As An Employee, How Can I Contribute To Making The Performance Review Process Valuable?

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We often think of performance appraisals as something where the employee is some sort of passive container into which the manager pours his or her wisdom. Nothing can be further from the truth.

In fact, what you do, and how you think about your work performance is probably the main factor in determining whether the process goes well, and actually has value.

Here are some tips taken from our quick guide for employee on how they can make things work.

During The Appraisal Meeting

First, understand that companies and managers differ in how they conduct appraisal meetings. Managers have different skills and understanding of the process. Some are good at it. Some are not. Give your manager some slack here...this is hard for them too.

Also, the forms and evaluations systems used range from good to absolutely ridiculous. During the appraisal meeting, you have to work with what you have.

Here are some suggestions:

Since the meeting is for your benefit, be prepared to guide the meeting in ways that will meet your needs with respect to improving performance. Some managers will be so good at the process that you can follow their leads. Some, who may be less good at it, sometimes need you to be more active in getting what you need from the process.

We all feel at least somewhat uncomfortable with comments that suggest we aren’t as good as we “should be”. Sometimes managers don’t know how to phrase comments very well. A suggestion – don’t focus on negative comments and the past. If negative comments come up, turn the conversation to: “How can I prevent this possible problem in the future?”

Before you leave the appraisal meeting, you and the manager should recap or summarize the conversation, and any agreements made by both or either of you. This should be done orally, and in a written form, and both should have copies. If your manager doesn’t think to do this, you can bring it up like this: “Before we finish, I want to make absolutely sure we are both on the same wavelength, so can I summarize what I think has been said?” Sometimes this step may be delayed for a few days.

Surviving Silly Forms

An unfortunate thing about performance appraisal is that often your company will require some specific forms be completed by your manager, or by you and the manager. The unfortunate part is that a lot of times these forms are absolutely horrible. Here are a few tips on how to survive the silly form syndrome.

Remember that your manager is stuck with them, so it’s not his or her fault if they are faulty.

While it may be important to make sure the actual evaluations recorded on the forms are reasonable and fair, remember that most of the time these forms and ratings are exceedingly subjective. They should be taken seriously in the sense they may be used later for decision-making but the actual ratings or comments should never be taken personally.

Often forms are used to make administration of the process easier, even though the forms are not helpful to you. If the forms do not include enough information for your needs, then add that information. The forms may need to be completed but there is no reason why you and/or your manager can’t add additional information that is attached to the mandatory form.


About Company

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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We Believe

  • Performance management and appraisal MUST be a partnership between manager and employee where BOTH benefit.
  • Performance management can be the lever for improved employee engagement.
  • The review process is the LEAST important part of performance management
  • If managers aren't managing employee performance, why are they there?

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  • Casselman
  • Ontario
  • Canada, K0A 1M0