Demotivating Employees one performance review at a time

So. true.

But some $Bosses don’t get it, and they continue with performance reviews in the vain hope that it will motivate people.

Last performance review we had, the losers were shot at with a paintball gun. Totally demotivating.

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It’s a hard problem for a business to handle: you ostensibly need some method for figuring out how good or bad a job employees are doing, and so you have to pick one of several different schemes for assigning metrics to your people. Stack-rank schemes are the absolute worst.

I moved 2 posts to a new topic: Thoughts on employee performance reviews

Thankfully our company just does a numeric ranking 1-5 for each subtask of the job, and then weights them based on importance and averages them. So I can still get a 2 for spindle folding, but it gets a .5 weight while dodecahedron creation get’s a 4.5 a x2 weight. Since one of them is more important than the other.

I think it’s the normalization listed in the article that burns like hygiene. I get a C- because of the curve? Even though I’m almost as good as the top dog? Nah, that would suck.

As it is, it’s rough to look at my 4.2 rating and reconcile the maximum raise the company is giving out.

Changes in supervisors can also break numeric ratings. My wife thinks to get a 5 you have to walk on water, my current boss has a pretty good rating system (Or at least one similar to what I would do) where 5’s are rare, and 4’s are good. But there are people out there that think anything less than a 4 means you should be terminated.

“Sorry, you don’t have access to that topic!”


Try again @RoadRunner!

Me please.

Me too, please.


Thanks, @Nabiki!!

You should have access now.

As should you

My favorite with the 1-5 scale is when you’re told “it’s pretty much impossible to get a 5” (heard that a lot at $oldjob). Then why do you even have it!?


Clearly, to highlight managers who set the bar too low!

Boeing is like this—evaluations are done on a 1-5 scale across a bunch of categories. An employee doing well is expected to have a mix of 3s and 4s (“meets expectations” and “exceeds expectations”).

2s (“met some expectations”) are expected to be rare, because an employee on track to score a 2 should be counseled prior to the evaluation to help them improve performance. 1s and 5s (“failed to meet expectations” and “far exceeded expectations”) were both expected to be basically never used, since a 1 means the employee should probably be fired and a 5 means that they aren’t being sufficiently challenged.

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@Nabiki - thanks :slight_smile:

I don’t have access either.

I found this article today, and thought it was really interesting. When I telecommuted full time, that was my boss’ attitude, and I thrived. I got all of my work done plus some, but didn’t have to be chained to my desk all day.

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We actually work really hard to be sure that the staff has a fairly pleasant review regardless of what it says. No point in angering people who work for you. But we also have a pretty particular system of addressing problems immediately. When delivering a reprimand, I always use the “good-bad-good” system. For example, if someone, say, cleans up the treatment area and throws away drugs I was getting around and getting ready to administer, I could just say “You know, I was still using those, don’t just throw things away without asking!” But that doesn’t do anything but make them upset for trying to help. Instead, I say “I really appreciate that you try to keep the treatment area clean, but I wasn’t quite done with those drugs. Could you ask before throwing things away next time, just to be sure? That way we can hopefully not have to do things twice. You’re awfully eager to help, though, and that’s awesome.” Sounds cheesy, but “good-bad-good” really makes people want to help and learn. It is a very hard skill to learn, though, because I always feel like a kindergarten teacher. The staff seems to appreciate it though.

I worked for a few “scream now, scream later” bosses, and it was awful. And I only ever wanted to do enough to stay off the radar and nothing more…just to be sure I didn’t screw up and get in trouble. Not a good way to run a business…

Stolen from

[quote] (I have just received my first annual performance review. I am widely known as being one of, if not THE, most productive and efficient aides in the entire facility. I have received stellar marks almost across the board, but am shocked to see that I am given a three out of five in productivity. I immediately bring it up to my supervisor.)

Me: “How could I possibly get a three out of five in productivity? Most everybody agrees I deserve a five, but I would even accept a four as everyone always has room for improvement. But a three is solid mediocrity, and I know for a fact that [multiple far less productive coworkers] have received fours. Can you explain?”

Supervisor: “Well, you simply set the bar too high for yourself. When we see you come in here and always strive to give 110% of yourself, we come to expect that from you all the time. Thus if you’re feeling tired or under the weather and are only able to give 100% or 90%, it makes it look like you’re being lazy in comparison.”

Me: “O… okay. But you gave a higher mark to [specific coworker who is exceptionally lazy], for example, and everybody knows that she spends the majority of her shift at the desk playing with her phone when she should be in the patients’ rooms helping them!”

Supervisor: “Well, see, with her, we know that she usually only gives about 50%, but occasionally she’s having a good day and gives us more like 60%. Those good days in comparison to her usual make her look more productive than you on your bad days as compared to YOUR usual.”

Me: “Okay, just so we’re on the same page here: you really believe that someone who gives 90% on their WORST day deserves a lower score in productivity than someone who gives 60% on their BEST day?”

Supervisor: “Yes. I’m glad you understand. Did you have any more questions?”

Me: “… No, I think I pretty much got it. Thanks.”[/quote]

@DocDubious, stories like that are what make me feel less bad about cruising Stack Overflow or programming-related subreddits at work while $coworker is shopping for new houses.

It also reminds me of a story I heard from a Cruise Director once. He had a customer who had cruised on his line quite a few times, and at the end of the cruise she filled out her evaluation with “meets expectations” across the board, and wrote in “I was blown away, everything was amazing!” He followed up with her and asked why she didn’t rate the cruise higher than “meets expectations” and she said “well, I expect you guys to go above and beyond on every cruise, so even if I’m blown away, and everything is perfect…that’s exactly where my expectations are met.”

And that’s an awesome compliment, but makes a 1-5 rating system like that totally useless.

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