Responding to your supervisor's evaluation of your job performance is an opportunity for the two of you to engage in a fruitful discussion about your skills, expertise and your career. Although some evaluations are merely perfunctory narratives prepared by a supervisor and simply handed to an employee before an annual salary increase, many employers encourage employees to participate in the performance evaluation process through candid, two-way feedback during the meeting with a supervisor. Take advantage of the chance to learn more about your performance and how you're being rated by responding to your supervisor in a give-and-take fashion.
Listen without Defensiveness
Listen carefully to every point of your annual employee evaluation during the meeting with your supervisor. Take notes about areas you'll want to discuss after she reviews the entire evaluation with you. Refrain from interrupting your supervisor during her portion of the meeting. Save your comments so that you can discuss them in the same sequence they were presented. Ask clarification questions to better understand the feedback and expectations?
You mentioned that I should expand my use of technology, What software programs and applications would you recommend that I learn?
Review Your Job Description
Refer to your job description during your response to the evaluation. In addition, get a copy of any other materials your supervisor used in his evaluation of your job performance, such as disciplinary or attendance records, work logs and productivity reports. Your current evaluation also must include your previous year's evaluation to compare your progress and performance. You should be working with an accurate and up-to-date job description; ensure that you and your supervisor have the same version of your job description in hand.
I brought a copy of my job description which was updated in June? Do you have a copy with those revisions?
Calmly Rebut Unfair Comments
Review the evaluation your supervisor gave you line by line. Avoid using a confrontational tone, even if your supervisor appears to be defensive about the ratings. Evaluation time is stressful enough without the added angst of responding to a supervisor's ratings that you believe aren't an accurate assessment of your job performance. Likewise, don't become defensive about your supervisor's comments or ratings. Through a two-way discussion, you can explore any differences between what you think your rating should be and how your supervisor rated you. Question ratings you believe are unfair or inaccurate with concrete examples of your performance, such as records, commendations or statements from colleagues and customers.
I am confused by your comment that I miss too much work. I seldom take a sick day or use vacation. It may seem like I am gone a lot because I work at our satellite office, too.
Acknowledge Positive Feedback
Express your appreciation for the areas where your supervisor gave you above-average and superior ratings for your job performance. If you agree with the areas your supervisor indicated you need improvement, ask for suggestions on how you can best improve your performance. Consider skills training, refresher training or professional development as means to improving.
Thank you for recognizing the effort I put in to ensuring the financial data for the company is accurate. I appreciate your comments. I agree that I need to work on improving employee engagement in my department. Would you recommend the upcoming workshops sponsored by the American Society of Training and Development?"
Suggest a Follow Up Meeting
Offer to summarize the comments you and your supervisor made during the evaluation meeting. Agree on a time to review your written summary together. Politely exercise your rights under the company's policies and procedures.
I would like to write a formal response to your evaluation for inclusion in my personnel file kept in Human Resources.
Business Management Daily: Performance Reviews - Should You Respond to Negative Comments?
Inc.: It's August. Time for Employee Reviews?
Forbes: How to Ace Your Performance Review
Harvard Business Review: How to Keep Your Cool During a Performance Review
About the Author
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.