You can’t make this stuff up.

Some of these performance appraisals I’m about to share with you are just awful.

I’ve spoken a lot about performance reviews recently, talking about why performance reviews are bad, and how to make employee appraisals better, but I thought it would be good to talk about some of the worst appraisals I’ve ever heard of, and talk about what went wrong.

There are a lot of issues with the way employee appraisals are done today, but there are 2 big themes that I want to discuss.

These are sort of the root causes of why nobody seems to enjoy the appraisal process.

The first one, is that managers don’t take the process seriously enough. It’s looked at as something that’s forced on them from HR, and they can’t be bothered with it, even though the employee craves feedback.

If the manager isn’t taking it seriously, then how could the employee? Which is too bad, because it’s often tied to salary increases and job promotions, so since there’s so much riding on it, it’s unfair not to treat it seriously.

The second theme is around fear in the culture.

If your company has a culture of fear, where employees are scared to freely speak up and share their thoughts, how can you possibly have a proper feedback session? The whole thing is flawed from the beginning in an environment like that.

Employee Appraisal Examples

Let’s go through each example one by one and talk about what went wrong.

1. Moving Up

I told her that I want to advance my career to perhaps a clinician, nurse practitioner or patient care coordinator but I need the develop the confidence to do so and she put this in my review saying that I have shown to suffer from low self confidence and that I am not able to focus on the task at hand.

She said that I do not go above and beyond. However there were multiple time I was mentioned in our weekly updates as having gone above and beyond…At the end of my review I did write my rebuttal to the comments that were made but I don’t know what good it will do. I told her that I am not going to be able to advance my career because when a prospective employer sees my review they will not consider me for any positions.

This is why it’s important to use data to back up what you’re saying.

If this girl has been praised multiple times for going above and beyond, then that should definitely be included in her review.

That’s the problem with the process being so subjective. It makes no sense that she should have to suffer from that.

This might not be true if you’re going to a new company, but if you want to move up within the same company, then performance reviews can easily be seen.

2. Booz Allen

Worst performance appraisal process ever. Anyone that you have contact with during your work day can be questioned regarding your work ability and performance. Any ‘issues’ are highlighted and used against you. The company is more interested in appearance and popularity than results.

This one is not good for 2 reasons.

The first, is that it’s unfair to ask people that you might not work directly with to grade your performance. How can they reliably say something about you if they don’t work directly with you?

The second thing, is that the company is more interested in its appearance than the actual results, which is funny, considering I found this review on their Glassdoor page.

You need to be ready to accept feedback, no matter how harsh it is. How can you ever expect to improve?

3. Are You Manic?

During my annual performance appraisal I was asked if I was manic. After a moment or two of trying to understand what my supervisor meant by the comment, I finally asked. My supervisor replied, “Well, you are so upbeat about your job all the time, I just thought you were manic. Nobody can be that happy about working here.

4. Man Up

My manager tossed my performance appraisal on my desk saying, “Just look this over and sign it. I want it back by the end of the day.” Of course, the appraisal was full of feedback and expectations that I had never received.

I told my manager, “There is a lot of information here that was never discussed with me. I would have liked the opportunity to discuss these issues before it showed up in my review.”

The manager replied, “See this is why I didn’t want to meet with you! I knew you would react badly! Just man up, take the feedback, and sign the thing! It’s due to HR today.”

This is exactly what I was talking about at the beginning of this post.

It’s really sad that the manager was both too scared to talk about the issues with their employee, and left it to the last minute. “It’s due to HR”, as if it’s homework. What a terrible attitude to have.

When will managers finally understand that this is a golden opportunity to make your employee more productive and more efficient? They want to get feedback in order to become better. Why would you rather have someone that’s still making the same mistakes over and over? I’ll never understand.

What Do You Think Of Employee Appraisals?

Do you have any stories of bad employee appraisals that you can share with us? Feel free to comment!