Question of the Week

In Your Experience, Are Performance Reviews Objective and Fair?

Last week, we noted a op-ed by a management professor in which he panned the use of supervisor-conducted performance reviews as a way to evaluate employees.

“In my years studying such reviews, I’ve learned that they are subjective evaluations that measure how ‘comfortable’ a boss is with an employee, not how much an employee contributes to overall results,” Samuel A. Culbert, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Anderson School of Management, told the New York Times. “They are an intimidating tool that makes employees too scared to speak their minds, lest their criticism come back to haunt them in their annual evaluations.”

This made us curious about your performance review stories: learning experiences, funny moments, cautionary tales, or if you’ve ever had a review go horribly wrong.

Have you observed performance reviews to be objective and fair? If unfair, was it the fault of the format, or of the reviewer? If you’ve seen it done right, how is it done?

Answer in the comments.

Read the answers to last week’s question: Have You Ever Been Offended by a Rejection Letter? What Did It Say?

Featured answers:

Posted by KBW: “I received a rejection letter from a judge that said ‘someone else was so desperate that they took the job.’ True story. I was a little offended because he totally underestimated my desperation.”

Posted by No Habla Espanol: “I received a rejection letter in Spanish. I do not speak Spanish. My interview was conducted in English, and the ad for the job did not indicate that speaking Spanish was a job requirement. Neither my name nor my appearance indicates any Spanish heritage (probably because I do not have any). I didn’t bother to get it translated.”

Posted by keewo: “When I had just graduated law school, I applied for a job with our local Legal Aid office. Over the course of the next 6-8 months, I received not one, but FIVE generic form rejection letters. I’m sure the overkill of rejection letters was simply due to someone’s poor organizational skills, but to this day I still kind of cringe when I receive a mailing from them, including letters seeking donations.”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

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