Handling the Dreaded 'Meets Expectations' Evaluations



Q: I was very unhappy with the “meets expectations” rating I received on my performance evaluation for 2018. I don’t think my supervisor has a good idea of what I do.  He thinks he does, but I actually do a lot more than what he’s aware of. I’m trying to figure out how to reply to the evaluation without sounding defensive. Do you have any suggestions for what I should write in the “employee comments” section?

A: This is one of those problems that can be so harmful to the employment relationship, (your morale suffers, your supervisor loses credibility), and yet it’s so easy to prevent by using a common HR best practice we call the ‘Self-Evaluation’.

I certainly applaud any employer that conducts performance evaluations. We all know that setting expectations and giving people feedback on their performance are essential to any successful team. But one thing that makes the whole endeavor even better (and prevents the problem you’re describing) is when you include ‘Self-Evaluations’.

So what’s a self-evaluation?  It’s simply a one page form where you give the employee a chance to list their most significant accomplishments and contributions of the year.  They can also list improvements to their position; to customer service; self-improvement; increases in efficiency, in quality; going above and beyond the scope of the job; activities to improve teamwork, you get the idea.

In your situation, you might be able to couch your “employee comments” in the context of a self-assessment (although I wouldn’t use the label). This way it doesn’t sound like as defensive or as a complaint, but more like “Here’s some additional information to consider”.

Going forward, even if your employer doesn’t use self-evaluations there is nothing to prevent you from doing one on your own next year (lots of free templates online).  Then give it to your supervisor, before he evaluates you.

Note to employers:  I also like to use the form to give  employees a chance to give input, so the evaluation process is more of a two-way street.  For example try asking:

What changes would you make to make this a better place to work?

How can your supervisor and the company assist you in taking your performance to its full potential?


Originally published on HR Box blog.




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