CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JAN. 12, 2015
version 2, draft 2

How to Respond to Unjustified Poor Performance Review

A performance review can be equated to the school report card. You waited for it with feelings of anxiety and excitement. The performance review evokes similar feelings. In most cases, you will have an idea of how you fared on. It is therefore completely demoralizing when you get a report that says poor when you know you had done better. Performance reviews are used to award promotions, set pay raises and identify weak employees. You therefore need to follow up on an unjustified poor performance review.  

Stay Calm

The immediate and expected reaction is to get angry. Remain calm without getting defensive. If you need some time to evaluate the issue, you can request for some time off. Your boss will be happy that you are thinking of finding solutions. Develop an action plan. Look over your review objectively and make an objective evaluation. You can make note of the areas where you scored poorly. Remember areas that you are especially a good performer but received a poor review and note them down.

Take Action

Once you are ready with a concrete response, do a formal letter to your boss. If your organization has a format used for performance review appeals, make sure to use that. Mention that you are appealing your review and quote the date and your reviewers. List the points you noted when you studied your review, and explain why you do not agree. Stay candid and mention the instances you remember performing exemplary that back up your position. Your review may not have reflected your improvements, mention this as well to give strength to your rebuttal.

Meet with your Boss

Before you table your views, listen to your boss. Let him give reasons for evaluating your performance negatively. Ask questions on areas that are unclear because this will help you understand what is expected of you. Give your performance review appeal and focus on the facts. Acknowledge what is positive in the review, and constructively give your differing perspective on the negative areas. Let your boss know that your focus is to find a solution to the problem and you would appreciate constructive feedback. Leave the meeting with an understanding of what is expected of you. This will guide you on your next plan of action.

Follow-up Meeting

If your meeting has been successful, and your boss has agreed to re-evaluate your performance, a follow-up meeting should be scheduled. This should be in at least a week’s time. Following your well-argued out appeal, he could be persuaded to incorporate the positive feedback in your review.

Make a Rational Decision

An unjustified review should not give you ideas about quitting. A well-analyzed situation can turn things around, and can even lead to better performance in your next review. However, the Human Resource department can be sought if meeting with your boss does not solve the problem. Remember to stay proactive at all times.

Learn the Lesson

Your next performance review might find you extremely anxious. Stay communicative and seek feedback from your boss and coworkers. Do constant self-appraisals. For instance, after any big projects, you can seek an informal review from your supervisor. This way you shall not get a review that surprises you.

It is wise to find out from co-workers how they performed at their reviews. They may also have received poor reviews and your situation may not be unique but a characteristic of a particular boss. It could be his way of challenging you to become a better performer. Once you establish this, all you need to do is improve your performance.

Image source: Levo

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