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Annual Performance Review Nonsense
Old 12-13-2011, 05:12 PM   #1
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Annual Performance Review Nonsense

Just finished my annual performance review. I got GLOWING remarks throughout the review with one comment on room for improvement regarding learning more about the system I support.

At the end of the review was told that my performance was "Achieved Expectations" which on a scale of 1-5 is a 3. Here's the rub...last year I also was rated a 3 and I coasted all year. This year I was rated a 3 and busted my *ss...lesson learned, do what it takes to get by and count down those days to retirement!

BTW, when I asked what I had to do to achieve an "Exceeds Expectations", which is required to get in the bonus pool, I was told "take on more important projects". Well, gee, you assign me my projects right

Rant over.
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Old 12-13-2011, 05:37 PM   #2
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If there is a box to respond to the review I would relate your contributions over the last year and ask for more important projects. Try to be civil when you want to be snide because your review will be read should you want a transfer or promotion. Successful managers advocate for themselves on reviews.
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Old 12-13-2011, 05:57 PM   #3
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If there is a box to respond to the review I would relate your contributions over the last year and ask for more important projects. Try to be civil when you want to be snide because your review will be read should you want a transfer or promotion. Successful managers advocate for themselves on reviews.
Very good idea on the response, thanks.

What floored me was the primary project I worked on this year had senior leadership sponsorship and affects about 10,000 of our users worldwide. If that isn't an important project I don't know what is.

After sitting here for an hour and stewing though I think I know what really happened. When the bonus dollars were cut 'friends' were put into the bonus-able categories....it's as simple as that.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:10 PM   #4
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That's unfortunate. I don't missing giving or receiving peeformance reviews, a lot of work which rarely achieves the desired outcome - good or bad. I think the latest thinking in the HR world was coming around to scrapping annual/periodic reviews for ongoing feedback with records.

IMO you should not have gotten any NEW negative feedback during the review. I made it a hard and fast rule that a negative had to be formally addressed before any written review. If a negative came up last minute, we could discuss it, but nothing in writing and no impact on any ratings. There should only be positive surprises (if any) and no surprise negatives in a written review, my 2 cents...your manager was out of line it came as a surprise.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:27 PM   #5
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In some jobs, performance reviews are political and not really related to what you accomplish. Sometimes the supervisor identifies a person ahead of time based on that person's skills in flattery and kissing up, and decides that this person will get "Exceeds Expectations" and get the bonus rather than giving it to someone who actually accomplishes a lot and does the work.

Then, the supervisor has to push everyone else's ratings down since she can't give bonuses to everyone.

Once I had a rotten supervisor who even gave herself all the bonus money each year, giving every last one of us identical "Achieved Expectations" ratings. After about five years of this, people on up the line found out and she had to give someone else a bonus.

What I am saying, is that you shouldn't take this personally. It may, or may not, have anything to do with your actual accomplishments depending on your work environment. Just keep doing your best, and if/when appropriate, blow your own horn a little so that the supervisor knows how much you are doing. You never know when things might turn around.

In other words, my suggestion is that you should not take this as an assessment of your worth as a human being, or even of your worth to the organization. At best, it could reflect a perception of the latter. Don't let it get you down. Take what good from it you can. Be open to more ambitious tasks and keep doing your best. Re-read the evaluation and see if there are any other suggestions and think about those, too.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:43 PM   #6
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I hate reviews worse than root canal.
Probably one of the best benefits of ER besides the free time is not having to think about them. It is bad enough the the raise money is given to friends. Now you have to lie about how the others performed.
I feel your pain. It is good to channel that fustration toward a goal such as ER.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:07 PM   #7
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In my previous j*b, performance ratings were forced into an allocation - 10% maximum top, 10% minimum bottom, etc. There was considerable political wrangling to get a top rating for one of your employees. A lesser qualified employee might get the top rating if his boss was politically skillful and / or just a relentless nutcase. PR rankings were debated for hours.

A good boss has no surprises for subordinates at PR time - managing is a day to day task.


Bottom line, forget about it.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:13 PM   #8
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I loathe them and refuse to do them.

If someone is doing a good job, they get a reward: it's called a paycheck

If they aren't, they get fired.

As an incentive plan, it works pretty well.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:19 PM   #9
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I loathe them and refuse to do them.

If someone is doing a good job, they get a reward: it's called a paycheck

If they aren't, they get fired.

As an incentive plan, it works pretty well.
+1, Loathe. That was the word I was looking for.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:28 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for the feedback and pep talk.

I've been playing this game for more than 30 years so I should be immune to taking anything personally. Unfortunately when you work for megacorp annual reviews can't be avoided.

