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How to Write a Response to an Employee Evaluation

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For both negative and positive employee reviews, craft a response that shows your continued commitment to the company and your desire to improve. Writing your reply, instead of sharing your thoughts in person can be a good thing, because it's going to give you time to formulate a productive response. Especially when you have received a negative employee review – it's natural to become defensive or angry – but resist the urge and craft something that will paint you in a better light.

Understand the Feedback

Whether the review is positive or negative, be sure that you fully understand what the employer has said before you respond. When you are not sure about something, ask the manager to clarify. Ask for examples that demonstrate the positive or negative behavior, suggests Alison Green of U.S. News & World Report. You can't work on problems that you don't yet understand, reminds Green. Send your employer an email with your questions, or have a quick conversation with the person who conducted your review.

Negative Reviews: Ask for Suggestions

When you receive a negative employee review, it's obvious that there's room for improvement. When you write your response, use your most diplomatic language to ask how you can improve. Start off by thanking the employer for sharing his thoughts, and then state that you're looking for ways to make the situation better. Cite specifics from the original review and ask for examples of how you could have performed better. If your boss mentioned that you seem to have trouble handling difficult customers, for example, ask how he would handle the situation.

Negative Reviews: Share Your Ideas

If you want to share your opinion about the situation, use the second paragraph of your response to state the facts in a calm, positive manner, suggests Marie G. McIntyre, Ph.D. of Your Office Coach. If you feel that the employer didn't have all the facts, share your supporting evidence, such as sales figures your boss might have missed, for example, in a calm, factual manner.

You've already asked the employer how she thinks you can improve – so use this second section to share your own ideas about how you think you can do better. Showing that you're willing to change and that you've taken the review seriously is a big step in the right direction. At the end of your response, ask for another review in another month or two, after you've had time to integrate any suggestions your boss has given you.

Positive Reviews: Ask for More Specifics

With a positive review, use the second paragraph as an opportunity to find out more about what you're doing right and to share your ideas for improvement. Even positive reviews should include some expectations for the future, suggests the Master Class Management training program website.

Start off your response by thanking the employer for the positive feedback, ask for specific details about actions you've taken that are working for the employer, and then say something like "in order to continue doing my job well, I'd suggest the following improvements," for example. Whether the review is positive or negative, end on a positive note, thank the employer for his feedback and send the response to the people who reviewed you. Your employer may then take the next step to respond to your note, providing more feedback for improvement, as well as scheduling your next evaluation.


Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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