty of potential issues, but performance improvement all starts with offering constructive feedback and finding solutions to get back on track.


  • Exceeds project expectations
  • Sets appropriate goals and works hard to achieve them
  • Always a top performer
  • Constantly wants to improve and grow
  • Takes initiative in the workplace


  • Did not meet expectations
  • Has to constantly be told what to do
  • Lacks ambition and drive to improve
  • Does not push to go beyond expectations
  • Towards the bottom of performance ratings

Communication & Interpersonal Skills

Your company culture and values are shaped by how people treat each other in the workplace, so how an employee treats and interacts with their team members (and other departments) reflects on their contribution to the organization. Some positions may offer more independence than others, but that makes any communication they do have even more impactful.


  • Builds strong relationships with peers
  • Listens to others
  • Effectively communicates difficult messages
  • Gives clear instructions
  • Makes people feel important and heard


  • Does not work well in a team environment
  • Displays a superior attitude towards others
  • Confuses others with instructions
  • Frequently interrupts others in meetings
  • Slow to respond to team communications

Problem Solving

Employees largely qualify for their jobs by being a problem-solver. Even if this isn’t an initial strength, it’s a critical skill to develop if people are to thrive in their occupations. It’s always important to grow and become a competent worker, especially when trying to create an innovative, effective, and intentional work environment.


  • Gathers all information available before finding a solution to a problem
  • Consistently creates new and unique solutions to problems
  • Clearly can explain and communicate ideas and opinions to peers
  • Thinks “outside the box” to solve problems
  • Takes initiative to find solutions


  • Lacks assertiveness when sharing ideas and opinions
  • Does not take all details into account when making decisions
  • Rushes for solutions
  • Does not come up with new creative ideas
  • Does not use all resources available to solve problems


This one is pretty cut and dry: employees need to do their work and respond to the team during work hours. Work is slower or missed entirely when employees are constantly late or simply don’t show up to work. Great attendance is an indicator of an engaged and productive employee, which is wonderful to see and appreciate during reviews. Still, about one million Americansmiss work each day because of stress alone. Any signs of absenteeism are an indicator that your employee is disengaged and may need additional support or motivation, whether they are absent because of stress or another reason. Improvement here all starts with feedback!


  • On time at the start of each day
  • Achieved perfect attendance over “x” amount of time
  • Inspires others to be prompt
  • Reliable about being at work during the set time
  • Respects others’ time by being prompt to every meeting


  • Employee is frequently late to work
  • Does not follow the company’s attendance policy
  • Lack of attendance affects coworkers
  • Commonly exceeds the max number of days off
  • Commonly returns late from work breaks

Customer Service or Client Interactions

Businesses are completely reliant on their customers and clients, which means businesses are in turn reliant on the great service offered by employees. While the initial tenor or customer or client interactions may be outside of your employees’ control, certain behaviors or habits affect how successful employees are with your clientele. This kind of feedback can directly impact business and financial objectives, and may also identify potential struggles an employee needs help with when it comes to customer service.


  • Easily communicates with all customers and clients
  • Can effectively handle difficult customers and clients
  • Has a high customer satisfaction rating
  • Stays level-headed while working with angry customers
  • Can understand what the customer wants and needs


  • Does not listen to customers
  • Does not stay calm while working with a difficult customer or client
  • Has low customer satisfaction ratings
  • Passes difficult customers on to others
  • Needs to improve efficiency when working with customer requests


You likely have some natural-born leaders in your workforce that can be nurtured and encouraged through recognitionand actionable feedback. They are ambitious and driven and need the opportunity to lead so they can develop their own skills. Managers themselves also need to be evaluated to make sure that they are fairly and ethically guiding their teams and employees. Your culture starts with your leaders since they set the tone and expectations in your departments, so their feedback is some of the most important reviews of the year.


  • Employee effectively manages and strengthens team
  • Holds their employees accountable for their performance
  • Recognizes accomplishments of employees
  • Treats team members fairly
  • Provides team with necessary resources and training


  • Treats team members with favoritism
  • Lacks communication with team members
  • Does not properly train employees
  • Fails to delegate tasks fairly

Offer Greater Support with Wellhub

Employee evaluations can feel intense at times, but remember: the goal is to bolster your employees through connection and honest communication. You want to build inclusion and wellbeing in the workplace, and that openness and helping each individual person often starts with helpful, actionable, and personalized feedback. Especially when you’ve hired the right fits for your company, your workforce wants to excel at their job. They need your support to do so, both with feedback and proper company benefits.

Talk to a wellbeing specialistto discover more ways to nurture positive behavior, create more balance in your employee’s life, and help your workforce succeed in a healthy work environment!




Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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