Weekend Poll Results: Performance Management

With thanks to all who participated, here are the results of my latest weekend poll. Our focus: Are regular performance reviews and feedback part of your professional life?


More than 68% of respondents have received a performance evaluation in the past year 
… that’s up from 59% in 2017, and a total of 72% have received a performance review at some point in the past two years. At the other end of the spectrum, 9% have not received performance evaluations while in their current roles … and you’ll see in the Data section just how long that’s been for some of your peers!

Salaries increasingly linked to performance evaluations  For 76% of you, up dramatically from 37% of respondents in both 2017 and 2016, salary is linked to performance evaluations. 67% of you reported that training/development plans are tied to such evaluations, up slightly from 62% in 2017.

Goals  89% of respondents are required to set goals as part of the process. How many of you are required to establish SMART goals – those which are specific, measurable, achievable, results-based and time-bound? If you’re one of those who isn’t required to set goals, could there be a benefit to introducing that approach? You may be able to secure participation in a conference or other professional development undertakings to support achievement of your goals.

Your Top Five means of preparing for the big meeting Here are the most frequently cited approaches; how do they compare with your preparation for such meetings?

  1. I review my progress against goals I’d established for this time period
  2. I maintain a file (electronic or otherwise) of my accomplishments, and update it throughout the year
  3. I maintain a file (electronic or otherwise) listing my professional development activities, and update it with each new course or event
  4. I maintain a file (electronic or otherwise) of kudos for work well done
  5. I review my executive’s goals, and consider means by which I’ve supported her/his capacity to meet goals

Many of your principals need to step up the informal feedback 52% of you are working with principals who provide you feedback on an informal basis. 29% of you receive it on an infrequent basis, and 14% don’t get any at all.

Why is this important? Let’s consider that almost two thirds of respondents found both informal and formal evaluations and feedback equally useful. For 35% of you, however, it’s the informal feedback that’s most useful in your career. 

What about the formal evaluation process? I asked readers to rate their comfort on a scale from one (great discomfort) to five (complete ease). 28% of you reported feeling complete ease, and 56% of you gave ratings of four or higher. 21% assigned ratings of two or lower. Is it possible that, for some, there’s a corelation between discomfort with the process and infrequency of evaluations are delivered?

Who evaluates your principals? There are different schools of thought when it comes to whether assistants should contribute to the evaluations of those they support. People in favour of such an approach argue that an EA often has insights no one else could contribute. Others consider such input inappropriate – and that’s reflected in your responses. 17% of you are routinely included in your principals’ performance evaluations, while another 3% are sometimes included. For 80% of respondents, though, this just doesn’t happen.

Surprise, surprise 34% of you said no, the result most HR professionals would hope to hear given the premise that there should be no surprises at performance evaluation time. If you are going to be surprised, however, you’d hope it would reflect positive news – and 40% of you reported that you have been happily surprised by the feedback provided at an evaluation. For 21% of you, however, the surprising feedback received during a formal evaluation was not positive.

THE DATA

Please note: The system I use for Weekend Polls no longer makes comments you may enter directly within a poll available to me. This change occurred midway through my writing this article, so thanks for your patience!

For future Weekend Polls: If you’d like to make a comment to be recorded in the results, please enter them in the “Leave a reply” field available on your screen.

When did you last receive a formal performance evaluation in your current role?

  •  46% within the past six months – compared to 45% in 2017 and 41% in 2016
  •  22% in the past year – compared to 14.25% in 2017 and 22% in 2016
  •  7% reported this is not applicable, as they’ve been in their respective roles less than a year – compared to 10.2% in 2017 and 4% in 2016
  • 6% within the past two years – compared to 8.2% in 2017 and 7% in 2016
  • 0% within the past three years – compared to 0% in 2017 and 12% in 2016
  •  2% reported it’s been more than three years – compared to 2% in 2017 and 7% in 2016
  •  9% have not received a formal performance evaluation while in their current roles – compared to 10.2% in 2017 and 7% in 2016. I asked people to comment how long they’d been in their current role if they selected this answer.
  • 9% (after adjusting for a response that fit in one of the categories above) selected “Other”. Comments were as follows.
    • 18 years
    • 7 years
    • I have been a temp for 10 years and have never had a performance review ever
    • We have a goal-setting session in January, then mid & year end review

 

Is your salary linked to formal performance evaluations?

