Mastering the Dreaded Performance Review

Master Your Performance Review

Employees tend to believe they are the only ones who hate performance reviews.  Guess again!  In my 18 years as a human resources and talent acquisition professional I have never met a manager who looked forward to conducting performance reviews with their team. Ask anyone else in human resources and they will probably tell you that they have to remind, beg, bribe and oftentimes threaten the people-managers in their organization to get them to complete their team’s reviews.

There is a lot of advice for managers on the best ways to conduct performance reviews.  But what about the employees? The best way to change this stigma is to determine the reasons people hate them.

Reasons Employees Hate Performance Reviews

It takes them away from the work they need to get completed.  Many employees prefer to go to work, keep their heads down and stay focused on their daily tasks, then clock out. Send your manager your portion of the performance review ahead of time and let her know specific things you may want to discuss so he will be prepared for it.  Clear your schedule for a couple of hours that day to give yourself time to digest the information that has been discussed after the meeting.

The conversation tends to be very rigid, which discourages employees from open and honest dialogue. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on any negative feedback.  Use this meeting as a brainstorming session by asking your manager for suggestions on how you can improve your weak areas.

People hate to receive negative feedback. I wish I could promise you that if you follow all of my career coaching advice you will never receive negative feedback but that would be dishonest.  Negative feedback is a fact of life.  Even if you do everything right you still won’t be able to please everyone every time. The only way to address this feeling is to change the way you perceive negative feedback.  Expect to receive it, welcome it and use it as an opportunity to prove your strength.  Create your own improvement plan then share it with your boss.

Collect Feedback from Your Customers on a Regular Basis

 Constantly collecting feedback, not just from your manager, can alleviate the element of surprise during your annual performance meeting with your manager.  It also gives employees an opportunity to gain clarity from the provider of the feedback and find ways to improve before the annual review takes place.  How much more powerful does an employee look if they come to the performance review meeting with their own solutions?

Ask Your Manager if You Can Facilitate the Review

As a Career Coach I provide my clients with a Pre-Performance Review Worksheet for them to work on ahead of their scheduled review. This is a well-rounded summary of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The worksheet includes areas for: tracking your progress towards a promotion, comparing your salary with the company’s pay bands, projects that you have completed and even an improvement plan. Having this worksheet will likely take some of the pressure off your manager because he won’t feel obligated to control the entire conversation.

Contact Me

(Contact me at for a Mastering Performance Review Worksheet.)


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