One of the most striking changes you will discover about the job environment from the college environment is how you will be evaluated. This contrast is shown below.
Academic Evaluation Job Performance Evaluations
•Grades are given on each •Appraisals are given for overall
•Grades are given frequently. •Appraisals are provided
semiannually or annually.
•Grades are based on specific •Appraisals are based on subjective
•Grades generally reflect the •Appraisals reflect results.
level of effort.
•Your grade is based on your •Your appraisal is based on a
performance against a set comparison of your performance
standard. to others.
As you can see, job evaluations are often near opposites from what you are used to in college. Here are some other facts about job evaluations.
- Appraisals are typically given annually or semiannually. Imagine going through a semester and never getting back a grade.
- Appraisals are often used to determine pay increases and promotions.
- Appraisals are typically given on your anniversary date or on a fixed date for all employees.
- Appraisals are typically a private discussion between you and your boss.
- Appraisal criteria are generally subjective. In college, there was generally a right answer or a rubric used to evaluate your work.
- Your performance (either directly or indirectly) is compared to others. There may be restrictions placed on the number of high performers. Imagine a course where only 5% of the students could get A’s and only 10% could get B’s.
- Your bosses’ boss may have to approve your appraisal.
Attachment A contains an example of what a performance review sheet looks like. Note the following:
- You will be evaluated on a five point scale outstanding (5) to unsatisfactory (0).
- You will be evaluated on both performance and personal factors.
- You will be given an overall rating. Often only a limited number of employees will be allowed to receive the top two ratings.
- You will be asked to comment on the rating.
- Your bosses’ boss must approve the rating you are given.
How do you do well on a job evaluation. Certainly you start by doing an outstanding job, but that alone may not be enough. You should follow the strategy described below.
1. During your first week on the job, get a copy of the performance appraisal form from your boss or the personnel department. You really need to understand the process, so ask questions about the form and how evaluations are done. Make sure you do this in a positive way rather than giving them the impression you lack confidence or want to do only what is evaluated.
2. Discuss with your boss the expectations he or she has for you. You want to establish good, open communications right from the start.
3. At the end of the month, write up your own assessment of how you have done. This will be for your personal use, but you need to learn how to give yourself feedback on your performance. If you can, discuss your performance with your boss in an informal manner. Pick a time when your boss is not too busy and may be more reflective. See how your boss’s comments match your own evaluation. Do not be afraid to admit problem areas by saying: “I’m still having problems with . What ideas do you have to help me improve?” Your boss will gradually feel a sense of ‘ownership’ in your performance. If you do well, your boss will feel good. If you do not do well, your boss will feel that he or she has some responsibility for your poor performance.
4. You may have to help your boss in the formal appraisal. Help make the session an open discussion. Accept the constructive criticism graciously but ask for advice on how to do better. You will want to refer back to this advice frequently in the months to come. Let your boss know that you listened and you are trying to do better. With any effort on your part, the next review will be better.
5. Always do more than is expected. You’ll probably find that the initial job you have is not as challenging as college, so you’ll have more time to do a good job. Always think: What more could I do to improve this assignment?
6. No matter what you do, do not let your boss have any ‘Mickey Mouse’ factors to complain about. Get to work and meetings on time. Complete assignments on time. Turn in time sheets or other reports when they are due. Do what is expected of a professional employee. These factors are easy to criticize, and this may give your boss an easy excuse for a lower rating.
7. Ask others for advice before you challenge a rating. You will want to have thought through the various possibilities of what could happen if you ask that your rating be reviewed. You should have a strong case to warrant a challenge.
8. Let your boss know what you are doing. Prepare a progress report each week. These are extremely important in performance appraisals. If you have continuously provided your boss with a progress report memo, then you will have established a good record of achievement. These could be critical in your evaluation.