Employee Evaluations: Good, Bad and Ugly

Reply Tue 25 Jul, 2006 10:11 am
Do employ evaluations serve to improve business and guide employees toward better performances or are they simply institutionalized power trips?

How many of you worked for the likes of the boss on either the British or the American television show, The Office? How many of you have been evaluated -- unfairly -- by an idiot of that monumental stature?

Should evaluations continue? SHould they be dropped?
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Reply Tue 25 Jul, 2006 10:20 am
I worked in retail for a woman slightly older than my self who always told me how the store was a nicer place when I was there because I treated the customers with respect.

She told other employees how much she enjoyed my wit and intelligence (should she have spoked about me, even in a good way).

Well, one day, I wore an outfit from the Swedish designer Saffran. It consisted of a blue, tone-on-tone abstracted printed 'shift' dress: knee brushing, straight-cut, with cap sleeves and patch pockets on the front. It was made to wear with close fitting, knitted trousers. The whole ensemble (there was also a jacket to match which I did not wear that day) resembled the traditional East Indian "punjab" dress, meant for single women to wear but often worn by young mothers and Indian business women who wish not to dress in Western clothes.

Well, the manager interpretted the whole thing as a tunic and leggings.

Now, at the time, were you to go to a bank or a doctor's office, you would find women dressed in tunics and leggings. Doctor's assistants and/or receptionists and bank tellers are an employment level up from store clerks. Yet, I was condemned for wearing such an outfit that I deemed a dress and close fitting pants.

When evaluation time came, did my evaluation say I was respectful of the customers and pleasant; that I knew more than most employees about the products sold; that I was the lead sales person each shift I worked; that I was witty? No. It said that I came to work dressed in an inappropriate manner and I was given a 21 cent-per-hour raise rather than a 25 cent raise!

BTW, other women praise me for my clothing on an almost daily basis.

So, what was the point of that evaluation?
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Reply Tue 25 Jul, 2006 10:49 am
Work evaluations should be based strictly on work performance. If your boss felt that your attire was inappropriate it should have been addressed during that point in time - not in a review. A review can be helpful if it is used to give constructive feedback - it is a good way to let an employee where they can improve. However, these discussions should be continuous - there should be no surprises at review time.

I have had an unfair and bad review. It was a surprise as my boss actually stated that I was qualified for a promotion and that I was getting a bonus at least the same as prior year. I got my review and I was slammed. I went and actually got proof of the items stated in my review and support from others - including my client. He even agreed that was review was not fair, but they had to give some one a "needs improvement". Well, several other employees were new to the job so they can't get needs improvement and another was out on maturity leave so can't give it to her so basically it was between me and some one else. The ironic thing that some one else was planning on moving and therefore was going to leave any way - I would have stayed on if I was given a fair review. So it ended up that both of us left within a week of each other.
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Reply Tue 25 Jul, 2006 10:57 am
Linkat -- The incident you cite was regrettable, but, in your citation, you demonstrated one of the things wrong with employee evaluations. There was a need -- perhasps a company standard -- that someone had to get a negative review. Despite your documentation, your review effectively stood. Which brings us to another problem: there is usually nothing an employee can do about a bad review.

As for my outfit, well, as I wrote, it can be looked at in two different ways. While there was a no tunic and leggings rule (which no sales associate understood or supported -- as I pointed out, bank tellers and office workers dressed in that way and were considered proper), my dress was sold as a dress and was longer than a tunic.
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Reply Tue 25 Jul, 2006 11:01 am
Here's an evaluation from my daughter's teaching career.

My daughter was teaching French and Spanish in a central MA middle school. Her middle school French teacher often set verb parts to music, a great aid to the memory. My daughter did the same with two irregular Spanish verbs which, happily, can be sung to the song, The Mexican Hat Dance.

She used this during a lesson evaluated by the assistant principal -- someone who has never taught. This person thought the song was the American historicized song about Tricorne Hats!
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 09:07 am
Anyone who is interested in the world of work should read CHarlotte Bronte's The Professor. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
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Reply Tue 8 Aug, 2006 04:34 pm
I'm thinking of the chairman of the English department of a certain high school who has a bee in her bonnet about Ivy League grads or grads from what are known as competitive schools and who makes life a living hell for them with her evaluations and her haunting of their classrooms.
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