Asking About an Overdue Performance Review

Q: It has been about 15 months since I was hired into my first position out of college. I like my job a lot and I am grateful I have started at a company with a good reputation. When I was hired, I was promised a one-year review and it about three months late. I am not sure how to approach the situation. We have a small HR team and they all seem competent. I have not heard of this problem occurring elsewhere. Any advice?

A: Congrats on successfully landing your first job! How wonderful that you enjoy the company and your work responsibilities.

You are in an uncomfortable position: asking for something that you feel was promised to you back when you were first hired. Here are some options:

  1. Look in your employee handbook to determine if there is a policy on annual performance reviews. Often times there are guidelines spelled out in the handbook. 
  2. Ask HR if annual reviews are given on the employee’s first anniversary date because that was a commitment made to you when you were first hired. If it is detailed in your offer letter, this is a plus. If it was a verbal commitment, I would still ask HR. HR may tell you the performance reviews are done, but rarely on completed on time. Unfortunately, this is a common scenario. This responsibility often moves to the bottom of the manager’s “to do” list. Usually any type of salary increase would be retroactive to the original due date. If this is the case with your performance review, I would ask HR if they remind managers to complete some or all of their performance reviews.
  3. You are probably hoping to avoid asking your manager but there may be no other solution (especially if number 1 and 2 don’t work to your satisfaction). I think you could ask during a weekly/monthly meeting. Or, just an impromptu, “Hey Stephanie, should we schedule a time to talk about my performance, that one-year performance review meeting?”

I have listed my suggestions in order, from easiest to most challenging. You may decide that asking your manager first is the best route, which is fine. Good luck!

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section. Click here to read about more employment topics in The Job Doc Blog at