RE: A question about evaluations

Subject: RE: A question about evaluations
From: "Jones, Donna" <DJones -at- zebra -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2006 21:59:33 -0500

> What are your thoughts about the frequency and uses of
> employee performance evaluations?

Maybe I'm sick, but I like doing them, particularly if I can do a
self-evaluation that goes along with the manager's evaluation. The
self-evaluation in particular puts my job in perspective (where else can
you spell out for management your best achievements for the last year?)
and helps me set goals that I might not bother setting otherwise. I also
like knowing what my boss thinks of me so that I'm somewhat less likely
to be surprised by any changes to my employment situation.

One real drawback to performance evaluations is that they usually are
subjective, so they can be biased against you even if you're doing
everything asked of you. Evaluations can also be used to set you up if
the company wants to get rid of you but wants to lessen the risk you
winning if you sue them for discrimination. For example, "This woman was
let go after a bad evaluation for the past year, not because she's

I heard that some companies set dumb rules such as requiring that a
certain number of people in every department be ranked "below average,"
regardless of how they actually did at their jobs (kind of like a bell
curve for employees). Then in the next round of layoffs, guess who are
the first to go? That sounds to me like a quick way to lower morale
across the board and lose decent employees. You'd be working scared all
the time, never knowing where you rank in relation to your coworkers.

> At my current job I
> have to endure this every year, and I was wondering
> how common such evaluations are. Are they more common
> in software companies than others? Do they seem to be
> more common at higher-paying jobs or does the pay rate
> not matter? Are they more common among companies in
> some parts of the country than other?

In the Chicago area, where I've worked since 1990, all of the positions
where I reported directly used an annual performance evaluation of some
kind, regardless of the pay. I've worked mostly in hardware, networking,
and switching. Some contract positions used performance evaluations as
well, supposedly to decide if they were going to renew your contract
since they couldn't treat you as if you were actual employees.

If someone is afraid to go under the magnifying glass once a year or if
it's a horrifying experience for one reason or another, maybe it's time
to move on. At one place where I worked, I dreaded performance
evaluations because I couldn't seem to do anything right while others
did no wrong (ever worked there?). I didn't stay at that company any
longer than I had to, but some of the emotional scars linger on.


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A question about evaluations: From: Keith Hood

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