My lesson learned this year is to do the best job I can and to expect nothing in return other than a paycheck. I also owe it to my manager to let her know that she set my expectation of a bonus by telling me several times throughout the year that I was one of her top performers (just before she gave me more to do)....hmmmm...think I was being greased up??
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:30 PM   #11
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In my previous j*b, performance ratings were forced into an allocation - 10% maximum top, 10% minimum bottom, etc. There was considerable political wrangling to get a top rating for one of your employees. A lesser qualified employee might get the top rating if his boss was politically skillful and / or just a relentless nutcase. PR rankings were debated for hours.
My experience also. There were a limited number of spots in the "exceeds expectations" category and merit had little to do with who got in the top 10%. It was pure BS and a huge waste of time.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:35 PM   #12
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Performance reviews are best ignored unless you personally think that something was mentioned that is valid and meaningful to you. Barring a job threatening situation, protesting does little more than make it more conspicuous.

I was tagged as a generous evaluator. I saved my focused or personal comments to our verbal review of the evaluation. The only uncommon exception was someone we needed to document actionable behaviors so we could have an "audit trail" prior to disciplinay actions.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:47 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone for the feedback and pep talk.

I've been playing this game for more than 30 years so I should be immune to taking anything personally. Unfortunately when you work for megacorp annual reviews can't be avoided.

My lesson learned this year is to do the best job I can and to expect nothing in return other than a paycheck. I also owe it to my manager to let her know that she set my expectation of a bonus by telling me several times throughout the year that I was one of her top performers (just before she gave me more to do)....hmmmm...think I was being greased up??
Ya think? Could be. Another possibility is that maybe she had anticipated more bonus money to be available that there was, and so she had to cut someone out of their bonus. If so, then if she remembers how good you are maybe next year you'll be the first in line.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:48 PM   #14
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My experience also. There were a limited number of spots in the "exceeds expectations" category and merit had little to do with who got in the top 10%. It was pure BS and a huge waste of time.
+1
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:13 PM   #15
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I loathe them and refuse to do them.

If someone is doing a good job, they get a reward: it's called a paycheck

If they aren't, they get fired.

As an incentive plan, it works pretty well.
Wow, you would be tough to work for! Work your butt off and consider yourself lucky to get paid. But, screw off just once and you're out of here.

To be honest, I hated doing annual reviews on my emloyees. I'll tell you how that all got started years ago. If you were a good supervisor you would review the performance of employees from time to time. Trouble is, most supervisors never gave their employees any feedback and then when something went wrong and you had to fire somebody, the employee and upper management wanted to know why they were never told about their shortcomings.
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:27 PM   #16
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If you trust your supervisor and the review is at all useful, the text will sometimes have meaningful feedback - what you are doing well - what you can improve upon. The actual ranking, categories and bonus pool allocations are often less connected to your individual performance and just there to justify the salary actions and bonus payouts that were probably decided at several levels up in the organization where your individual performance may be completely unknown. In some cases, supervisors are told to fit the evaluations to standards or projected payouts that are set arbitrarily and sometimes based only on recent company financial results, not work performance. A really good supervisor can advocate for you, but many will just be trying to preserve their own political capital and doing what they are instructed.

Take what good you can from it and increase your resolve to FIRE.
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:42 PM   #17
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My worst experience with annual reviews was back in the early 1990s when I was given a bad reveiw for writing reviews poorly for subordinates. Man, was I pissed! I was seeking to get promoted to an official supervisor spot from my assistant supervisor spot (as did several others who got promoted around that time), so I had to write some first drafts of subordinate reviews for my immediate supervisor. He would then mark them up so I put his changes in after some discussion which was fine. Then I gave it to his supervisor (my work unit's manager) and I got slammed for what ended up there, no matter how much I protested.

They used that and some other made-up things to Shang-Hai me into not promoting me to supervisor. I wrote up a careful response and made sure it went not only to the work unit manager's boss but HIS boss (the divisionhead), too (because the manager's boss had to sign off on it). I felt I needed someone to oversee the divisionhead's actions.

That next year was a tough one (I sent out some feelers to look for another job) but I did get my promotion the following year. And the so-called "problems" I had the year before had become magically "solved" and I was doing those things better (even though I had not done anything differently than before).

That work unit manager got switched elsewhere in the division, as did my immediate supervisor (I had become an equal to him anyway), so things improved dramatically in my relations to my superiors later in the 1990s. But that whole episode left a bad taste in my mouth for several years.
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:51 PM   #18
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I was a computer consultant or contract programmer most of my career, however, there was one year that I took a FT position with a company that I had done contract programming for.

Annual review time came and I could not believe all of the fuss that went on. We even had to attend an hour training class on how to go through an annual review.

We had forms in triplicate to fill out and I do remember getting a raise. The company was in the process of being sold and our jobs were relocated to another state so we were all gone by the time of the next review.
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Old 12-14-2011, 12:00 AM   #19
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Annual review time came and I could not believe all of the fuss that went on. We even had to attend an hour training class on how to go through an annual review.
I remember when my old company revamped (again) its employee evaluation program in the mid-1990s and held a several-hours training program which began 30 minutes before my usual arrival time, forcing me to take an earlier and more crowded train (remember how much I detested my commute!) to attend the awful, useless thing.
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:14 AM   #20
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I too have just finished mine and my team's. The concept is important but the execution seems to be quite flawed in many companies out there. My prior employer also had adopted Jack Welch's forced bell curve pampering the top 10% and putting the botton 10% on notice. ER seems an attracive way out of all this.
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