Finally, A Performance Question That Doesn't Involve AnonAskMe...
November 16, 2005 6:51 AM   Subscribe

What's the best performance review process you have ever gone through at a company? What did it involve? Why do you feel it was a good process?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow to Work & Money (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The best one I ever went through was a 360 review, where my boss ripped me a new one. He was ruthlessly honest and it really helped me to reevaluate my efforts and my personality. I really respected him for doing that because we were good friends. And it gave me actual issues to work on, and ways to make progress.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:54 AM on November 16, 2005

My boss always starts them by saying, "There shouldn't be any surprises during your review, otherwise I'm not doing my job." He'd rather address performance issues continually rather than wait for reviewtime.
posted by sublivious at 7:01 AM on November 16, 2005

The last two jobs I had never did any sort of performance review. Never. I think it made it easier for them to freeze salaries and cut benefits. No official review=No record to base compensation (or increase thereof) on.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:08 AM on November 16, 2005

I think a self-evaluation component is extremely important, both when giving and recieving reviews. I prefer this process:

Employer creates a form listing the qualities and performance skills to be evaluated, with abundant space for comment.

At time of hire, or whenever it is updated, the employee recieves a blank copy of the form. This informs the person about what skills they'll be evaluated on, so that everyone is clear what areas will be observed, monitored, and discussed.

About two weeks prior to the review, the employee gets a blank, dated copy of the form. He or she can fill it out at home, taking time to do a self-evaluation. AT the same time, the employer fills it out in consultation with anyone else on the supervisory team.

At the meeting, the comments on the forms are compared point-by-point. Either the employee or the employer can speak first, depending on your style or company philosophy (it changes the emphasis of the review). I like it when the employee speaks first. You compare notes. Significant differences in perception are directly addressed.

There is a separate review form which has categories for issues addressed, goals for the coming year, significant accomplishments. This serves as a summary of the discussion.

Employee and employer both sign the summary form. Employer makes copies of supervisor evaluation, employee self-evaluation, and summary form. One copy is given to the employee for his or her records, the other goes into the employee's personnel file in the office.

I love this system because:
- it's not top-down; it's a two-way conversation
- it allows the employee to highlight areas of strength that may have escaped the employee's notice
- it is quite revealing of the employee's self-perception
-it is focused on goals and outcomes
- it generates a very detailed paper trail which is useful down the line in addressing chronic problems, considering promotions, or giving references
- itcreates a record of any disagreements on performance issues as well as the issues themselves
-it's structured, and more fair than just having a conversation based solely on the employer's perception
posted by Miko at 7:43 AM on November 16, 2005 [1 favorite]

My boss does one occasionally. He talks to each person individually, and asks 3 questions:
1. Name the least productive person in the office and explain why.
2. Name the most productive person in the office and explain why.
3. Name three things you can do to increase the quality of your work without working overtime.

Needless to say, "I don't know" answers won't cut it.
posted by cleverusername at 7:46 AM on November 16, 2005

After working without performance reviews for two years before I got my current job, just having reviews was a huge relief.

Starting about three months before my review was due, I started meeting with my boss every few weeks to talk about my personal performance challenges -- I'd ask him how he thought I was doing, and discuss areas where I wanted to improve. Making feedback a regular part of our interactions really helped at review time, I think.

The official process itself was fairly standard. I rated myself on a scale of 1 to 5 on a number of items (adding 1 to whatever I thought I actually deserved as part of a clever ploy to get more money). My boss rated me on the same criteria. We sat down, discussed the ratings -- which essentially didn't diverge at all, because we'd had so many conversations about goals and performance. Together we came up with three goals for the year ahead, which were things we'd already talked about too. It was nice.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:46 AM on November 16, 2005

sublivious nails it bang on.

I think a review should include the following components:

1. a self evaluation done before the review.
2. a review of the points taken from the last review.
3. an assessment of points improved.
4. an assessment of points that need improvement. This should include discussion what might be causing these weaknesses and asking the person what they think the reasons might be (could be something outside the work place, could be one specific employee, could be bad coffee).
5. a list of goals/objectives to achieve concerning current role.
6. a discussion of steps to be taken to allow the person's career to develop including training, responsibilities, mentoring, etc. (this may require just asking questions, this may require making suggestions to the person, it should be freeform.
7. a discussion of salary/bonus/performance pay.
8. an overview of when/how the employee plans to use his vacation time over the next 6/12 months.
9. Open forum.

Be sure to start and end with a positive note.
posted by furtive at 9:17 AM on November 16, 2005 [1 favorite]

I think an important point that hasn't been mentioned here is the importance of peer feedback. Self-evaluation is really important, as is getting your boss's views, but having the reviewer collect feedback from other people you work with can be very useful. Lots of times it is more difficult for peers to provide open and honest feedback (positive or negative) than for a boss, so this gives you a chance to find out more about how people view your work. I have been in places that required peer feedback from at least 3 people for every review, which might be a little too time-consumng, but 1 or 2 well-chosen people can provide some great insight. You can use a similar form to what you use for self-eval or the overall evaluation, and ask for specific examples of feedback. The reviewer should compile these responses into an anonymized feedback form. This can also be a great way to go "on the record" about how you think a colleague is doing, either good or bad.
posted by babar at 9:26 AM on November 16, 2005

My boss does one occasionally. He talks to each person individually, and asks 3 questions:
[Questions 1, 2, and 3 not repeated here.]

A really great boss might ask a fourth question:

4. What can I do to help you do your job better?

I've only had one boss who even came close to asking that question: He said to think about possible answers, and we'd talk about it later. But the subject never came up again [he was kind of busy; I didn't want to push].
posted by WestCoaster at 1:14 PM on November 16, 2005

>What can I do to help you do your job better?


Am I doing anything that makes your job harder?
posted by futility closet at 1:47 PM on November 16, 2005

cleverusername: if my boss asked me those three questions and wanted truthful answers, I'd say 1) "you - because while you're good at making yourself look productive, it costs the company the productivity of your ten underlings to service your needs", 2) "me? I can't tell whether other designers didn't finish because they had more technically difficult problems" and 3) "already done. I've come to you every week with suggestions to reduce our bureaucracy and increase our productivity. You appear to just ignor them."

I think any boss who asks such superficial questions is going to get unproductive answers.
posted by mediaddict at 9:52 PM on November 16, 2005

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