Archive January 2020 XXI, No. 1

Editor's Page

Those Dreaded Performance Reviews

Dan O

Dan O'Connor, Editor-in-Chief


salary survey

What’s worse than not getting a performance review? Getting a performance review that results in a predetermined salary increase — 3% if you exceed expectations, 2.5% if you meet expectations — and a preprinted evaluation form that’s nearly identical to the one you received last year, right down to the positive comments and the ways you can upgrade your hustle.

In our annual salary review, which begins on page 20 of this issue, we asked survey respondents if they’re satisfied with their annual review process. If, that is, they even get a yearly performance review.

“We generally don’t receive a review,” says Kelly Kerkhoff, RN, CBSPD, director of operative services at Sports Medicine Center in Appleton, Wis. “Management comes into your office and hands you a Post-it note with your pay raise on it.”

“I do my own review and the owners go over it,” says Norma Bacon, administrator of the New England Surgery Center in Beverly, Mass.

One in 5 survey respondents were unsatisfied with their performance reviews. Several complained their reviews were too generic, didn’t match up with or address their actual responsibilities, didn’t provide constructive feedback or didn’t impact their pay raise. How can you rate someone’s performance if you really don’t know what they do?

“I don’t get a lot of feedback, I just hear ‘you are doing a good job’ or ‘things are running well,’” says Ashley Tenbusch, RN, CNOR, clinical director and administrator of Capitol Surgery Center in Albany, Ore. “I would like more specifics, or things they would like me to work on. I really want to make this about them and their wants, so I need them to be vocal about what they are looking for.”

“[My review] doesn’t reflect the variety of responsibilities that I handle,” says Cindy Tudor, RN (ASN), clinical manager at Doctors Same Day Surgery Center in Sarasota, Fla. “It should be tailored for each facility, not the corporation.”

Others were dismayed by evaluation forms that “didn’t match what I actually do” and by reviewers “suggesting doing tasks I’ve been performing for 2 years already.”

HR experts say traditional performance reviews can lead to poor workplace culture. More so than a discretionary merit increase in base pay, they say recognition from their managers is the No. 1 thing employees crave. Continuous feedback is a close second. Are your efforts and accomplishments recognized and celebrated, or does your superior assume you’ll continue to break your back?

Several anonymous comments from survey respondents further illustrated frustration with the review process. Do either of these sound familiar?

  • “The review is not detailed or personalized, and the percentage increase basically is set no matter what your performance is.”
  • “It doesn’t matter what your review says or how well you do, increases are across the board. The least productive people are getting the same raises as the ones who are constantly going above and beyond. It’s very discouraging.”
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