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How to Write a Negative Performance Review


Often, supervisors do not like to write job performance reviews, never mind negative performance reviews. Writing and receiving a negative review may discourage both supervisor, and employee. Sometimes a necessary correction may leave a worker feeling ashamed. Nevertheless, job performance ratings are a necessary part of supervising, and working – for both employees and supervisors. How can the process be carried out more smoothly, and effectively?

The Performance Process Begins Day One

As soon as a person is hired, include them in the conversation about job performance reviews. This creates a culture of trust. Be certain that the employee understands the company’s expectations of her, and can easily verbalize her responsibilities in her own words. Stephen Covey, in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People” talks about beginning with the end in mind. A good supervisor might sit down with the new employee and discuss performance goals, and how the employee envisions arriving there. Write it out, and use it as a place from which to discuss her work at the end of the year.

The Supervisor Should Perform Frequent “Spot Checks”

Mini performance checks should be regularly scheduled to verify that the work is on track, and to discuss course corrections before too many mistakes are made. Again, including the employee in his own evaluation gives him the opportunity to take responsibility for himself. If he can point out areas in which he needs to improve, he is more motivated to rectify his errors.

Group Evaluations are Helpful

Some companies where the workplace works as a community have found it useful to use what they call a 360 evaluation. The idea is to generate multiple reviews from peers, colleagues, people who work under the worker, and others in order to have a more rounded picture of the person’s performance. If the same problem shows up in reports of a variety of people with different personalities, that is a good place to begin making corrections.

Have the Employee Perform a Self Evaluation

When the supervisor and the employee both fill in the same evaluation form, it is not unusual for the employee to be harder on herself than the supervisor is on her. This creates a more relaxed atmosphere where the employer can truly encourage the employee, and they may more easily discuss together how to overcome weaknesses. Workers more often leave encouraged even in the face of a negative review in some areas.




“10 Secrets to an Effective Performance Review: Examples and tips on employee performance evaluation, writing employee reviews, a sample performance review and employee evaluation forms.” Business Management Daily — FREE reports on business, management, leadership, career, communication, human resources, employment law, technology, sales and small business tax. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2010.

“How to write better employee evaluations.  | Labor & Employment > Human Resources & Personnel Management from” Business Resources, Advice and Forms for Large and Small Businesses. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2010.

“Performance Appraisal Hanbook.” US Department of the Interior. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2010. .

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