Cubicle Confidential

Evaluation Blues

March 29, 2023 Mary Abbajay & Chris DeSantis Season 3 Episode 92
Cubicle Confidential
Evaluation Blues
Show Notes

How do you feel when you hear the phrase “performance feedback?” If that makes a chill run down your spine, you’re not alone.

This week, we hear from listeners who are grieving over giving or receiving performance evaluations at work. Tune in to hear Mary and Chris’s suggestions to take the pain out of feedback.

Round and Round in Galveston just received their first 360 performance review. The feedback report was mixed – with three people saying they were easy to work with while two others felt they were uncommunicative and distant. Based on this information, their boss said they need to do a better job of connecting with people. Without knowing the source of the feedback or why it was said, they feel like there isn’t much they can do about it. Could this be more of a popularity contest than a review? What should they do with this feedback?

Catch 22 in South Carolina works for a company with a stacked rating system where they must rank 10% of their direct reports as exceptional, 80% somewhere in the middle, and 10% assigned to the bottom. The problem is that their team doesn’t align with the mandated bell curve as they have more than 10% as exceptional no one falls close to being in the bottom 10%. Senior management takes note of managers who don’t follow the curve allotment, which means they would be risking their own raise and any chance of promotion if they don’t rate them as instructed. On the flip side, they may lose people if they follow the rating scale. Is there any way out of this strict system? Help!

Tomato, Tomato in Topeka is an HR professional responsible for compiling feedback and scrubbing the sources to keep it anonymous. An issue arises when several of the raters have very different views of the junior consultants.  Raters can give wildly different ratings on the same traits being evaluated.  Someone could get a “5” in “demonstrates good judgment” from one person and get a “1” from another. They suspect this is due to rater problems and not employee problems since they know some of these raters, and, well, they wouldn’t know good judgment if they were dating it. Is there a way to get better, more consistent ratings from the raters?

We’re here to help you succeed! Send us your workplace dilemmas or career questions. Email us: or tweet us: @cubicleconfide1. All names will be changed to protect the guilty and innocent...

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