14 May 2010

Meets Expectations

I hate review time.

Every year, we seem to go through the same exercise. You are expected to rate/evaluate your employees for their productivity and performance over the past 12 months and you have less than a week to summarize everyone's efforts. I should be used to this. For almost 30 years, I have been in a leadership role of one form or another. First the Army followed by several manufacturing companies. I have done very simple reviews on a basic form to some complex computer system that calculates how much we get to reward (or penalize) someone for their performance. I have had as few as 3 people and as many as 35 to rate at one time. They've ranged from the fresh out of school, still wet behind the ears kids all the way to grandma who is months away from retirement. I've done hourly employees, salary employees, engineers, supervisors, managers, mechanics, sergeants, privates. After all of the hours of evaluating people and lumping them into one group or another, I still hate the process. Just when you have your system down, they change the rules/format. Been doing a particular style of review here for the past 4 years.  IMHO, the format sucks, the rating scale looks like it was made up by a drunken sailor, and you are required to rate people for some odd skills that have nothing to do with their job  This year's grades have changed as well.  Last few years you got rated a number from 1 (low) to 5 (high).  If you got a 1, you better be looking for another job.  A 5 meant you essentially walk on water.  Not many people get a 5.  I once tried to rate my team lead a 5 (felt she earned it and it was fully justified) and got a lot of crap from HR as to how my score was inflated.  For the most part, everyone fell into the 3/4 range.  This year, the grades are either EE - Exceeds Expectation, ME- Meets Expectations, NE - Needs Improvement.  Much as I disliked this format, we were used to and knew how to make it work. Of course, that means we are ripe for change. 2 weeks ago, our new HR manager rolled out an entirely new form and the overall response is, to put it mildly, less than enthusiastic. We've gone from a 3-4 page review for that rates you over different skills/traits and has various blocks to check off for the rating to a single page form with 4 open blocks that you enter in the applicable accomplishments and skills required for the job. Basically, I have to sum up your entire year's efforts in a single page. And there has been very little guidance on how this is to be filled out or what are the minimum requirements. There is much confusion down here on the farm and the natives are not happy. I worked over the weekend trying to give as much feedback and detail to make a fair assessment only to be told yesterday that I did not need all of the detail I had provided. There are a number of supervisors with 10+ people that are burning the midnight oil to get these done by Friday. The Army taught me a long time ago how to be very "loquacious" on reviews. I can take a simple sentence and make it into a full paragraph, if need be. Asking me to be brief is like asking Claire not to chase tree rats. I am lucky this year because I only have 3 reviews to give and they are positive. Over the years I have discovered that a number of people don't really care what you rate them, many are just interested in the bottom line. Great rating. How much does that translate into?  I have a few that genuinely want a high score, even if it does not give them much of an increase. There have been a few years where the raises were scarce or marginal, so I am grateful we are doing well enough to reward everyone's efforts. 


Rock Chef said...

Our review system involves the employee filling in a form about what he/she has done and how well things went. This is then discussed with the line manager and a final report done from there. At least it gives me a chance to argue that i CAN walk on water! :-)

Abby said...

I guess review time can be good or bad. "You're doing great... but we have no money for raises.." Just 3 reviews, and all of them positive. That's sounds like a good thing.

terri said...

We are required to rate employees within categories ranging from one to five, one being poor, five being excellent. The stipulation is that we cannot rank more than 20% of the group in any one category. I hate it. When you have a group of really talented people and you have to rank on such a scale, the reasons for those ranked lower become very nit-picky.

Oh, and there are 18 employees to review.

LoganO_Kellam1 said...


meleah rebeccah said...

Wow. That's difficult, trying to summarize an entire work year on a single page? Good Luck!

When I was working in the insurance industry for seven years we had to write OUR OWN reviews and then a supervisor would go over our own answers with the individual employee.

That was my LEAST favorite time of the year!