Questions About My Performance Review

Question:

I’ve worked at my current job for almost 11 years. For the first 7.5 years we were a private company and then we were sold. Now we are a public company and the company culture has changed 180 degrees. My current position was eliminated and I was moved into a newly created Help Desk department with a new boss because it was very similar to my last position.

I had always gotten a good performance reviews and the standard raise of 2.5 to 3.0 percent. When I went to sign my last yearly review my boss told me that she had received negative comments about my job performance for other members of the main office staff. She had not mentioned these comments when I filled out the review but mentioned this on the date these reviews were to be signed and turned in to the department head. I ask why these comments were not addressed when they were received. She said this is the way she works. She gathers the comments during the year, evaluates them, and then waits until review time to address them. She would not say how many comments were received, who made the comments, or what was said. She said this was the gist of the comments received. You did not solve the problems presented as fast as the person reporting the problem thought it could be fixed and that you made people feel foolish in the way you solved their problems.

To address these problems she said I needed to take into account who was reporting the problem and to fix the problem accordingly. I said I would try. I admit that I am not the best at interpersonal communications. To that end I put in for two classes in communication and one class for time management. They were denied. I put in for training in Microsoft Office 2007, which will start using shortly. The class was denied. The other three members of our department and my boss loaded Office 2007 on their company laptops and started using it. I do not have a company laptop and was not offered one so I could start using Office 2007.

Flash forward six months to mid-year review time. I had ask my boss to let me know if I was doing anything wrong during this time so I could address the issue. Nothing was mentioned. During the mid-year review she told me how good I was doing and the projects I would be working on for the rest of the year. The boss went in for her review with the department head. She called me into her office afterwards and said she had bad news for me. The department head said he had heard negative comments on my job performance from others members of the main office staff and was not happy. I ask for details but was told he had nothing more to say in the matter. He also said there was the perception that I was not pulling my weight in the department since I was not seen moving around the company fixing problems. That was never my job. My job had always been to take the majority of the calls our department receives, fix what I can, and reassign the ones I can’t. Doing this allows the other three members of the department to move around the company fixing problems. My calls number reflects this, as they are three to five times what the other members record. My customer satisfaction rating is 93 percent and I receive three or four very positive written comments each month from our callers.

Then it happened, after over 7000 calls, I received an email from one of my callers saying the help I offered caused considerable damage to their equipment. The person said they had to call an outside company in to fix their equipment at their own expense. Then this person went on to talk about my lack of training in current technology. I showed this to my boss to see how to respond to the accusations made. She showed it to the department head and I was called into his office to talk about this.

Nothing was mentioned about the false accusations in the email but much was made about my lack of customer service and communication skills that would lead to such a situation. He said my job depended on my improving these skills. I ask him for suggestions on classes to improve these skills and was told I could not learn these skills from a class or a book. I was told I needed to observe how my boss handled people and emulate her. I talked to my boss later to see how we wanted to do this and she said she did not know how to help me. The funny thing is that I received an email from the boss of the person that sent the original email by this time. He said this person was entirely out of line to take his frustration out on me and that he had been reprimanded for his unprofessional behavior. My boss said the apology was a nice gesture but it didn’t change anything. My boss scheduled a training workshop for the department. She later postponed the workshop for three weeks because the training materials were late in arriving. The day before the workshop she postponed it again, this time for four weeks. I’m at a loss as to how to proceed.

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How Should I Handle Preferential Treatment?

Question:

I have been at my company 11 yrs and recently others that are my equals and lower in job grade are approved for training, supplies, additional benefits (work from home etc) that I have been denied for a year. Then it is on my review as a negative for not learning additional applications etc., that I had requested training on. A second monitor was denied when every other person in the department has them and I meet the job requirement for it. Any suggestions?

Signed,

Denied

Answer:

Dear Denied:

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Boss Disappointed With My Report

Question:

I worked very hard on a report for my job. I am proud of my work. My boss looked at the report and said, “I am really disappointed. This was poorly done.” What do I do?

Signed,

Disappointed

Answer:

Dear Disappointed:

You learn from your boss in what ways she/he was displeased with your report, and you redo it. I don’t know how long you have been employed and have worked for this boss, but if you are to continue to work there, it is your job to learn what is expected. Possibly you can get an example of the kind of reports that he/she wants.

