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The dreaded end of year review

(28 Posts)
lizzieoak Thu 29-Sep-16 18:08:29

Can I just say how much I loathe these? And u assume they are a new thing? I don't recall them before the noughties. My most recent manager thought she had to find things to nitpick about so she'd have us cc her on all our emails (sometimes well over a hundred a day). These reviews would go on for up to an hour. You had to appear "willing to take on board criticism" (I was brilliant at this apparently but it really, really flustered me & demoralized me). When I gently rebuffed her repeatedly saying I could have my immediate supervisor's job when he left she started getting really antsy over my "lack of ambition & confidence". Yes, I'm not ambitious & my confidence is not great - due to the incessant Fucking Nitpicking.

Anyone else loathe reviews? I have read that they are detrimental to workplace moral & don't serve much purpose.

HereIAm20 Thu 29-Sep-16 18:48:58

They should go both ways too and are useful if there are sections asking what training you'd like, what your goals are etc and sets out a plan as to how the employer will help you achieve these.

lizzieoak Thu 29-Sep-16 19:16:02

That workplace did offer training & I took workshops when they were offered. I didn't/don't have goals though. Just strive to show up, do the work well, get on with people, go home.

I'd like to see managers reviewed - anonymously of course! That might put an end to this.

StealthPolarBear Thu 29-Sep-16 19:18:43

Well your goals are as valid as the ones she has in mind for you!
And .anger should be reviewed. Our forms have a section for upward feedback and if constructive it can be very useful.

lizzieoak Thu 29-Sep-16 19:30:47

I've never worked anywhere where management could be reviewed. So there's always a lot of forelock tugging involved and smiling while feeling slated. If we could just be left to get on with it that would be perfect for me.

Vvlgari Thu 29-Sep-16 19:41:38

I loathe them. Most companies I've worked for have a 1-5 system and your score determines your pay rise/bonus.

In reality, there are two 1s three 2s, ten 3s etc etc and management have decided in advance who will get them, so the fact we're forced to write self-reviews and submit them before the end of year meeting is an utterly pointless exercise, especially as most managers admit they don't read them. The whole system is completely reliant on people making a big song and dance about their achievements so their manager knows about it before the review is written.

I've had years when I've worked my arse off, completed huge projects, put in place all kinds of stuff which has been adopted as standard by the company and got given a 4. Other years I've done the bare minimum and got a 2. It's totally meaningless and even the feedback doesn't help guide you as to what you did right or wrong.

Can you tell I'm not a corporate person? grin

EBearhug Thu 29-Sep-16 20:14:28

They can be useful, an opportunity to review what you've done over the year, both good and bad. It helps to have a manager who is good at coaching and who can give constructive feedback with concrete examples. There are quite a few managers who have been promoted for their technical skills rather than their people skills, and while some rise to the challenge, and/or get useful training, not all do, and don't really have the skills to do the review process well. Some people just treat them as box-ticking exercises, but others do think more about what skills and experience are needed in the next year.

Managers can have 360 degree reviews with us. I've given feedback on two or three. I've also given feedback directly to my line manager, and I've mailed other people's managers to say they've been great to work with on project X or whatever. I have also complained to people's managers, but I do try to balance it and point out when people have done good work.

The concept of performance-related pay and bonuses is mostly bollocks though - that appears to have more to do with favourites.

Viviene Thu 29-Sep-16 20:21:55

I hate those. One of mine in the last job was 6hrs long and involved my manager talking to/at me while looking outside the window and never at me.
It was lovely. Couldn't wait until the next one so I resigned :-)

lizzieoak Thu 29-Sep-16 20:52:06

Yes! So much of it seems to be that the ones who are good at pointing at their pointy heads and shouting "I am fabulous & indispensable!" Get good reviews. The more introverted do not. And yes, they go on and on. And the self-reviews? Nightmare!

The whole thing makes me feel like I'm applying for my own job - every damn year (or in the case of the last job, we had to do it every six months). And I hate having to seem grateful to receive criticism, particularly as it often comes from managers who have never done my job & don't understand what it takes to do it successfully. I can't wait to retire.

daisychain01 Sun 02-Oct-16 07:42:41

Annual reviews are fine when they are a balance between things done well /achievements and "opportunities for improvement.

When reviews become skewed towards the negative (which they have become in recent years), minimising good work ("but that's part of your job description") they are demoralising and demeaning.

Then it becomes a question of how can I brown nose through the year so my review is good.

It can generate a whole layer of negative toxic behaviours which defeats the object of a highly functioning workforce. Management have targets on how many poor, good excellent ratings to give, so look for tiniest misdemeanours to magnify.

I do find them uncomfortable but recognise they are a necessary evil and just keep my head down and just do my best ( and avoid the "noise inevitably caused by them).

TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Sun 02-Oct-16 07:50:35

They make a mockery of statistics. Managers tend to manage just a few people but must apply the same bell curve to their little team no matter if they're all crap or all brilliant. So you end up having to give people who are good a crap score because someone has to get a 2. It's utter shite.
I loathe these reviews - my previous boss was great - with her it was 'right, you did well on this this and this- let's work on that because that wasn't quite so good. What are your plans for next year?' With current boss I feel like she's racking up a certain no of misdeeds so everyone is on last notice. It's incredibly demoralising. Same job, different boss, and I've gone from loving it to loathing it.

outofdepth Sun 02-Oct-16 08:00:09

There should never be any surprises in a mid year or annual review. Feedback should be timely and constructive. Do you have regular weekly 1-1s? That's the time for you to share your achievements and to discuss anything you are finding challenging. When your manager gives feedback, it should always be with an specific instance not a generic Statement.

