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Advice on How to Approach Difficult Performance Reviews At Work

What motivates you at work? For some it is their salary, for others getting on with work colleagues. A recent survey held the biggest single motivator is people’s enjoyment of their role. However, that same survey carried out by the Institute of Leadership and Management, revealed that 25% of employees think their appraisals are performed poorly by management.

Appraisals and performance reviews are an important part of your professional development. Recognition for work done and constructive, supportive feedback on improving performance can be key motivators. If you feel that that you are failing to meet the standards required but you are not being helped to achieve them, you are likely to feel demotivated very quickly. Equally, if you work hard and perform well you will feel frustrated if your efforts are never recognised or rewarded.

When things aren’t going well at work and you are struggling to meet expectations but feel unsupported you need to know what to do to turn things around. You need to know where to turn if you feel that management is failing to properly manage your performance and motivate you in your role.

Your employer should draw your attention to areas of concern and help you improve. It should not keep frustrations with your performance simmering below the surface and then suddenly criticise you without warning during your performance review. Your review should be a consolidation of your performance and should not contain surprises.

If your employer decides that a more formal performance management is necessary then it should set clear goals for improvement and a time scale for you to achieve them by. If you feel that targets set are unrealistic and you are being set up to fail you should seek advice and speak to your employer.

It is always best to try and resolve problems at work informally in the first instance. You may be surprised how your employer responds if you voice your concerns.

However, if you continue to feel that you are being badly managed at work and you have not been able to resolve the matter informally or through performance reviews then you may want to consider raising a grievance and/or appeal against any performance review rating. Your employment contract or handbook should outline your employer’s grievance procedure. Your employer should deal with your grievance promptly. You should have the right to be accompanied at any grievance hearing and if your grievance is not upheld you should have the right to appeal.

Hopefully you are the one of the one in four who feels that your appraisals are well managed. It is important to remember that when you attend your appraisal it should be an opportunity for you to ask questions, seek guidance and clarify issues and your employer should conduct it fairly.

Please contact us if you require any further advice regarding performance issues. Call freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online.

Caroline Philipps is a Employment Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

Slater and Gordon have offices across England, Scotland & Wales.