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Performance Appraisal Dilemma.
Old 04-16-2010, 07:07 AM   #1
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Performance Appraisal Dilemma.

My wife had her performance appraisal done recently and is somewhat upset due to one situation. He boss criticized her for not performing one task of a co worker of higher levels properly while this employee was on vacation and DW stated that she wasn't told or taught that it was supposed to be done this way. Her boss told her that she should have asked. DW stated:

How do I know to ask if I believe I'm doing it properly?
The co worker has also done similar mistakes and she's not criticized for it therefore DW assumed she was doing it properly.

He bosses answer was:
She wants everything done her way and DW should always ask if she's ever in question.
She can't fault the other employee since her boss herself makes the same mistake.

DW now has to go before her boss’s boss to review the results of her performance appraisal and feels she can't question or comment on the situation since her boss will take it very personal and makes it a point to get her back or make her life a living hell. Her boss also doesn't like it when employees try to be more efficient since it would make her boss look bad since she trains her employees and feels she hasn't missed anything. You see her boss believes she is the best in her department and nobody can do a better job then her. She doesn't like to be questioned and wants her employees to perform there job to the letter as they were trained. If ever in doubt don't take the imitative and try to do a better job, ask and her boss will tell you how to do your job. Her boss is 2 years to retirement and still takes her job very seriously.

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Old 04-16-2010, 08:18 AM   #2
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Perspective please:
Did the boss say anything good about her performance?
How much time was spent on the negative things?
How long has your wife been in her current position?
Has she gotten similar feedback in the past?
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Old 04-16-2010, 08:51 AM   #3
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If this is the first time your wife is being told of the mistake, that's poor management.

If she was told prior and now it's being documented in a annual review, let it go. The paperwork is meaningless. Gets filed somewhere then eventually shredded.

Chances are the raises where already calculated and submitted to payroll. The annual review process often follows.

Making a federal case of this only opens the wound.
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:03 AM   #4
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Perspective please:
Did the boss say anything good about her performance?
Yes.
How much time was spent on the negative things?Since DW didn't agree quite some time.
How long has your wife been in her current position? 4 years
Has she gotten similar feedback in the past? No
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If this is the first time your wife is being told of the mistake, that's poor management. Yes and any other mistake.

If she was told prior and now it's being documented in a annual review, let it go. The paperwork is meaningless. Gets filed somewhere then eventually shredded. She was never told prior and was caught off guard during the appriasal, she also couldn't convince her boss to change her mind since she doesn't like to be questioned in this manner. This appraisal won't get shedded and has a review with upper management next week to review this.

Chances are the raises where already calculated and submitted to payroll. The annual review process often follows. Raises have not yet been calculated, it's based on performance.

Making a federal case of this only opens the wound. Which is her thoughts therefore she will have to accept the consequences. Next problem is, why is her boss favoring the other employee other then "she sucks up to her boss, which DW won't do?
Thanks for the replies
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:48 AM   #5
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Raises have not yet been calculated, it's based on performance.
That is supposedly true in the federal government as well. However in my agency, it just doesn't work that way. Management decides who is going to get the raise or bonus and THEN they write the performance review. Nobody who doesn't usually get a raise/bonus is going to get it unless every single one of the "golden" employees get one too. The raises/bonuses are not revealed to the employee until a month or two after the supervisor and employee talk about the performance review, but there is no question that they were decided long before.

Sorry if I'm too cynical, but that's the way it worked at my former j*b. I was on both sides of the "golden" fence, being out of favor with one supervisor and the most favored with another. The purpose of the performance review is to document, so that there are fewer complaints about unfair distribution of raises or bonuses.
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Old 04-16-2010, 10:02 AM   #6
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If there is an area for a written response sometimes the employee can write a softball response that conveys what she thinks, something such as "I was unaware that I was to assume x's ___ responsibilities in his/her absence. In the future I will consult with x in advance so that the work is smoothly transitioned."

It acknowledges the issue, doesn't challenge the manager, conveys that the ball was dropped but doesn't acknowledge that it was her fault.
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Old 04-16-2010, 10:31 AM   #7
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OK - it is difficult to go through you to get at the true issue. But from previous posts and your replies it is a perception issue. I would not recommend trying to fight the performance review point. I would advise trying to get at the the core issue which is a perception issue. Her management has a negative perception of her and the 'task' issue is an indication of that perception.

