Should I Go To Human Resources To Protest An Evaluation I Believe Is Unfair?

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It's difficult to answer the question without knowing how human resources works in your company, your relationship with the manager, and the nature and use of the appraisals. But here are a few things to consider.

It is probably within your rights to approach human resources with your concerns about a performance evaluation you feel is unfair. However, whether this will result in good outcomes or not is another question. It is true that human resources should be interested and concerned if you feel you have been evaluated unfairly, but it doesn't always work out.

Probably your best step is to try to deal with your concerns directly with the manager or supervisor who has evaluated you. Make sure you have indicated your disagreement on any paperwork (evaluation forms and documentation). If you can't make any progress with your manager, then it's fair to inform him or her that if the two of you can't resolve the issue between you, that you will approach human resources for clarification of the process and your options. Don't phrase that as a threat.

If you approach human resources, it's better to ask for clarification rather than launch a full scale accusatory rant about your manager. If HR sees you as reasonable in approach, they are more likely to consider your concerns.

It is good to remember that many human resource professionals are committed to the welfare of employees, but that their prime role is to serve the overall good of the company, and they are bound by formal and informal policies and procedures, and internal politics. Also, since they aren't as close to you and your performance as a manager or supervisor, they will tend to be hesitant to intervene too directly.

Finally, if you believe that your evaluation is negatively affected by managerial actions that are illegal (discrimination of various types, sexual harrassment), then it may be better to approach HR earlier in the process. HR tends to look at potentially illegal managerial decisions more seriously than differences of opinion that have no legal implications.


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Bacal & Associates was founded in 1992 by consultant and book author, Robert Bacal. Robert's books on performance management and reviews have been published by McGraw-Hill. He is available for consultation, training and keynote speaking on performance and management at work.


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