November 28, 2022

askST Jobs: What to do when you disagree with your performance appraisal


SINGAPORE – In this series, manpower reporter Tay Hong Yi offers practical answers to candid questions on navigating workplace challenges and getting ahead in your career.

Q: I disagree with the performance appraisal I received at work. What can I do?

A: A good performance appraisal should enable employees to give and receive feedback, as well as let them know where they stand in relation to performance expectations, said Ms Low Peck Kem, president of the Singapore Human Resource Institute.

Such an appraisal should also inform employees how they have contributed to their team’s overall performance and how they can further improve at work.

An employee who disagrees with the appraisal he has received should be specific, clear and objective about the areas of disagreement, said Ms Low.

Employees should also refrain from being overly emotional or compare themselves with others when broaching the topic, she added.

Instead, they should compare how they have performed relative to any key performance indicators that have been agreed upon, with data and evidence of their results, she said.

At this juncture, they may also discuss with their supervisor skills they hope to develop and seek training support to meet their career aspirations.

“If there is no agreement between the supervisor and employee on resolving the disagreements, then the employee may raise the matter to the manager the next level up or bring it up with the human resources (HR) department,” said Ms Low.

Mr David Blasco, general manager at recruitment firm Randstad Singapore, said: “As much as it is essential to prepare for a job interview, it is equally important to prepare for a job appraisal.”

“Make sure that you have a document that tracks your work contributions for the review period, including additional projects that you have worked on, even if they are not part of your job description,” he added.

“Other documents that you should prepare are positive acknowledgements of your work from your colleagues and clients to showcase your skills and abilities in your role.”

Employees should also track constructive feedback from their colleagues and clients over the past year, said Mr Blasco.

Nonetheless, employees may still feel that the outcome of their performance appraisal is not a fair representation of how well they have done at work.

There are many reasons for such appraisal outcomes, he said.

“For example, the company may be restructuring or may have introduced budgetary control measures which may impact reviews of your skills and salary.”

In such instances, employees may feel their salary increment is not big enough or that they are unfairly evaluated in a specific part of the appraisal.

Mr Blasco advised employees to collect their thoughts and pen a list of concerns, before arranging another meeting to speak with their direct manager or HR business partner, ideally within two weeks from the initial review.

“When preparing your list of concerns, compile additional documents to prove your case.

“When you’re more prepared, you’re also less likely to react emotionally during the negotiation, which would support your objective approach towards your professional performance.”

However, employees should also keep an open mind as they may uncover some deep-seated issues within the organisation in the process.

“For instance, you may realise that your manager doesn’t have your best interest at heart or there is a culture of accepting excuses or favouritism within the organisation.

“If your long-term career values are no longer aligned with the organisation, then it is best for you to start planning your exit strategy and look for new opportunities to grow.”