Creative Evaluation Comments for Poor Performance

by Kenya Lucas

Many managers find giving employees feedback on areas they need to improve intimidating. Yet mistakes are common in the workplace -- and most poor performance can be easily improved. Use creative communication skills to make the situation less intimidating for both you and your employee. Ultimately, your evaluation comments will promote positive results, including a stronger working relationship.

Chronic Lateness

When an employee falls into a cycle of tardiness, it’s hard to get her out of it. Further, failing to enforce your on-time policy sets the stage for other workers to find it acceptable to be late. Creatively focus evaluation comments on prevention. For instance, “Jennifer, you are a very important part of our team. I‘ve noticed that over the last few weeks you’ve been late three times. I need to be able to count on you -- and that means having you here on time. I would be glad to share some time-management tips so we can start to improve your arrival time.”

Bad Customer Service

Treating your customers well is a cornerstone of business. When an employee is rude to your clients, it interferes with your company’s public perception and profits. Creative communication assists you with this challenge because your evaluation focuses on interpersonal issues. Focus on specific events and avoid attacking a staff member’s character. An example is “Bob, I happened to overhear one of your sales calls yesterday. I noticed that some of your word choices could be perceived as terse by certain customers. I think we should do some telephone role playing to avoid upsetting customers.”

Poor Team Player

Even your best employee can find it challenging to perform on a team. In fact, 2013 survey research from the University of Phoenix found that 84 percent of adult employees view teamwork as difficult. It’s important, however, to foster cooperation and solid performance in this workplace situation. Offer the following creative evaluation comment: “You get along with pretty much all of your co-workers, Sarah, but I have received feedback that, many times, there is conflict when you work with others on a team. I want us to work together to figure out what the challenges might be and to tackle this problem.”

Under Sales Quota

In some work situations, each of your staff members must meet a quota. Failing to do so creates problems for them and for you. Do not threaten or issue blame in your evaluation strategy. Instead, focus on motivating the employee. For example, “We are all extremely committed to hitting our sales targets for the week. I have noticed your dedication has not translated into the figures we’d hope for. I believe there’s room for you to improve -- and I want to partner with you to improve your sales performance.”

About the Author

Kenya Lucas has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in “Anthropology & Medicine,” “New Directions for Evaluation,” “Psychology of Women Quarterly” and “Journal of the Grant Professionals Association.” She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University and Brown University.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images