What can I expect my performance review meeting to be like?

In well-run organisations, the performance review is an orderly exercise. There should be no personal criticism, naming, blaming or shaming – just an open and constructive discussion between you and your manager about the work you have done, what you have learned and have still to learn, and how you intend to carry on.  

Nothing should come as a surprise: competent line managers give feedback (positive and negative) on an ongoing basis as you work together – they don’t just save it all up for a blazing annual row!

A member of the HR department may be present if the manager is not long established in the organisation or if it is simply company policy to have an observer from HR with you.

Performance reviews should be business-like, unhurried and held in a private office during normal working hours, not too early or late, or off-site (not in a pub, for example). And they should not turn nasty – voices should not be raised.

In theory, you will have mutually agreed the targets or goals against which you are being assessed back at the start of the year. Equally, you should be able to agree with your manager objectively how well you have done.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.