Sample Language for 2020 Performance Evaluations

Published: January 12, 2021
Estimated reading time: 2 min


Struggling with the exact language to use when giving feedback for your 2020 performance evaluations? Check out our samples below!

The low performer falling further off track, or the solid performer who had some dips

Consider the way COVID-19 is amplifying prior challenges; distinguish what might have warranted corrective action before and what’s new, so you can define concrete support to mitigate those impacts before any tough decisions. Do a bias check around your decision.

“This has been a tough year and I know you’ve experienced the impacts of that. We’ve already discussed that there have been issues with [name the area that needs improvement], which are resulting in [impacts]. I know those were exacerbated by extenuating circumstances, so let’s make a realistic plan for getting back on track. What I’d like to see from you over the next [time frame] is some improvement in [what needs to change]. What do you think of that? What support do you need from me? We’ll check back in by [set date].”
The high performer who’s dipped this year

Emphasize inherent value (with or without the superhero cape), note where they met or exceeded expectations, acknowledge where they dipped, and co-craft new expectations and a plan for the year ahead.

“Given everything that’s happened in 2020, I don’t expect anyone to perform at the same level as they did pre-pandemic. In a lot of ways, you upheld your previous standard: [list track record qualities]. For the areas that you struggled a bit, let’s talk about more realistic expectations moving forward and figure out what support you need to meet them.”
The team member who’s giving it 200%

Reset your expectations of excellence to create breathing room; commend enthusiasm while preventing burnout; set the bar high, but not too high.

“You went above and beyond during an extraordinary year. You excelled at [XYZ]. As you move into the next quarter, let’s agree to prioritize your personal well-being and sustainability, and focus on the three roles that bring you the most growth and generate the highest impact: [name them].”
The solid performer who’s rising to the occasion

Commend improvement over past performance; recognize contribution to the whole, especially in a year when others reasonably needed to step back.

“This was a devastating year, and you really stepped up to [help colleagues learn, keep team morale up, redesign our outreach approach, etc.]. Your effort benefited the whole team at a time when we needed it most. What do you need to keep up your effectiveness and sustainability this year?”

Other performance evaluation resources:

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