She should understand the perception and tell management she is on board with changing it. That will end the meetings on a positive note and put this all behind her. Then she will have time to change the perception.


"He boss criticized her for not performing one task of a co worker of higher levels properly while this employee was on vacation and DW stated that she wasn't told or taught that it was supposed to be done this way. Her boss told her that she should have asked."
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Old 04-16-2010, 10:33 AM   #8
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This kinda sounds like it is happening in a smaller employer. My experience has been that smaller employers are more subjective than objective.

Can you give a profile of the employer? Public or private sector? Range of number of employees?

I wish I had some suggestions.
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:56 AM   #9
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The raises/bonuses are not revealed to the employee until a month or two after the supervisor and employee talk about the performance review.
I'm not sure exactly when the raises are decided but I should clarify by saying they're based on perfomance appraisal not just performance. That was my typo error before.
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Originally Posted by Brat View Post
If there is an area for a written response sometimes the employee can write a softball response that conveys what she thinks, something such as "I was unaware that I was to assume x's ___ responsibilities in his/her absence. In the future I will consult with x in advance so that the work is smoothly transitioned."

It acknowledges the issue, doesn't challenge the manager, conveys that the ball was dropped but doesn't acknowledge that it was her fault.
The boss states that dw was in error, when it is reviewed again by her bosses boss she believe she can convince him that she was in the right. That raised a huge problem in that her boss will be made to look bad, that will come back to haunt DW, that's a guarantee.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dex View Post
I would advise trying to get at the the core issue which is a perception issue. Her management has a negative perception of her and the 'task' issue is an indication of that perception.

She should understand the perception and tell management she is on board with changing it. That will end the meetings on a positive note and put this all behind her. Then she will have time to change the perception.
When dw tried to question her boss, she became defensive, when she made good points by mentioning the person she covered for was also making mistakes, why is this such a huge problem. , her boss defender this other employer by stating "I can't fault her for that since I made the same mistake". So what she saying is, it's ok for the other employee to make a mistake since I did, but it's not ok for you since I didn't make that same mistake?

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Can you give a profile of the employer? Public or private sector? Range of number of employees?
She is a government employee, but her office only has two people under her boss.
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Old 04-16-2010, 01:31 PM   #10
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Does it really matter? Will the performance appraisal really matter in calculating the pay raise? Will it really make a difference?

It sounds like bad management to me. When I had issues like that in the past, I'd always ask for documentation. You had an issue with my performance 6 months ago? Where is the notification/proof you addressed it with me then? Oh, you didn't? Then take it off my performance appraisal.
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Old 04-16-2010, 02:14 PM   #11
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Does it really matter? Will the performance appraisal really matter in calculating the pay raise? Will it really make a difference?

It sounds like bad management to me. When I had issues like that in the past, I'd always ask for documentation. You had an issue with my performance 6 months ago? Where is the notification/proof you addressed it with me then? Oh, you didn't? Then take it off my performance appraisal.
In this case it does matter and I'll assume you didn't read the personality of her boss or else you'd understand it's not black and white as you present it. DW believes she can get it removed since she knows she didn't truly do anything wrong. That's not the issue, it's retribution from her boss when she finds out DW went over her head. In other words and I know I'm repeating myself.... it will come back to haunt her. If it were only as easy as you say.
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Old 04-16-2010, 02:54 PM   #12
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I am a former Fed and am familiar with the type of issue you describe. The two sentences I gave you are very neutral in their character, perhaps instead of the word "unaware" "did not realize" would be softer.

As you know there typically are 'delegations of authority' given to an employee who assumes responsibilities of another position temporarily, but usually that happens when someone is absent for a month or more. Often tasks are re-assigned informally but, basically it is the boss's responsibility to see that the absent employee's critical/essential duties are fulfilled particularly if your wife had not done that work in the past. The boss is trying to do a dodge and fade here because s/he did not verify in real time that the work was being done. If you were to read boss's performance appraisal I would bet dollar's to donuts that s/he has a gig for the lapse. Anyone above her in the chain of command can see through this ruse.
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Old 04-16-2010, 03:26 PM   #13
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I've spent many years under federal pay for performance. Just because they call it pay for performance, doesn't mean that is what it actually is. I'm still working under NSPS, the DoD pay for performance plan. I get rated 1-5, 5 being the best. I have 3 job elements. I was rated 4 on two, 3 on 1. Got a 4 over all.

