At most companies, employees sit down with their supervisor/manager and they discuss that employee’s goals and objectives for a specific performance period. This is done so that employees know the company’s expectations for them and so that the employee can be proactive in working towards the agreed upon goals and objectives. Everyone understands that it would be unfair to have someone working blind. In other words, it would be the fault of supervisors or company management, if employees do not understand what the exact expectations are for their performance and behavior or if they don’t understand the criteria that will be used to evaluate their performance during the employee review period.
If you have a supervisor or manager that hasn’t explained the goals and objectives that you will be and are being judged against, you should initiate a meeting to discuss performance expectations and how you are meeting those standards. The last thing you should want is to walk into a performance evaluation and be blind-sided by surprise commentary regarding performance-related issues that you did not know existed or to be surprised by criteria/standards that you did not know would be applied to you in your capacity on the job.
While part of the onus for knowing standards and expectations resides with each employee, clearly the bulk of the responsibility is with supervisors/managers. These are the individuals that are monitoring and guiding many of the day-to-day activities of workers. And, these are often the members of management that will conduct or oversee the performance evaluations for their department, unit, etc.
During the course of a performance review period, supervisors/managers should:
-- Keep employees on track with goals and objectives that have been predefined, discussed, and agreed upon by each employee—based on their individual job;
--Provide employees with assignments that help them work towards the defined goals and objectives;
--Provide employees with opportunities to learn new skills and increase their knowledge in their job/field;
--Keep thorough notes on the performance of each person they supervisor or manage;
--Solicit feedback (positive and negative) from those who work closely with each employee and maintain notes on those comments. Supervisors and managers need to ensure they are KNOWLEDGEABLE INFORMANTS about their subordinates. They should not make assumptions or listen to hearsay. It is their job to have an accurate idea of how each employee is performing their duties;
--Discuss performance goals, objectives, and coworker feedback—formally or informally—several times per year with each subordinate;
--Provide negative feedback to employees with enough time for the employee to show improvement during the performance period. If the negative feedback happens near the end of the performance period, it may be too late for the employee to make adjustments. However, if the behavior is atypical, the supervisor or manager should not write about any negative behaviors or incidents as though they were the standard way the employee performed or behaved during the review period;
--Avoid surprising subordinates with negative comments and accusations that were NEVER made during the review period. Something that was an issue during the first 3 months of the review period, but was never raised as an issue, should not be thrown out during a performance review because the employee was not allowed an opportunity to refute any allegations or to know there was some performance or behavioral deficiency that required adjustments in behavior; and
--Avoid making performance judgments based on the employee’s personality, race, education level, etc.
Many supervisors and managers, even those that give employee goals and objectives, do not keep thorough notes on employee performance throughout the year. Instead, they wait until they must draft/write performance evaluations before they get into deep Q&A sessions with those who have managed or worked alongside their subordinates.
Therefore, it’s important to:
--Maintain your own record of your accomplishments and achievements;
--Keep all congratulatory emails and cards from internal and external clients;
--Outline how you have met each goal and objective agreed upon with your supervisor/manager;
--Keep a log of any publications, awards, presentations, etc. that occurred during the performance period;
--Maintain a list of new skills you’ve added to your repertoire at work; and
--Keep a list showing the impact of your contributions at work (e.g., you brought in new clients, saved money by streamlining procedures, etc.)
You can do a lot to make your performance evaluation truly reflect your contributions to the company. Make your supervisor and manager have huge hurdles to jump, should they decide to give into the temptation of discriminating against you by intentionally marginalizing your contributions to the work force or by making false claims about your performance in order to deliberately stifle your career.
Show that you have been keeping track of your performance and can PROVE you have a strong work ethic, produce high quality work, are professional, and that you are and should be valued as an employee.