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HR are horrible… and other often told tales of terror!


It’s a well-known fact: Unfortunately both HR & Performance Management can really scare staff. There are plenty of misconceptions out there to scare the living daylights out of employees about the evils of appraisals, so I thought I’d try to take the fear out of some the tall tales surrounding the dreaded end of year review!

My Boss is out to get me!

Using a 360 degree appraisal you are able to pick peers that you work with day to day, rather than relying solely on the opinion of a manager that only sees you once in a while. That means the feedback you get is really representative. It is also the case that in the vast majority of instances, your peers will rate you more highly than you rate yourself. So relax!

My manager or peers will know the feedback came from me!

360 degree appraisals are designed to be anonymous. The only way that 360 degree appraisals can work effectively is if the people giving feedback are confident they can be honest about their peers. Remember that it is in the interest of managers and HR to ensure anonymity; otherwise everyone is wasting their time. Be honest, fair, and confident that your feedback will be used as intended – to improve performance and give credit where credit is due.

I’ll have to sit there being judged and have no chance to defend myself.

The whole point of a performance review is to open up communication and get an accurate picture of how both you and your manager are performing. If your appraisal brings up any areas in which you are struggling, take the opportunity to discuss those areas. You are not simply there to passively receive feedback or criticism; you are there to discuss your own performance and suggest areas in which you may benefit from more support, training and resources. Make your opinions known, not just through self-appraisal, but in the feedback meeting, too.

I don’t have time for this - but I’ll be in trouble for late completion

HR should give you plenty of time of time to complete your review feedback, and they should also be available to give you more time, or to switch you for a different reviewer if you are struggling. Reviews aren’t designed to be an extra stress on top of your usual workload. They are something positive that should be used to improve your organisation, and answers should be well considered. Your HR department aren’t that scary – honestly. Just talk to them!

This is just another excuse for HR and my boss to shout at someone

Remember that old adage (my mum used to say this when I shrieked at spiders as a kid) it’s more scared of you than you are of it? Well if you are a little nervous about appraisals, don’t assume your manager and HR aren’t feeling the same way! In the case of managers, they are usually being appraised too and are very likely to be nervous about receiving their own feedback, in addition to having to give you yours. The key is to be honest and open. Most managers dread giving negative feedback as much as you dread hearing it. Negative feedback is a chance to improve. Don’t be offended, be constructive! Simply discuss what you can do to change the situation.

I hope that helps. Don’t fear the feedback!

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