Updated April 26, 2023
Introduction to Bad Performance Review
You have used all your inner capabilities in your projects and please your boss, but when you ultimately receive your performance review feedback, it gives you a terrible jerk. You notice a couple of negative remarks alleging bad or not up-to-the-mark performance. A negative report means you can lose your reward, bonus, or promotion, or get fired. In this situation, it is natural for you to panic and gravely sink into remorse. But this is not something that should make you fall into depression as it is only bad performance review feedback and a signal for you to act and start thinking overall again about your standing, skills, and performance.
Negative performance review feedback is always contrary to our thoughts about ourselves and what we feel about ourselves. There is always a difference between what we think about our work and what others perceive about us. These reality checks are merely a realization about where we are and where we are standing, as no one player can make all the bad performance review systems in a match. So is the bad performance review feedback for employees who cannot be the robots programmed to make no mistakes. Human beings have their share of limitations and weaknesses. They must conform to their fears and not allow negative reviews to jeopardize their dreams. In case of negative remarks, they should display their mental and emotional strength and take all the negatives in a positive stride.
Here are a few steps from the experts to take that can turn the phase of the evaluation report:
1. Is your evaluation report a genuine one
Without getting into remorse, read the report very carefully and find out whether the report is coming out of any personal enmity or is professional. There can be some personal grudges with your boss on issues that landed in a bad performance review. In such a case, you can do nothing except fix a meeting with your boss over a coffee table and discuss with him about the issues. If nothing concrete comes out, then gracefully leave by placing your resignation letter on your boss’s mailbox or on the table. You know you have the capability in you to easily get a better job in some other company.
On the contrary, if the remarks or report is genuine, it needs to be worked upon or taken seriously. So start working on it, analyze your performance, fix the appointment with your boss, and discuss why and where things have gone wrong. Try to convince him that you are worried about the negative report and sincerely want to work on it.
Begin by understanding what your company/manager wants and comprehending the requirements. It is right to confess something in which you are lacking. Convince your boss that you will work on all the possibilities and would like to do things differently.
2. Keep yourself Calm and Composed
It is very hard to restrain emotional outbursts at this stage, but it is sensible to keep calm so that you can focus on the required tasks and things you have heard about. If you show your anger, the boss will think you have no interest in taking performance review feedback, and he won’t be able to help you overcome your shortcomings. Keeping cool and calm is a professional way to handle difficult feedback and find ways to resolve the same.
No doubt, many managers or boss does not give regular performance review feedback because of the lack of time or merely because giving performance review feedback is not in their nature. In the evaluation report, it is natural that you might find a statement you may not have heard of before. So instead of showing your aggression, be polite and show that you are seriously concerned about these issues and would surely work on the same. You commit to consider these negative points and see that you and your boss have landed on the same track.
3. Sign the Evaluation Report
Never refuse to sign on the evaluation report assuming that you would be saved from the negative results and the material written on it and there would be no more evaluation process. But declining to sign means you are going against the rules of the company, and it would be a mark of hostility and an adversarial move. It could also cause disrespect and harm to your reputation. However, if you disagree with any material or parts of the material in the report, you can add a note stating that you are signing it as an acknowledgment of the receipt of the report.
4. Find and Evaluate Your Weaknesses
Quite often, while analyzing the report, we miss those blind spots which we cannot guess but others can perceive quickly. There is always a gap between what we can see or find out and what others see or find about us. We need people to help us find what we are capable of, point out our weaker points, where we are lacking, and where we require improvements. You might find comfort in the laps of your friend but try to find people who are ready to criticize you, as through their criticism, you could perceive all your shortcomings and immediately start working on them. Try to get performance review feedback from your colleagues, too, as their feedback would benefit you and help you get on the self-improvement path and realize your potential.
5. Generate an Action Plan
Quite often, your boss sets up a formal performance improvement plan for their employees to work on as destined. But as an efficient worker, you could also draft an action plan for yourself. An action plan is a document where you write the details of the steps you would take to achieve your goal. The main objective of your action plan is to set up a timetable, write down the specifications of your project, the resources required, or any other help you need to complete your task. But before taking this step, find your weaknesses by comparing your work with your senior or a higher caliber person.
