I received this email from an HR Manager recently: Evaluating employees’ performance and preparing appraisal reports is one of my responsibilities. When I take part in appraisal meetings, I am required to give feedback on employees’ attitude, work, performance, etc. Very often I do not get appropriate words/phrases to express my comments. Could you please discuss the language of appraisal feedback in your column?
An appraisal is a formal assessment of an employee’s performance over a period of time. During an appraisal with the higher-ups in an organisation, an employee is required to explain to them about their work, skills, performance and achievement, and the employee receives both positive and negative feedback from the members.
Result-oriented employers or managers think positively and show interest in maintaining a good relationship with employees and use positive language while giving feedback. The purpose of giving positive feedback in an appraisal is to help employees realise their strengths and limitations and to motivate them. By using positive language, even negative aspects can be highlighted without hurting or discouraging the employee. Here are some positive words/phrases:
Positive verbs: accomplishes, achieves, articulates, aspires, asserts, assigns, builds, carries out, challenges, completes, considers, contributes, cooperates, coordinates, delegates, demonstrates, determines, develops, directs, discusses, displays, disseminates, distinguishes, employs, encourages, enhances, establishes, evaluates, excels, exhibits, expresses, facilitates, focuses, follows-up, foresees, fulfills, guides, handles, helps, identifies, implements, improves, influences, initiates, inspires, interacts, interprets, investigates, knows, learns, maintains, manages, meets, motivates, negotiates, observes, optimises, organises, overcomes, oversees, participates, performs, plans, possesses, practises, prepares, prevents, processes, promotes, realises, recognises, recommends, reflects, relates, relies, represents, resolves, responds, reviews, revises, schedules, secures, shows, solves, stimulates, strengthens, strives, supervises, supports and sustains.
Positive adjectives: knowledgeable, responsible, reliable, efficient, effective, successful, cooperative, friendly, goal-oriented, committed, loyal, honest, organised, systematic, creative, interested, up-to-date, duty-conscious, punctual, proactive, reliable, resourceful and versatile.
Positive phrases: builds rapport with everyone, has an even temperament, respects peers, has positive outlook, takes initiatives, welcomes new ideas, meets deadlines, performs a variety of duties, handles situation with ease, works in harmony with colleagues, perseveres and achieves goals, gets the job done, shows interest in professional development, welcomes new ideas, handles stress well, possesses practical experience, utilises expertise, shares knowledge, stays current, radiates self-confidence, capitalises on opportunities, interacts effectively with the team, develops positive working relationships and encourages participation.