Does this make sense? Your other option is to argue with the boss and tell him/her you worked hard and were proud of your report. That’s like telling the coach you played well when you were taken out of the game and were told you failed to play as desired. Or it’s like you telling your teacher that you should have gotten an A when she/he graded your paper D. Of course you can bite your tongue and feel sorry for yourself or you can gossip to coworkers that your boss doesn’t know what a good report is. None of these options make sense and I’m sure you know how defeating these options are. So learn from this. Your boss is your immediate customer, and she/he asked for a report that probably was to go to someone inside or outside your organization. Can you see your job first as pleasing your boss and then as beyond your boss to pleasing the ones who will also see your report? You can see your boss’ critique as devastating or you can learn from it. Even if you are fired, you can learn from it.

Life and work are filled with disapproval. The key in life is picking your self up when knocked down. Learn. Learn specifically what you did wrong.

Think beyond pleasing your boss to being one who adds value to your workplace. See ways to cut wasted supplies, wasted time, and wasted effort. Think of ways to make other’s work easier. Think of being a member of a team that brings sunshine to your workplace. Working is rarely a matter of working solo. It is learning what others want and expect. Your ego has been wounded and I feel for you. But now is the time to get beyond that. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

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High Rating In January, Reprimand In March

Question:

I have been with my company for 2 1/2 years. Consistently I have been rewarded for superior performance. In January I was given an exemplary assessment rating. By March, an employee who I support and whose “numbers” were low, chose to point all the blame toward me.

This supportee reported to his own manager that he could not sustain proper performance levels because I was not pulling my weight. His manager ruled from many states away and is not my manager. His manager took his complaint to my manager and – far too soon after receiving such a fine assessment – I was written up for making donut runs, doing non-work at work, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth. My management hierachy did not even bother to question me with regard to the accuracy of these accusations. I received a horrendous writeup full of non-truths. With tears in my eyes, I denied these accusations, to which my senior manager replied, “well, that’s the perception.” My immediate lead had to be asked to be quiet by the HR rep who attended the meeting because she was acting giddy (she is at least 30 years my junior) as we discussed one of my disabilities. It was one of the most awful meetings I’ve ever been a part of. At 56 years old, I’ve been in the business arena longer than my lead has even been alive. She is constantly breaking HR laws but has the backing of her own manager (who chose the lead simply to decrease her own workload). My first question is how to get this awful stuff out of my file so that I might take advantage of any new opportunity within our company. I asked our lead (from our corporate office) what chance regional employees like us had of being promoted (those in the corporate office are continuously growing, being elevated). She told us flat out that only if we live in the city of our corporate office did we have any hope of promotion. Because of the lie told on me, I am stuck with this awful writeup in my file and am now required to send an IM or e-mail when I go into the office in the morning, when I go to lunch, when I return and when I quit for the day. So is my office mate. We feel particularly mistreated. We’ve polled our fellow “regional counterparts” and learned that none of them is required to follow such a rule. We are also required to file a daily report outlining everything we have done during the day. Our office is a busy one and it is an extra burden (and serves no purpose locally) to write all this stuff at the end of the day. We are nagged unmercifully and could find no other way to cope than to pray together every day. My office mate cannot afford to lose her job (she is a temp and has served us faithfully for two years) because she is her mother’s sole support, so she stays. I have a retired, out-of-work husband, a daughter who, like me works full time and is also a full-time college student, and four grandchildren to care for. I cannot afford to lose my job, either, especially because of a contracted employee who is trying to make himself look good – he has said that he told his manager that if he were not made permanent, he would leave. Clearly, he intended to take down whoever he had to to ensure he is portrayed in good light. I should add that, all the players in my own office, I am the only one employed by my company. My other co-workers are contracted. I want to point out that I could have acted quite differently when I learned that it was my own supportee whose lies caused the writeup but I chose a different approach. I began to meet with him several times a day – asking what I could do further to help him meet his own goals. I began to assure him that his goals were my goals and that if we could manage to have a meeting of minds, we could become a formidable team. We have reached that goal and are well-respected as a two-person team who just gets things done. Yet that awful writeup is still in my file. I’ve considered going to our Ethics department or the EEO but I’m not sure how or if I should do this. Despite the claims of our different departments of equity, I remember that all of our salaries are paid by the same entity. My lead continues to nag, criticize (mind you, before the complaint of the supportee, I could do no wrong), minimize. My office mate and I consistently send her merit certificates that we receive from our respective office – none of which she ever even acknowledges. During our monthly meetings – which my co-worker and I attend via telecon – only the accolades for corporate office co-workers are publicly acknowledged. Fortunately for my office mate, former temp, she will be taking a position with one of our local departments (she was requested by one of our senior folks to work with him) so she will no longer have to deal with this madness. Meanwhile, because of the writeup, I can go nowhere. I will be 57 on June 12 and as a Human Resources professional, recognize the difficulty in securing a new position at this age. While no one would ever admit that I did not get this or that job because of my age, all of us would know that that is exactly the reason. I would just like to know how you feel about all of this and would appreciate any suggestions. Thank you so much.

