Human Resources Power Words: How to Write an Effective Performance Evaluation

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Human Resources Power Words: How to Write an Effective Performance Evaluation

“A word after a word after a word is power.” -Margaret Atwood

Taking the easy way out, I’ve seen this done many times when people are writing performance evaluations for their employees. Copy, paste and repeat, and voila the performance evaluation is done. An underlying problem for a performance evaluation that is just copied and pasted, how is that doing justice to the employee?

Feedback, what they need to improve, how they performed are all essential elements that your employee needs to understand from their performance evaluation. While in the military, we often stated that we wrote our performance evaluations. What this meant was that the things we did, what others remembered us for were what was written on the performance evaluation and gave us the power to determine our fate.

Conveying Your Message

To fully capture this. However, a leader or manager must now how to convey the message by using power words. Power words make something stand out. Think back to something significant that you have done, how would you want to be remembered by it? Take this as an example; Joe did a good job today, versus Joe effectively managed to write ten performance evaluation reports using power words today with no errors!

In essence, this is the power of words. Words can make an employee stand out when they get recognized on their performance evaluations with quantitative and substantiated achievements. In a case study done by Mani (2002), she found that “the results of the analysis of regression show that fair treatment is critical to employees’ satisfaction with the system (Adjusted R2 = .395; F =15.818; significance = .000). As one employee commented, “Employees should be evaluated more fairly. It matters not how much you do; it seems you cannot get a good on your evaluation.”” (p. 152).

Accurate Reflections in HR

Accurately reflecting accomplishments on a performance evaluation report is considered fair by employees and one way to do that is by using power words to explain what they did. An article on business writing from Research and Technology Management by Pardee (2005) states “objectives serve us better as beacons if they are specific about the kinds of results that will be accomplished” (p. 16). By taking this advice and incorporating specific power words, you can write and effective performance evaluation for your employees.


Keywords: Performance, Evaluation, Power, Words


Mani, B. J. (2002) Performance appraisal systems, productivity, and motivation: A case

study Public Personnel Management, June 2002; vol. 31, 2: pp. 141-159.

Pardee, W. J. (2005). Writing useful technical/business objectives. Research Technology

Management, 48(1), 13-17. Retrieved from


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