Write your performance review with facts

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Aug 05

Writing your performance review is critical to your success because most often it it the only performance data your manager has before making a decision on your pay and bonus. Why? Because performance reviews in large companies have to go through the rating and ranking process to determine pay raises and bonuses. Which all means performance reviews are part of the budget process. Are you sitting on the fence between a great rating and an above-average rating? If budgets get cut, most likely your rating will too.

Give your manager facts to fight with

If you write your performance review with facts, you give your manager ammunition to answer the perceptions of your performance.

Let me give you a real example. I rated a person above average in performance and it was this person’s first above average rating in a long time. That rating got questioned by my manager looking to reduce the number of above average ratings (and, therefore, budget). Because of the numbers we were using to track performance, I was able to tell my manager that this person ranked first in the department in three different metrics. “Didn’t know that,” my manager said. “That’s great work.” Case closed. Pay raise and a higher bonus for that person.

Perception and facts

But, without the facts, the perception would have carried the day and my direct report would have gotten hit with a percentage less raise and a bonus that would not have been as much. This is money you lose that you never knew you lost.

As Cubicle Warriors, we don’t want to let money slip out of our hands without us ever knowing it because our manager didn’t have facts to fight for our rating, raise, and bonus.

That’s why it is important to include facts in your self-evaluation for your performance review. Not that you worked long hours. Not that you get along great with your team. But that you beat your goal by 5%. You saved the company $100,000. You reduced the cycle time by one day.

Your work performance already has a perception in managers who decide your ratings and rankings. The only way to improve that perception is to do the work — and present your facts to back it up.

Where are the facts about your performance?

  • […] This poor content results in them turning over their performance rating to the whims of what the manager remembers about their performance. Mangers get to walk into calibration sessions with other managers and talk about their perceptions of their employees rather than the facts about their performance. […]

  • […] performance review has never been the most fun task to do at work. And while I write about having specific facts in your performance review and ensuring you write your performance review because it protects your interests, I’m not a […]

  • […] change — including many of the articles here on Cube Rules. I can tout the reasons you “Write Your Performance Review with Facts” or how to answer the “forced choice interview […]

  • You highlight a key problem with annual performance reviews — data must be remembered and it’s only coming from one source. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if managers had data at their fingertips on exceptional employee performance as determined by employee peers as well as management? And what if that information was benchmarked against other employees in the department and across the company as a whole?

    Strategic employee recognition solutions solve the problem by enabling frequent peer-to-peer and manager-to-employee recognition of behaviors and actions that reflect the company values and contribute to achievement of strategic objectives. By tying each recognition to a value or objective, managers are able to chart which employees are being recognized more frequently and for demonstrating which values. Of course, those values or employees not being recognized are an effective lagging indicator as well.

    Such a system is one of the most positive ways of implementing a 360 degree, ongoing performance review system.

    More details on the concept and insight from others available here:

    • Scot says:

      Derek — I think it would be nice if employees, not just managers, had data at their fingertips for their performance. Indeed, as noted in “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job,” the inability of an employee to measure their own performance independent of their manager is one of the key issues with engaging in the work.

      The hard part of performance management for both the employee and the manager is the difficulty in establishing measurements for the individual work contribution to goals. Many, if not most, reporting systems only take reporting to the department or the project level — and that isn’t granular enough to measure performance for individuals.

      For example, coming into a group, I had specific sets of knowledge articles assigned to individuals and a goal to reduce calls to a support center through reading and using the knowledge solutions. The problem? The reporting could get to what the effect was for ALL knowledge articles — but not the ones assigned to one individual in my group so I could rate the performance or allow the employee to measure their own impacts on the goal through what they were doing with their group of articles.

      Now, fortunately, we were able to change the reporting to accommodate getting measurements to individuals, but how many companies are willing to spend money to change their reporting systems to measure individuals?

      As for your second paragraph, it’s tough to get past the Corporate Speak. I’m not a fan of peer-to-peer reviews, but that’s the subject of a different article. But, the takeaway I have from your second paragraph is that managers and employees have to agree on goals, the measurement for the goals, and execute the review process consistently even though it might be for a 360-degree review (or any other one). Not easily done.

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