Have You Ever Received an Unfair Performance Rating?

by Evil HR Lady on July 27, 2016

One of my readers had her boss announce that everyone would receive low ratings because there wasn’t money for raises. This is not how this should work. Unfortunately, not every company HR and/or Finance department has half a clue. (Hint: You should hire someone with a clue. It’s worth the cash.) Over at Inc, I explain what they were thinking and why they shouldn’t be thinking that.

To read, click here: I’m a Great Performer, So Why Does My Performance Rating Stink?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

grannybunny July 27, 2016 at 3:29 pm

I work for a government agency that has pay-for-performance with defined raise percentages assigned to each category. Since the agency does not have adequate funds for raises, most employees — even those who far exceed their agreed-upon goals — are rated in the Non-Contributor category, 3 on a 15-point scale. This not only deprives the majority of raises, but also makes it extremely difficult for them to transfer to other government agencies, because of their low performance ratings.

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Evil HR Lady July 28, 2016 at 10:38 pm

Oh, that’s terrible!

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Anonymous July 27, 2016 at 5:13 pm

We have a pay for performance policy and last year the CEO decided that HR wasn’t strategic enough so he was downgrading everyone’s ratings. I ended up with a Meets All after handling duties at two different sites, including monthly travel to my non-home site. Then a Sr Director resigned and they are not backfilling so guess who gets to do that work? My resignation went in the same day.

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Jeanne July 27, 2016 at 10:50 pm

They did this at my last company. Before evaluations, they got together and said we had X dollars for raises. After they doled out that money they wrote our reviews to match our tiny raises. They would use any minor error to justify it or made up attitude issues. I was told I breathed in a disapproving way in meetings. Or you can’t have a raise because you’re at midpoint for your position and you can’t have a promotion because we don’t want to decide what goals you need to meet so no raise so here’s your bad review. It’s incredibly common. I would just prefer if they were honest.

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Evil HR Lady July 28, 2016 at 10:59 am

You breathed in a disapproving way? That would be awesome if it weren’t so dumb.

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Camellia July 28, 2016 at 10:04 pm

OldCompany flat out told us that we would never get ‘exceeds expectations’ on our reviews because whatever we did was what they expected us to do. Work tons of overtime to get a project in? Well, we expect you to do that!

Anyone remember a very old Dilbert cartoon showing Elaine’s (?) yearly eval? He basically told her the same thing, whatever she did was just what they expected her to do. Then she asked what about when she had gone into the hospital and donated bone marrow to their biggest client? He replied, yes, that he had noted that under ‘attendance problems’.

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Evil HR Lady July 28, 2016 at 10:38 pm

Dilbert is, unfortunately, correct far too often.

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tan kai chang July 29, 2016 at 9:43 pm

Team of developers pulled overtime to bring a project in. Project managers claimed this as evidence that developers were underperforming because obviously if the developers did not underperform they would never have needed to work overtime in the first place.

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Rebecca July 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm

The company I work for has abandoned performance evaluations all together. I haven’t had an evaluation since 2009, until early this year. We were told we had to fill out self evaluations, but none of us would receive raises. Our manager would review, write his notes, and then meet with each of us. We were also instructed to fill out an evaluation of our manager, and email it to HR. We balked at that, so it was agreed that our manager would gather the evaluations, pick someone to scan them into a file, and that person would send to HR under the guise of anonymity.

This is what happened. It’s been 6 months, and none of us have heard a peep about the evaluations. Our manager hasn’t met with us, nor do we even know if our evaluations of him ever made it to HR. I really doubt it.

I made up my mind if I’m tasked with this meaningless thing again, I’m going to circle all 4’s in the 1-5 scale, right down the line, write nothing, sign it, and stick it in the pile. Stupid me spent several hours and a lot of thought on this because I thought just maybe it would make some sort of difference.

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Mt August 3, 2016 at 7:56 pm

I worked at a place where reviews were usually bad for everybody. Raises (or more actually lack of) were dictated by union contract so that didn’t affect reviews.

I think there was a different motivation in this case – the lower level managers. The consensus was that managers wanted their employees to have bad reviews. This way, at the manager’s review, when the department metrics are bad, the manager can claim they did the best they could with all the poor performers they have working for them.

(Note that in this union/tenure environment it’s near impossible to replace a poor performer.)

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JA October 26, 2016 at 1:14 pm

Most performance evaluations are based in subjectivity and if “you play the political politics game” in your organization. If you are rewarded for playing the game, you have no incentive to stop playing. If you don’t, the repercussions come in the form of poor evaluations. Performance evaluations are innately flawed because the person doing them are innately biased. An individual can work committed, though their company shows no commitment on their behalf, under the guise of performance reviews, that are influenced due to constraints of personality conflicts, budget restraints, poor understanding of leadership.

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