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Justifying My Own Job

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about an incompetent boss:

I have been with my company for one year as a senior manager – global audit and compliance manager. My boss is incompetent, and I am very competent. As I have gone about my work, I have identified many flaws in workplace systems and processes that have, frankly, demonstrated my boss’s inadequacies. BUT, he reports directly to the board. I have yet to meet anyone above my boss, and now out of the blue, he tells me that my role is likely to be cut from the business and I should put together a paper that justifies my job! I am the only qualified person he has in his entire business.What approach should I take? The man is obviously threatened by me (I’m female), and he’s trying to move me out using budget concerns as an excuse to get rid of me.What should I do? How should I structure my paper?

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How Should I Respond To A Written Warning?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about written warning response :

I am employed by a small hotel with only 6 employees. The owner being one of the employees. I have been with the company for almost 9 years. I received a written warning regarding some paper mistakes and the comment on the warning was that my work has been bordering on questionable lately. I have been having multiple stress factors in my life right now and my boss/owner and I have actually had serious talks about these things in which both of us have shared personal information.

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Falling Fighter

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about :

I have 8 years of working experience in an industry as a middle management staff in a supporting department. Two years ago, I immigrated to another country to marry my wife there and to find a new job. I was fortunate to have an offer from a fellow countryman of which is in the same industry. It is an entry-level position in the core business unit as my previous experience in the supporting department is only partially relevant. Negotiation took place, and I was offered a slightly higher salary than the usual entry-level pay (even have an increment after probation).

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False Allegation.

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about customer criticism:

A member of the public alleged that I was rude to her. Which is not true; what I did say was sorry. But the music system playing was so loud, she did not hear that and so she made up a comment. And now my Manager is trying to set up, either a verbal or written warning for me. Is there anything I can do? Signed,

Not True 

Dear Not True:

It is deeply insulting to have someone say you did or did not do something that is untrue. In your particular case, the person who complained said you were rude and she did not hear that you had said you were sorry. Can you prevent your manager from giving you a verbal or written warning? No, you can’t.

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What Should Go In Performance Files?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about content of files:

I retain copies of emails, reports, activities and other doc. which are then placed in a performance file. These items, both positive and negative in nature are reviewed and used during a performance appraisal, recognition or to doc. a developing concern. Is it legal to retain these documents in a performance file and not in the employees personnel file?

Signed, Boss

Dear Boss:

Our site does not provide legal opinion, but it does give educated advice on such questions as yours. Two guest respondents, each with extensive experience in Human Resources, have addressed your question. I think you will find their answers are sound although they differ with respect to what they would put in an employee’s file. Dan Kearney says, “Many supervisors and managers keep a performance file these days. This is done to keep track of the employee’s performance so that the manager or supervisor can “quantify” the performance of the employee being reviewed. These “notes” do not belong in an employee’s personnel file. Many times supervisors and managers forget events in the employee’s performance, and in this litigious society, managers find themselves discouraged from using a qualitative approach in favor of a quantitative approach. These notes help them to quantify and are not illegal.” Jerry Allen advises: “The documents described in your e-mail (performance appraisals, e-mails, reports, etc.) are certainly very confidential in nature and such should be filed/stored in a very safe and secure file. Yes, I think they should be in the personnel file. I am not sure it is legal to have them in a separate file or not. I would suggest they be placed in the employee’s Personnel File, in a separate folder, labeled: Performance Appraisals and Related Information.”

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VP Level Boss Violates Corp Policies

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about suing boss:

My boss has blatantly violated corporate policies regarding pay for performance reviews, equitable treatment and our ethics policies. Can I sue the organization for allowing this type of behavior if this resulted in unfair treatment and a loss of wages to me? Would these policies be a contract between the employer and myself and is the employer liable for not taking action if these policies are violated?

Signed, Unfairly Treated

Dear Unfairly Treated:

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