I have been working so hard lately in my role as a receptionist in a small company. I believe that I am doing an amazing job as I am getting great feedback from the customers and co-workers.
I recently had my bi-annual performance review with my supervisor and was shocked to learn that she regarded me as below many of the standards required for some of the duties and responsibilities. This was news to me. This document influences my salary, my position, my career path and standing with the company.
I do not understand this review. Please could you shed some light on this worrisome situation.
Bad Reviews (BR)
Unfortunately, many of us rely on these annual or bi-annual performance reviews to reflect our performance and a year’s worth of hard work. Sometimes, the employee feels that it is inaccurate and is subjective, and that the information on the form is merely the personal reflections of the supervisor.
Although many human resources department rely heavily on this document as a tool to manage the work and behaviour of an employee (and even the manager, sometimes), as Lisa Quast points out in Forbes.com, many managers see performance appraisals as nothing more than an empty, bureaucratic exercise forced on them by the Human Resources department. She points to many sites on the internet (search online for “performance appraisal”), where you’ll find polls revealing the high percentage of employees who feel appraisals are pointless.
The employment counsellors at JVS recommend that it is important for employees to understand that in performance reviews, it doesn’t matter what you think you are doing at work; what matters is how your boss thinks you are doing. They recommend the following tips to help you avoid getting a surprising negative review, and to ensure your manager’s perceptions are the same as yours.
1. Meet with your manager regularly, to make sure that you both are one the same page with shared expectations. The focus is on doing your work that meets the her standards and preferences.
2. Prepare for the review. You will probably be told in advance that you will have meeting to discuss your performance review. In some organizations, the employee is given the document prior to the meeting to reflect and review. List all of your accomplishments over the time building up the review. Make sure you have facts and figures as much as possible to demonstrate your work, and your successes. List your areas of improvement as well. Be ready to discuss this information in a clear, professional and articulate manner just in case you need to present your work.
3. Don’t talk about your review. Focus on your manager’s expectations, priorities and preferences. Ask her to identify areas she wants you to do differently in, and what you can improve on.
4. When getting feedback, don’t point fingers, blame others, blame the manager or tell her that you are doing it already. You need to show your manager that you are actually doing it, rather than just talking about it. Actions always speak louder than words. Remember, the manager doesn’t have to adapt to you; it’s your responsibility to adapt to her preferences and work around them.
5. Complaining to the Human Resources department is a waste of time, and usually too late. Once the review is complete, your manager’s opinion is how you have been performing. You will have to start again and build toward your next review. Even if she avoids conflicts and problems, and has trouble giving you constructive feedback, it’s still important that you find out what you need to do along the way till your next review to improve.
As our job developers warn, getting a good performance review doesn’t necessarily have all that much to do with your actual work and everything to do with the manager’s expectations and perceptions. Don’t just work harder, in hopes of getting a good review; work smarter by clarifying as much as you can with your boss. Also, a poor performance review might be a red flag that you could be in the wrong job, in the wrong place, or at the wrong time. If you are surprised to get a negative review, and the review doesn’t help you with ways to improve your performance, maybe it’s time to reflect on your workplace and whether you want to stay there, especially if you continue to believe that you are doing a good job.