What I meant by asking if it matters is this: Will she still be rated average/above average even with 1 minor dig? Will the dig affect her rating, and hence her pay? How much will it matter, 2.1% raise instead of a 2.15%? Or something like a 2% raise instead of 10%?

Most fed/gov't have HR policy about performance appraisals and documentation. Depending on how much it really matters, your wife could go to HR and see if her boss is following the guidelines.

I've done it many times, both in the military and as a federal employee. I won't say it's always prudent (I was a max time in grade promotion for most of my promotions in the Army- COLs don't like it when you break out the rules and show them they are wrong). I burnt too many bridges.

So, if it REALLY matters and your wife can live with burning bridges, then fight to have the comment fixed.
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Old 04-16-2010, 08:29 PM   #14
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Anyone above her in the chain of command can see through this ruse.
If the person held that position for some time and was aware of DW bosses personality I would agree. Unfortunatly he's new to the position and wouldn't be aware of this unless she brings it to his attention which in the long run will only case a problem.
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Depending on how much it really matters, your wife could go to HR and see if her boss is following the guidelines.
So, if it REALLY matters and your wife can live with burning bridges, then fight to have the comment fixed.
DW may apply for her bosses position when the time comes couple years down the road but won't have much of a chance if her boss is protecting the other employee that sucks up to her. Again let me stress that fighting to have the comment fixed is the easy part, the difficult part is retribution which is guaranteed once her boss finds out since she will definatly take it personal and the penalty will be severe. That was my whole point from the beginning. DW feels she has done nothing wrong therefore getting it off her record is easy, what follows will be much more painfull and worse.

Is that a more clear picture. Also it's somewhat different in Canada re Government employees.
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Old 04-17-2010, 02:09 PM   #15
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One thing for sure, if you have a problem with your boss he/she will stick it to you with or without the documentation (annual appraisal here). Better to lay low.

Reporting this one up the chain might make a better raise (assuming the boss in question does not set raises since the group is too small) but your wife will pay 10 fold. I don't think it will be worth the fight.
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Old 04-17-2010, 02:17 PM   #16
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I don't think I would just ignore it, however. Saying something to the effect when someone plans an absence in the future she will meet with her supervisor to make sure that hand-off of responsibilities are clear. ... improve communications. Maybe comment that sometimes absences are unplanned so the two of them need to know how to fulfill each others critical tasks.

Set a tone of committment to improvement.
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:23 PM   #17
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Little late to the party, but if boss is leaving in two years is retribution really that big of a deal?
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Old 04-20-2010, 04:24 PM   #18
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Brings back memories on just how subjective performance appraisals are. I remember times when I got a great appraisal but felt I was just doing my job as a good worker, and times I worked my a$$ off during the year and only got a fair performance appraisal.
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:09 PM   #19
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One thing for sure, if you have a problem with your boss he/she will stick it to you with or without the documentation (annual appraisal here). Better to lay low.

Reporting this one up the chain might make a better raise (assuming the boss in question does not set raises since the group is too small) but your wife will pay 10 fold. I don't think it will be worth the fight.
Her boss does have a say re raises so it would appear it's a loose, loose situation.
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Little late to the party, but if boss is leaving in two years is retribution really that big of a deal?
Yes, when you maybe applying for her position and she has a say as to whether you get hired. Or......if you plan on applying for a different position and your boss claims you're not suited for the job, or......when you ask for a day off and it's denied, or.............when she makes your life a living hell for the next 2 years. I can give you another dozen or more examples or maybe that may seem somewhat of a big deal.........no?

Sorry to be blunt but it's amazing how a boss can make or break your day, whether it be for a day or years. . I know since I was a boss for many years and I asked for lots of feedback during my crew meeting which I held on a regular basis to avoid these issues.
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:26 PM   #20
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MyDream, did something bad or costly happen at your DW's place of employment because she didn't know what to do?

What do you think your DW should do or say in her follow-up meeting with her boss's boss?
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