Performance reviews

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Sonic#
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Performance reviews

Postby Sonic# » Mon Feb 20, 10:20 2017

I have a performance review once a year as part of my current teaching position. I have a meeting with my immediate superior (program director or department chair), I tell them what I've been up to in terms of research/teaching/service, they write a letter for the higher-up administration (Dean's office?) using observations of my work, what I've reported, and teaching evaluation data, and I go on with my life. I'm in academia right now, so I'm wondering what other people go through for performance reviews.

When I read about other careers, it sounds like performance reviews happen at least twice a year, and perhaps quarterly. I associate them with business, engineering, and design workplaces, though that may be because of who I tutor and who I hear talking about them the most. They also sound like something that's been formalized over the past 20 years, as metrics, data-based decisionmaking, and similar buzzconcepts have developed in business.

So, for the people not in your field, what do they call a performance review? What's your performance review process like? What do you like or not like about it? Any tips for people who undergo them?

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rowan
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Re: Performance reviews

Postby rowan » Mon Feb 20, 11:10 2017

I get about zero performance reviews. It's kind of weird. Other places I've been did an observation every year, this place I've been observed...once? I think it's pretty poor practice not to do reviews to be honest.

When I was in grad school we had "self reviews" and then the faculty reviewed those. Your continuation in the program was contingent on those somehow. But they were not done very well and of course mostly you just wrote what your advisor told you, which if your advisor was abusive (problematic of course in many ways) you had no recourse against anything because they wouldn't recognize what was really going on. Anyway. I could go on about that but won't.

In my past job before grad school we had yearly reviews that were really good. Your supervisor and a few other people would work on identifying things you did and then you added to it. I learned a lot about how to actually evaluate myself, and learned to track what I do pretty well (I haven't been doing this here because no one cares? I should anyway). They were really supportive and helped me gain a lot of confidence, and pointed out a lot of things that I would have otherwise missed that I contributed to the team.. I think that's what a good manager does. Oh they actually also had a rubric which helped a ton.

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DarkOne
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Re: Performance reviews

Postby DarkOne » Mon Feb 20, 12:16 2017

Performance reviews where I work are a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham. My annual performance review form is due this week, so I was literally working on it today.

The way our formal process is supposed to work:
(1)At the beginning of the year, my supervisor hands me down a list of enterprise goals related to my industry (for example, reaching sales goals, reaching program milestones, reaching professional development goals...)
(2) Based on these company objectives, I set a number of personal professional objectives and I define specific action steps to achieve those goals. I meet with my supervisor to review/adjust goals to make sure we agree I’m running towards where I should be running.
(3) At the middle and the end of the year I list my professional progress and/or accomplishments so far and explain how these support my initial annual goals.
(4) I hold a review meeting with my supervisor where we discuss said progress and/or accomplishments and we discuss whether or not I am on track to meet my goals, whether or not I’m meeting or exceeding expectations, and where there is room for improvement.
(5)Following the final yearly review, they assign to my performance a score between 1 to 5 based on certain predetermined criteria, and that score determines my merit raise.

The way it actually works here:
(1) At the beginning of the year, my supervisor hands me down a list of very high level enterprise goals on which my work has no direct effect.
(2) Based on these high level company objectives, I become a word magician to come up with Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, Timely personal professional objectives that somehow connect what I actually do here to each one of those abstract company goals. I meet with my supervisor where he reminds me that I need to attach specific project tasks that have not been defined yet and target completion dates to these goals that are different from “end of year”. I get no credit in my performance review for clairvoyance.
(3) At the middle and the end of the year I list my professional progress and/or accomplishments so far and explain how these support my initial annual goals.
(4) I hold a review meeting with my supervisor where we he tells me how well I did (with some minimal constructive criticism), BUT...
(5) No matter how well I do throughout the year, my supervisor insists to my entire group that they can’t give out the scores they would like to give us which reflect our actual performance and our supervisor's level of satisfaction with our work, because everyone’s performance score have already been pre-determined (since before the mid-year review) by someone to which we don’t report, based on certain unknown criteria that are documented right next to the map to El Dorado, and those "estimates" cannot be changed now... In my 1-on-1 meeting my supervisor feeds me a line about “You’re getting a score a bit higher than the average, but still not as high as I’d have liked. Not everyone scored as high so keep it on the down low.” Everyone else I know who I trust enough to discuss personal reviews seems to have gotten the same line. :eyebrow:

Very little of what I do every year is driven by my initial goals. Day-to-day, I just get my job done as well and as fast as possible. The performance review process does very little to help me improve as a worker, or to make me feel like my raise has anything to do with what I did this year. I would love to have real performance reviews that push me towards continuous improvement. The way my company implements it, it’ lip-service to the process, but mostly a waste of time.


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