Ten Things Never, Ever To Say At Your Performance Review

The end of the year is the perfect time to capture learning from the past year, celebrate our successes, and look forward!

Instead of a performance review that ranks and rates employees, we should schedule an end-of-year celebration-and-planning meeting. In that meeting, nobody would evaluate anybody else.

Nobody would get a grade or a ranking or rating like a little kid in school. That’s insulting. If you want someone on your team in the first place, you don’t give them a rating like Above Average or Needs Improvement. You encourage them and thank them for their work over the past year.

Work is broken — and performance reviews are one of the most broken parts of it!

It’s only to be expected that many people dread their performance reviews, even when they’ve had a great year. Unless there is a high level of trust between an employee and their manager, a performance review meeting could be an ambush. I have seen it happen many times.

Whether you look forward to your annual performance review or can’t wait to get out of the room when it’s over, here are ten things never, ever to say during that meeting.

1. This evaluation is wrong. I will write a rebuttal.

2. I need a bigger pay increase than this.

3. These were not the goals I signed up for — you’re evaluating me based on the wrong milestones.

4. I worked harder than a lot of my co-workers this year.

5. That mistake was not my fault.

6. You forgot to mention my major triumphs this year.

7. I couldn’t get answers to the email messages I sent you, so it’s no wonder that I missed some of my deadlines.

8. I want to transfer to a different department.

9. This review is too strongly influenced by the one time I dropped the ball. It’s unbalanced.

10. I quit!

If you disagree with the  performance review your boss has written, that’s fine, but there’s no point in arguing with him or her about it. Instead of getting into a debate, thank your manager for their observations and tell them that you’d like to talk with them again in a couple of weeks.

That extra time will be helpful for you as you prepare your thoughts and put them in writing.

You can write a rebuttal to your performance review and give it to HR. They will put your write-up in your personnel file. As an HR leader I have read and filed away dozens of performance review rebuttals — but your composition won’t do you or anybody else any good unless you reach an understanding with your manager.

Written by Liz Ryan