  • Yes: 76% – compared to 37% in both 2017 and 2016
  • No: 24% – compared to 61% in 2017 and 63% in 2016

 

Are training/development plans linked to your formal performance evaluations? 

  • Yes: 67% – compared to 62% in 2017 56% in 2016
  • No: 31% – compared to 35% in 2017 and 44% in 2016
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”.  Please see my note immediately beneath the photo in this post.

 

Are you required to set goals as part of the process?

  • Yes – 89% – compared to 78% of respondents in 2017, the first year I posed this question
  • No – 11% – compared to 78% of respondents in 2017

 

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing great discomfort and 5 representing complete ease, how comfortable are you with formal performance evaluations? 

  • 1 out of 5 (great discomfort): 10%, compared to 10% in 2017 and 0% in 2016
  • 2 out of 5: 11%, compared to 13% in 2017 and 18% in 2016
  • 3 out of 5: 18%, compared to 26% in 2017 and 36% in 2016
  • 4 out of 5: 28% , compared to 18% in 2017 and 29% in 2016
  • 5 out of 5 (complete ease): 28%, compared to 31% in 2017 and 11% in 2016
  • 5% of respondents selected “Other”, compared to 2% in 2017 and 6% in 2016.

 

Have you ever been surprised by feedback provided you as a result of an evaluation?

  • Yes, and happily so: 40%, compared to 44% in 2017, the first year I posed this question
  • Yes, and it wasn’t a happy surprise: 21%, compared to 23% in 2017
  • No: 34%, compared to 28% in 2017
  • 5% of respondents selected “Other”, compared to 5% in 2017

 

Next, I asked another new question: How do you prepare for performance evaluation meetings? Here are readers’ responses, in descending order of frequency of mention.

  • I review my progress against goals I’d established for this time period
  • I maintain a file (electronic or otherwise) of my accomplishments, and update it throughout the year
  • I maintain a file (electronic or otherwise) listing my professional development activities, and update it with each new course or event
  • I maintain a file (electronic or otherwise) of kudos for work well done
  • I review my executive’s goals, and consider means by which I’ve supported her/his capacity to meet goals
  • Shortly before the meeting, I make a list of my accomplishments
  • I review my job description
  • Shortly before the meeting, I make a list of my professional development activities since the last such review
  • I review the organisation’s strategic plan, and consider how my contributions support it
  • I also review my job description and draft edits to reflect changes in the past year

 

Does your executive/principal provide you with informal feedback on a regular basis?

  • Yes: 52%, compared to 45% in 2017 and 67% in 2016
  • Only infrequently: 29%, compared to 37% in 2017
  • No: 14%, compared to 16% in 2017 and 33% in 2016
  • 5% of respondents selected “Other”.

 

Which do you find more useful, informal feedback or formal evaluations? 

  • 62%  find informal feedback and formal evaluations equally useful – compared to 60% in 2017 and 57% in 2016
  • 35% find informal feedback more useful – compared to 32% in 2017 and 36% in 2016
  •  0% find formal evaluations more useful – compared to 8% in 2017 3.5% in 2016
  • 3% of respondents selected “Other” – compared to 0% in 2017 and 3.5% in 2016

 

Are you asked to contribute to performance evaluations of your executive/principal?

  • No: 80%, compared to 65% in 2017
  • Yes; I’m sometimes included in the process:  3%, compared to 24% in 2017, the first year I posed this question
  • Yes; I’m routinely included in the process:  17%, compared to 8% in 2017 

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