What if my performance review turns nasty?

A performance review meeting should be conducted calmly, fairly and objectively, and the onus is on the manager to lead by example. Unfortunately, not all managers are calm, fair and objective when it comes to reviewing performance. Some will act tough and try to avoid giving credit where it’s due, maybe because you clearly deserve a bonus but they have only a limited budget. Or to demonstrate the hard-headed cost-efficiencies they have made to their manager in their performance review.

Other bosses may want to build a reputation for themselves as a demanding taskmaster, so it could be that things get a bit heated. Try to remain calm and stick to the facts. Don’t make excuses or blame other colleagues for your failure to meet targets. Be honest and take responsibility if things really haven’t gone too well, but stay positive about how things could go better next year. If more training would help you do your job better, now is a good time to mention it.

At the same time, don’t allow them to minimise or dismiss clear evidence of your success and achievement against your objectives.

If the conversation does start getting out of hand, as it can in extreme cases, you should call a halt to it. Quietly thank the manager and say that you do not think the meeting is proceeding properly. Get up calmly and leave. Ask for a trade union representative to accompany you to a rescheduled meeting, and let the HR department know what has happened. You deserve a fair hearing not abuse, and it is up to management (including HR) to make sure this is what you get.

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.