At most companies, it starts with a self-evaluation. This is your chance to tell your side of the story. You promote the value your work provided the company. If you set stretch goals at the start of the year, it’s likely you didn’t nail them completely, so you need to give some indication that you weren’t watching cat videos all day. You document your results and defend your performance. At most companies, these are web based and archived, so you have a permanent record. (Remember what Sister Charles Bronson used to say about that?)
Then your manager goes gives his/her view of your work. The form goes up to your manager’s manager, who either reads it and weighs in on things too, or rubber stamps the manager’s review.
The process ends with a conversation with your manager. This can be a constructive or destructive experience, based on your relationship with your manager. (I have experienced mostly constructive conversations in my career, but I have been very strategic in hiring my managers.)
In corporations, your review determines how much of a merit salary increase you will get, bonus or stock awards you get if you have that status, training and development eligibility, whether you are considered for promotions and ultimately, whether you keep your job when it’s time to reduce staff.
The process is meant to promote fairness and pay for performance, but you cannot escape the subjectivity of all the people involved. Whether you like it or not, it does give both sides the chance to document and tell their story, and at least you know where you stand so that you can change your behaviors or change jobs. In the end, it’s two-way communication, imposed by a formal process.
I’m on the fence about how much difference this process makes in delivering better performance. I think most people want to do a good job, and mostly fail because of lack of resources or unreasonable expectations. I like that it forces managers to talk to their employees at least twice a year (once for goal setting and again for the review).
How would this work at home?
I wonder if marriages would last longer (or end shorter) if couples went through a formal process like this each year, each partner setting relationship goals for him/herself and for the spouse on a piece of paper, discussing and approving them. Then you work on them intentionally throughout the year. At year-end, each person goes through the self-rating and then rates the partner, and you have serious discussion about the marriage, preferably sitting on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean with an umbrella drink nearby.
Is there an app for that?
What do you think about performance reviews at work or in relationships? Have you received constructive feedback that made you a better person? Or do you have horror stories to share about a clueless manager? What about your performance in relationships? Do you talk about how things are, and ask for more? Write on….