Handling Performance Evaluations - Part III
Tip #7: If your employer demands you sign a negative performance evaluation, sign your performance evaluation with stipulations/comments. When people get performance reviews they don’t agree with, they’re often never really sure if they should sign the evaluation or not. But, the reality is that signing your review simply means that you’ve read and understood the contents of the performance review. It is not a statement of agreement. But, that doesn’t mean your employer won’t try to play your signing the review in that way.
So, I always suggest that you sign the review—if you must—but, that you write (underneath your signature line), “I have read, but do not agree with the content of this performance evaluation. I will be submitting written documentation to support my opposition to certain aspects of this performance review with the anticipation that the review will be amended.” Or, you can write something along those lines. Write in the borders of the review or write in the white space of the review. But, do not write in the empty space on the back of the review/page, which can be missed, ignored, more easily erased, etc.
The fact of the matter is, your employer can’t take a review (signed in the manner above) and then, later, try to insist that you read your review, understood it, but didn’t make any written or verbal complaints after receiving the official feedback.
Tip # 8: Prepare a formal written response. If you’ve received a negative and/or fraudulent performance evaluation, don’t forget to follow up your disagreement with the content of your review with an official email or memo to your reviewer, supervisor and/or manager. Have as many meetings as necessary to work out any issues. Ask for your review to be amended. Provide documentation to prove that your point of view is correct. Ask coworkers and other managers you’ve worked with for written statements about your performance.
This is best done on the front end of a performance evaluation, as I’ve written in the past. Always give thank you emails or congratulatory emails (sent to you from clients, coworkers, etc.) to your reviewer, supervisor, and/or manager throughout the performance review period. This lets them know you are consistently doing a good job and makes it harder for them to set you up during your actual performance evaluation. If you don’t give positive feedback you’ve received to your supervisor or manager during the year, give him/her a full copy of your kudos in the week or so before they are scheduled to draft performance reviews for their subordinates.
Tip #8: If your supervisor or manager doesn’t want to discuss amending the review, go to Human Resources! Ask for a meeting to discuss your official evaluation. Be prepared to offer solutions to resolve the problem and to correct the performance evaluation. Have a list of people that can support your strong and positive performance during the review period. Point out every area of disagreement with the review. Don’t rely on general complaints or statements. Talk in specifics about what is wrong with the review, why it is wrong, how you can prove the error, and what can/should be done to fix your review.
Tip #9: Request that HR conducts a formal investigation, if the accusations in your performance evaluation are extremely egregious and could result in employment actions, such as a suspension, demotion, salary cut, probation, termination, etc. Prepare your direct and circumstantial evidence of misconduct and/or violations of performance evaluation guidelines or corporate policies and procedures on the part of your reviewer, supervisor, and/or manager. Your official complaint should clearly justify why an investigation is warranted, who should be questioned about the facts, and the reasons you suspect racism or other illegal misconduct (harassment, retaliation, etc.) on the part of your reviewer, supervisor, and/or manager. If HR agrees to investigate, find out the timing of the investigation, who will be interviewed (look for anyone with a conflict of interest, grudge against you, etc.), and learn about the appeal process, should you not get a decision in your favor.
Remember, it’s your performance evaluation. The review will impact your career, your promotion opportunities, your yearly salary increase, bonuses, and could impact your overall treatment at work and, more specifically, within your department.
Don’t let false, harassing or retaliatory comments remain in your performance review. Even if you transfer to another department, that review will follow you throughout your career at the company. Stand up for yourself. Fight for a fair and equitable review process and a truthful review.
Labels: circumstantial evidence, discrimination, documentation, employment action, false allegations, opportunity to advance, reviews/performance evaluation, standards, supervisor, tips and strategies