What is a Performance Review and How Can It Be a Problem?

What is a performance review and how can it be a problem?

Have you ever had a performance review?

When a company has a major problem or situation with an employee, the manager and someone from Human Resources might consider removing that person. But because that is a legal action, they can’t just fire them. Instead, a process for a formal performance review will be set up.

It is important to understand this process. Believe it or not, I have never seen a performance review resolve a situation to everyone’s satisfaction. By that point, any communications about expectations have already become a major roadblock.

This is the most important point. DO NOT LET THE COMPANY FIRE YOU. That will make finding future employers difficult for quite a few years, or maybe your whole career. Instead, be proactive and be your own advocate.

Here are some of the things you should know about performance reviews:

  • You will be a participant in a meeting with an HR representative, your boss, and maybe a lawyer or a union representative.
  • It could be a tense and stressful conversation, but it is an opportunity to lay everything about the situation out on the table.
  • You will be able to give a verbal and written rebuttal.
  • A 90-day plan will be set up with specific goals that you must meet during that time. You will have interim check-ins to find out how things are going.
  • This formal and detailed paper trail will become part of the review process. It becomes backup documentation as justification for possibly legally firing you.
  • The entire process will become part of the employee’s permanent record.

Hopefully, the process ends satisfactorily to both the employee and employer, but it isn’t guaranteed. It all depends on the performance metrics used to judge the employee under review. For example, it is public knowledge that there are problems at the Amazon distribution centers, with employees saying that unrealistic expectations are creating unsafe environments. In terms of performance metrics, they are measured on specific things like the number of packages handled during a single shift, rather than general overall performance. This is a problem for everyone, augmented by the fact that it is public.

If you are in a performance review situation, think about the facts, put your emotions to the side, and consider these three options:

Resign: You can resign. Sometimes, a company will give severance payments as a way to try and keep employees from legally challenging the complaints. BUT DO NOT LET YOURSELF GET FIRED. Hopefully, you have some financial resources that make this a realistic option.

Rebuttal: Because the company will give you the option to write a rebuttal, go ahead and do it. Be professional in the way you describe your perspective without letting your anger or frustration get in the way. This is the type of writing that a professional resume writer can help finetune.

Maybe you are just in the wrong job. If you like the company, there could be another job that is a better fit for you. Most companies would ultimately like to have you stay as a good employee, rather than to fire you.

But the bottom line is, and I cannot stress this enough, DO NOT LET YOURSELF GET FIRED.

Being under performance review isn’t an uncommon situation. I have helped many navigate their reviews as a career coach. If you are feeling stressed out and unsure of how to handle the situation, let’s talk. I offer NO CHARGE consultations. Sign up, and we can talk about how to get the best possible outcome of your performance review.