Secret Employee Performance Review Code Words

An employee performance review can be both nerve wracking and frustrating. A survey released by TriNet and Wakefield Research found 69% of millennial workers think the performance review process needs a facelift. Roughly 62% said they feel “blindsided” by performance reviews and 74% said they often feel they’re “in the dark” about how their managers and peers think they’re performing at work.

Do you feel the same way? The good news is, you don’t have to remain in the dark. We have some performance review tips that will help you stay ahead of the game. There are certain performance review phrases and code words you should familiarize yourself with before for your next evaluation. Here are some code words you’ll hear during an employee performance review and what they mean.

Goal attainment

You need to be able to keep up with the work. | GIPHY

Most companies have a set of expectations or key goals they expect their employees to meet. Are you keeping up the pace, exceeding expectations, or barely keeping up? Your supervisor will talk about whether your work performance is meeting the employer’s expectations. If you’re not where you should be, it’s possible your supervisor will either give you a warning or put you on probation depending on the circumstances.


Rachel From suits saying 'I'm On It"

Don’t just wait for someone else to do the work. | GIPHY

Another area your supervisor will look at is how well you respond to the needs of your team. Do you work toward quickly fixing problems or do you brush them aside and hope someone else will take care of it? Remember that people are always watching, so don’t count on getting away with doing whatever suits you. This is especially true if you manage others. Just because you’re a manager doesn’t mean your job is automatically protected.

Profit orientation

Beyonce-Divas gettin money

You need to do your job in a way that helps the company’s bottom line. | GIPHY

Are you focused on the goals of the company? Are you doing a good job at making sure your employer’s product meets standards for quality, so it can stay profitable? Your manager will assess your ability to do your job in a way that brings in money for the company. How well you do in this area shows whether you care more about your personal goals or the company.

Knowledge base

Learn as much as you can. | GIPHY

How well do you know your job? Are you a competent member of the team? If you’re not the best at your job, you should be taking steps toward getting better. That means taking advantage of training programs, signing up for professional development courses, and reading the latest industry books and websites. Always keep learning and expanding your knowledge base.


Ron from Parks and Rec ignoring work GIF

Showing up doesn’t cut it. | GIPHY

It’s not enough to show up to work and do your job. It’s also necessary to be fully present and at least somewhat excited to be there. If all you do is arrive at work, complete your assignments, and then go home as soon as it’s time, don’t expect a glowing performance review. Being engaged at work means you participate in meetings, volunteer when extra help is needed, and actively work toward helping your employer fulfill its mission.


Pinocchio 'you have potential' gif

Potential is important to their desire to keep you on. | GIPHY

If you’re not quite fitting the bill, but your boss still thinks you have something to offer, you’ll likely hear the word “potential” thrown around. Having potential could mean you’re being quietly monitored and your supervisor is trying to decide whether you should stay or go. If that’s the case, you’ll need to do your best to prove you’re a valuable employee and that the company isn’t wasting its precious time and resources on you.

Problem solving

Solving problem gif

Work on fixing problems, not causing them. | GIPHY

Your employer will review your ability to solve some challenges independently. It’s not good if you typically come to your boss with a list of problems but you rarely have suggestions for how to resolve them. Employers are looking for future leaders. One sign of a potential leader is someone who rises to the occasion in the face of a challenge. If all you do is wait for someone to save you, this demonstrates you’re likely not ready for leadership.


Mystique X-Men adapt gif

Adapt to what’s going on around you. | GIPHY

Are you quick to go with the flow when it comes to company policy changes or do you complain every step of the way? Your employer is looking for someone who will be able to make necessary changes as needed without throwing a tantrum. Adaptability matters. So, if you’ve been having a tough time with this, work on changing your attitude. And if you just can’t muster enough motivation to keep pace with the change, it might be time to look for a new job.

Interpersonal skills

People Person GIF

You need to work well with others. | GIPHY

When these words are used, your supervisor is focusing on your ability to work with a team. One thing you don’t want to see in your performance review is that you need to improve your interpersonal skills. That basically means you aren’t a good team player. And most employers are looking for employees who not only work well independently but also with a group. So, if you don’t know how to play nice with others, now is the time to work on that skill.

Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.

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