Worst Performance Appraisal Mistake Ever!

A friend asked me to look over his annual performance review.  I did not make it past the third sentence before I looked up at him with sad eyes.   The review read as if it were drafted by a mediocre kindergarten student.  I next began a series of questions about his manager in hopes of making my friend feel better about the dreadful document in my hands.  They were:

1.  Wow, how many languages did your manager learn before English?  It must be very difficult to write a review in your 8th language.

(No luck, the manager was an Anglophone)

2.  Isn’t it great that someone who did not go to high school but worked hard all his life achieved such a senior position in your organization?  Good for your organization to recognize effort as well as education.

(Strike 2 – the manager has a graduate degree)

3.  Did you speak to the manager about this review? (I’m now assuming the answer will be negative)

Response – No, he did not have time (Finally, I know what happened…can you guess?)

I sat my friend down and told him the sad truth.  His manager does not suffer a literacy limitation…he is a lazy jerk!!  The manager clearly asked an administrative support person to write a performance appraisal for him!

The result of his actions?  A demoralized employee who looks back on a year of hard work and sacrifice with regret.  (Did I forget to mention the review – outside of the spelling and grammar, was actually meant to be very positive!)

I know writing several perhaps dozens of performance appraisals can be arduous, but your employees deserve the effort.  You may not like the performance appraisal system in your organization but don’t punish an employee with your attitude.

When writing a performance appraisal be sure you:

  • Proof read your reviews
  • Use spell check/grammar check
  • Don’t cut and paste everything from one review to another
  • Get your employee’s gender correct (e.g his not her)
  • Spell your employee’s name correctly
  • Brief your employee on his or her review

After all, wouldn’t you expect the same on your review?

What is your worst performance appraisal experience?


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