You can turn this around, next year make sure you have SMART objectives and set up the regular 1-1s . Then when your annual review comes there will be no surprises.

ImogenTubbs Sun 02-Oct-16 08:06:53

They should be 360 degree so you get feedback from people of all levels and you should be invited to contribute to the reviews of those more senior than yourself.

Yes, they're always a bit nerve wracking, but when done properly they can be extremely useful and sometimes a turning point in development. When I did reviews, my aim was that nothing should be a complete surprise - if there was a problem I would have raised it at the time and then the review is a formal opportunity to discuss ways of addressing it. It's bad form to save up bombshells for a review.

daisychain01 Sun 02-Oct-16 08:07:18

There should never be any surprises in a mid year or annual review

That's right, now it's great, people get shite thrown at them all year round grin

ImogenTubbs Sun 02-Oct-16 08:39:20

Ha ha - good stuff too daisychain!

TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Sun 02-Oct-16 08:45:32

outof that's what I do with my reporting line.
My manager regularly cancels 1:1s and is terrible at managing people. She's the VPs buddy though, so ...

Ifailed Sun 02-Oct-16 08:46:51

Agree with the OP. Inevitably you have already been placed on the bell curve, and unless your manager likes you they won't fight for you to get a higher score. Hence they have to work backwards from a stance of "OK, but could do better" and point out all the things you did that weren't up to scratch (many of which were not raised at 1-2-1s), so it just turns into a load of negative bullshit.
Best approach is to smile weakly and nod a lot, and be thankful its only once a year.

EBearhug Sun 02-Oct-16 08:49:06

It's bad form to save up bombshells for a review.

Absolutely - fine to mention it in the review, but it shouldn't be news.

Managers tend to manage just a few people but must apply the same bell curve to their little team no matter if they're all crap or all brilliant.
I agree with this, too - and what it doesn't recognise is that if a team really works well together, then the performance of all of them will improve (and vice versa for a group of people who fail to work as a team.)

TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Sun 02-Oct-16 08:58:35

Mines a nightmare. She made some pretty personal criticisms. I tried my best 'ok I'm not sure I recall such a thing, but of course I'll work on any feedback...can you give me a specific time this happened so I can understand?'

She went nuts and demanded I recall the email ... she's awful. I've had my confidence knocked so much in this job. Unfortunately it's well paid and one of the few English speaking jobs in the country I live in, so not so easy to just walk away.

heron98 Sun 02-Oct-16 10:54:40

Hate them too. Hate any form of criticism, really struggle with what to say in response to the questions.

One year I said I really just was happy plodding along and didn't really have any grand ambition to progress. I think it really threw my manager! I haven't said it since, even though it's true.

treaclesoda Sun 02-Oct-16 11:04:32

I've never worked anywhere that they have been constructive. The one (huge) company that I worked for made a big song and dance out of them, and SMART objectives etc but if you achieved all your objectives for the year, they would add something extra in on your year end review to ensure that you couldn't get your payrise. Or you would sign off on your review and then discover that the manager had amended it after your meeting. Plus, the company would insist on talking about 'development opportunities' etc but didn't actually allow staff to step outside their very rigidly defined roles, or to attend training courses etc. It was utterly demoralising, staff just dreaded them.

IrenetheQuaint Sun 02-Oct-16 11:09:54

My experience is that annual reviews are depressing, demotivating and a massive waste of time for all involved. Much better to have regular less formal discussions to address any issues and praise achievements.

SwedishEdith Sun 02-Oct-16 11:19:15

Managers can have 360 degree reviews with us. I've given feedback on two or three. I've also given feedback directly to my line manager, and I've mailed other people's managers to say they've been great to work with on project X or whatever.

That's not considered feedback by employer. To be "useful" it has to include something you could do better. Feedback saying you did a great job is considered to be worthless. grin Great for morale, eh. Oh, and 360 degree feedback is allowed in theory but it will definitely be remembered, negatively, at the end of the year.

OllyBJolly Sun 02-Oct-16 11:36:26

Sooner we ditch these from the corporate calendar the better! Just perpetuates employment as a continuation of a dysfunctional parent/child relationship.

A few companies I work with have a mantra "Management is a job, not a status" and encourage everyone to work together to make the company more effective.

Performance reviews should be based on the following: Everyone is an adult. Everyone can be better at what they do. Most people know themselves without being told. It's in the company's interest to give people the authority and tools to do the best job they can.

The only people I hear defending appraisals etc are HR people (and I used to be one!). Even with this sector they are fast going out of fashion.

lizzieoak Sun 02-Oct-16 14:21:28

Olly, yes this is chiefly what I struggle with - I find it infantalizing to have to sit in the naughty chair and be chastised.

My last manager had no idea of the shit sandwich, it was just a plate of shit. If I said "well, I think I'm pretty good at (job title)" she's wave her hand and say "oh, anyone can (job title)", it was the tiny part of the job that was like her job that she wanted me to do perfectly All The Time. If I made a mistake she kept note of it (though everyone in the dept made mistakes, she became focussed on 2 of us). Then berated me for lack of confidence.

I just think most people want to do their job well & when people have to undergo these things it breeds resentment. An annual reminder that you're at someone's mercy.

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