The Fallacy of The Performance Review


What follows is a fictional discussion between a manager and one of his star employees regarding his upcoming Performance Appraisal. The manager wants to have a discussion in ten minutes and get the employee (Joe) to just sign off on the PA so he can drop it off at HR. The employee is caught off guard believing a more meaningful discussion would be held so he could provide his own input. He’s surprised because at his last PA it was agreed he would be able to do just that. Provide his own contribution along with his manager.

As the discussion progresses, the manager, caught off guard with the level of skepticism on the part of Joe, especially when he questions his manager’s ability to get him an additional 2% added to the 3% to get a raise he is scheduled to get. A statement the manager is making just to appease Joe and get him to sign the PA. Joe surprises him with information (he should have known) about a drop off in sales, budget reduction, possible salary freeze, and layoffs. However, all people rated 2 and above will be considered for raises if there is significant justification. Meaning managers have to present extreme cases supporting evaluating their employees being rated 2 or higher.

Manager: “Hey Joe, meet me in the conference room in ten minutes, it’s time for you performance appraisal. I need to get this up to HR this afternoon.”

Joe: “What?”

Manager: “Your PA, you know that thing we have to do twice a year? I figure it should take fifteen minutes or so, just need to check off a few things.”

Joe: “I’m well aware of what it is, but I haven’t prepared anything yet, I mean after our last discussion I thought we would spend a bit more time going over things.”

Manager: “What’s to go over, you’re doing fine, besides I’m rating you a 2, this is just to keep the folks up in HR happy, and they don’t read them anyhow. I’m satisfied with what you’re doing all you need to do is keep it up. Besides the 2 rating puts you in a good spot.”

Joe: “Oh Okay, see you in ten.”

Ten minutes later Joe and his manager are in the conference room as we peek in and listen.

Manager: “Yeah that was a good time we had at the game. Well here sign on the bottom line, and I can pop up to HR and drop this off.”

Joe: “I thought we were going to discuss this. We spent the entire time talking about bar hopping on our business trips. I mean it was good and all, but what about my performance?”

Manager: “What about it, I told you earlier, just keep doing what you’re doing and things will be okay. After you’re getting a 2 rating and that puts you in with the rest of the 2’s. It makes you safe.”

© Timothy A. Wilson All Rights Reserved 2017.