Break your tasks into more manageable SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based) goals and try to improve the bad performance review upon where you have been lacking. If you require training to improve your skills, you can join any part-time or distance learning course, or you can request your company for training. Many companies have policies and specially designed training programs to train their employees and upgrade their skills.
Evaluate your action plan at least once in three months to find where you have reached and the standard you have attained.
In short, your action plan involves Bad Performance Review:
- Be clear in your objectives: Find out if you can visualize the results and outcome of your action, how you perceive it, and check whether you have reached your destined position. How can you draft measurable goals and the constraints you like to set limitations of time, money, or other resources?
- Frame the list of actions: Put down on the paper the actions you would take and the tasks you would like to see improvements on. Write down all the ideas that come to your mind, and try not to judge or analyze anything.
- Prioritize your tasks and set a standard for each task: Perceive and work on each set of tasks, see what is necessary, and take steps to achieve your aim. Set a standard for each task by rating the same. Mark the task/s you have given the higher rating and if the same is in your higher priority list. Review all the tasks and see what actions plans can be removed from the list, if there is anything else to be added, and if any tasks are required to work on rigorously.
- Decide the order of your actions: Decide the order in which you want to work. Begin with your points of priority and determine if any other steps are necessary before taking the action. Rearrange the actions and ideas into a sequence. Finally, check your plan once again and simplify it further.
- Monitor and review the plan regularly: Review your plan regularly, check how you have proceeded on that plan and add any new information you have found.
Only checking your action plan once can help you keep track of your program and improve it.
6. Be Familiar with Your Organisation’s Performance Review System
Acquaint yourself with the organization’s performance review system, and compare this year’s evaluation with your previous year’s report. Collect any previous documentations or appreciation that you might have received from your clients or previous boss, like Mail of Appreciation or Thank You emails of clients, as these documents will be required during your performance review system of discussion with the boss. Write down the points you want to discuss with the boss, including the points you disagree with or feel you have been wrongly implicated. Your company might also have a policy whereby you can append your comments or refute your charges; make sure you discuss the same with your HR representative.
Even if you feel you have been excellently working and do not deserve the bad evaluation report, never show your aggression or disgust. Instead, show your boss that you have a realistic view of your performance and you can make improvements. And if you think that your performance is not up to the mark due to the current system, discuss the same with your boss and try to convince him if the system is repealed, you could give better results.
Your efforts should be on understanding the system not as defensive but as a responsible and dedicated employee. You have to show you are trying to understand things and sincerely want to improve.
7. Be prepared to take a meeting in your stride
Since the meeting is conducted for your benefit, you should be prepared to guide it in a way that meets your needs, and you are assured of getting results if you start working on the same lines. Some managers will be so drawn into the process that you can easily follow their leads and move smoothly to achieve the desired results.
When the meeting is going to end, make sure you and your boss have recapped or made the summary of the conversation and noted all the agreements that have been made by both of you. This should be done orally and in written form, and both should possess copies of the same. In case your manager does not want to do this, you can bring up the issue “Before we finish, I want to make absolutely sure we are both on the same wavelength, so can I summarize what I think has been said?” (Source: Performance Resource Center). This may not come off easily and might take a few days.
8. Bad Performance Review – Retain your network
Maintain your network and find out reputed recruiters and establish ties with them. It is a good idea to share your career plan with your colleague or boss and discuss alternate solutions with them. But in case your company wants to send you away, get a good reference that might reflect your contribution.
You should always remember that you are already a skilled person, which is why you are in this company, which requires you. So always try to understand your companies’ goals and standing and meet their expectations. You should take a negative evaluation report positively to improve your performance further and achieve the goals. So think positive and act positive, and that’s only a mantra to turn the negative evaluation report into a positive report.
Here are some further articles to lear more: