The Garbage Dump

A colleague of mine just went through her performance review. She has had 5 years of stellar reviews with “excellent” in virtually all categories she was rated in. This year she was rated as a solid performer in some categories, “acceptable” in the vast majority of categories and “unacceptable” in a few others. When she showed me the review I was shocked. The garbage…and I do mean GARBAGE that was used to justify the “unacceptable” ratings was beyond my comprehension!

In one area to justify the “unacceptable” ONE example of an interaction with an internal customer was brought up where the internal customer complained about how he was treated by my colleague. Ironically, my colleague was actually following proper procedures and the internal client did not like it! WOW! That was it…one incident and my collegue was never talked to about the incident at the time it took place! Double WOW! My colleague was devastated, demoralized and PISSED! And guess what…she decided it’s time to look for a new job because she is not going to be treated like that and feels she deserves better…and she does.

Performance appraisals are NOT the place to dump all your garbage. The idea is to clean up your trash as it accumulates. Would you leave garbage on the floor of your house and pick it up every year? I think not. When an employee makes a mistake…bring it up to them immediately…and certainly give them an opportunity to tell their side of the story.

But the problem goes deeper than that. As my colleague got talking with her co-workers it became apparent that this same trend of going from stellar to “lousy” performance had occurred across the entire department. Why? The organization is under competitive pressure to reduce costs and the department manager is now positioning every employee so he can “exit” them if he needs to make cutbacks. In one case a person has NEVER had review in 15 years and now got a lousy review similar to that of my colleague.

This is a large organization by the way…not some mom and pop place that doesn’t know better. They should know better! Yet my colleague’s boss and HR have allowed it to happen. But the problem will work itself out. Why? Because every employee in the department has reworked their resume…I know…I got asked to help a few of them. Their plan. Leave on their own terms because they have no desire to work in a garbage dump!

Jeff Kortes

jeff@humanassetmgt.com

Jeff speaks and conducts workshops regularly in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana. He draws on his experiences as a human resources professional, father, coach, martial artist and U.S. Army veteran to provide thought-provoking programs that yield results.