Performance Reviews

Performance Reviews in the workplace Part 3 – The Meeting

By on January 22, 2019

The D-day – The actual day of performance review meeting. How the meeting is executed is determined by a couple of factors. The first primarily dependent on the preparedness of both manager and employee. And the second on the the company culture. Lastly on the mentality and attitude of all parties involved.


The last one is basically derived from the company culture. If there is a animosity or a general feeling of negativity in the workplace, it will get reflected in the individual behaviours. And if the company promotes harmony and collaboration in the workplace, then likewise that will be reflected in everyone’s behaviour more or less.


Situation 1:



Ray: John’s review is at 10 AM and there’s hardly 5 mins left. Better get my morning coffee before we begin and say hi to Penny.


John: I better arrive a bit early or he’ll probably add that as a negative point in my review.


John: That’s strange! It’s been 10 mins already and he hasn’t shown up! Did he change the time and date at the last minute? I better go to my station and check if…..


John: Oh hello Ray. I thought the meeting got rescheduled!


Ray: Hello John. Good morning to you. That’s how we should start our meetings henceforth. Please keep that in mind next time.


John. Sure, will keep that in mind. It’s just that our scheduled time was 10 and it’s been a while so I wondered whether I missed an update.


Ray: Hmm, well I had another important engagement that I couldn’t get out of early. You know how it is. Or maybe you will when you become a manager a few years down the line.


John (to himself): I wonder if it’s the cafeteria server, Penny that’s important or the coffee itself. I’m guessing it’s the former.


Ray: Anyhow, enough chit-chat. Let’s get this over with and you can get back to work.


John: Okay. I have already emailed you my self assessment and replied to the questions that you had shared. Although those questions didn’t cover some of the important bits that I had worked on. So here’s a printout that explains the rest.


Ray: I hardly think I missed anything but sure. Let’s go through your list one by one.


  1. Not relevant – this was a team effort
  2. This is my responsibility – I only asked you to collate and analyze the data
  3. Maybe – wasn’t this a minor issue?
  4. Not relevant – I had to give the presentation on the slides that you shared
  5. I agree. You did support your team and you also took meeting minutes at most meetings.


John: Ray, not to be rude, but this is clearly undermining my contributions!


  1. This was a team KPI that I had to take full ownership of because Steve had other responsibilities and Sarah was on her maternity leave. I had to dedicate extra hours just to see this through on time.
  2. Collecting and analyzing the information is the major part of this assignment!
  3. It wasn’t a minor issue. My experience helped me sort it out quickly which is why it appeared minor. Believe me it required a lot of thought.
  4. While you presented it, I had to work on collecting the information from every team member and then getting it all together to make sense. I had to chase almost everyone to get this done and submit it to you on time!
  5. It wasn’t just about getting minutes of the meeting but being prepared for the upcoming meeting as well. I coordinated with everyone to ensure they had fulfilled their obligations before every meeting. It wasn’t just about noting the points discussed in the meeting.


Ray: I wouldn’t be here in my position if that was true John. I’m not just the boss’s brother-in-law you know. I have worked 3 years in the business before becoming a senior manager.


John (to himself): Right, 3 years as an executive assistant and directly being hired as a senior manager.


John: Ray, this really does not seem a fair assessment to me.


Ray: John my boy, don’t focus on the smaller things in life. Like me, aim for bigger responsibilities. I am a manager because I know how to handle things and people. You need to trust my judgement when I say this. All that is gold does not glitter.


John (to himself): Why does he keep spouting irrelevant quotes at random times?


John: So what is my final rating Ray?


Ray: I’ll send a detailed report to you. You can rest assured that you are guaranteed an Above Average. It’s a little out there but you can work harder next time.


John: Any other suggestions?


Ray: That will be all John. Now get back to work. 



By the end of the meeting, John appears clearly displeased with the assessment. Whereas, Ray is oblivious of John’s reaction. Both go back to their responsibilities. Ray works as if nothing has happened and is mildly pleased with himself for handling the assessment the way he did. John on the other hand has begun evaluating his position in the company.


Situation 2:


Rebecca and Matt are quite familiar with each other’s expectations and have prepared accordingly. There are no surprises here.


Rebecca: Good morning Matt, right on time as usual! I should really learn how you manage it so well.


Matt: Haha Good morning Rebecca! As if you need any suggestions with being punctual!


Rebecca: Sure I do. Always room for improvement right?


Matt: Absolutely agree there.


Rebecca: Good. Then shall we get started?


Matt: Yes definitely. I have updated my report with all the activities I performed in this quarter and updated the time required to complete each one of them. Do you have any feedback for me there?


Rebecca: Certainly Matt. The report is quite thorough and matches almost perfectly with the one I had created in anticipation of this meeting. I believe the results speak for themselves! Great job there Matt. You certainly went all out in ensuring your goals this time as well.


Matt: Thank you Rebecca.


Rebecca: I do have a feedback for you. While it’s great that you hit all the targets, let us focus on reducing the number of goals we are currently setting here. Now we need to aim for higher and more challenging responsibilities. What do you think?


Matt: Yes, I agree. It would be great to have a more challenging responsibility that can help me grow in my position. What exactly do you have in mind?


Rebecca: Well to begin with you can start presenting our quarterly report in front of the senior management. You are the one collecting and analyzing all the information and getting it in a presentable format. It makes sense that you present it as well.


Matt: Oh okay, that sounds great. Anything else that I can take off your hands?


Rebecca: Yes, there are one or two things that I feel you are now ready to take full responsibility of. I’ll share these separately in an email so that it can be documented as well. Do you have any questions for me?


Matt: I actually wanted to discuss about how and whether we can increase the scope of my position but you already took care of that.


Rebecca: So that concludes our meeting then. All the best for these initiatives. Keep up with the energy and enthusiasm Matt. And before I share the report, I would like to let you know that you are placed in the higher group of ratings.


Matt: Thanks Rebecca. I was hoping that my contributions and efforts would be noticed. I’ll take your leave now. Looking forward to rest of the details now.


Rebecca: Yes, you will probably receive them within the next 3 days.



As you can see, the atmosphere and attitude is completely different than what we saw earlier. Both Rebecca and Matt had a sense of achievement. Not only were the past achievements appreciated but they also set a benchmark for the upcoming quarter.


This is ideally what should happen at the end of performance reviews. If there are any shortcomings, they should be addressed as well. The more invested you are in your employee, the more engaged they will be.


In the next post, we’ll see the aftermath of both the reviews that have taken place today.

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