Frequency of performance feedback and evaluations

Q: How often do most employees receive performance
evaluations? Is there a guideline? Also, I think everyone expects a
raise but not everyone deserves one. What are your thoughts on this?

A: Employers can design their own performance management systems.
Some may be very formal, with a detailed form (either paper or online)
and specific criteria for a salary increase. Other companies choose to
be more informal and share feedback, sometimes even just verbally, and
award salary increases based on a number of factors. Some of the factors
that I have seen companies use include individual performance, meeting
individual, team or company goals, learning a new skill or taking on
additional responsibilities. Sometimes companies set a profitability
target and if that target is not met, employees receive a small increase
or maybe no increase at all.

Most of my clients give performance feedback formally on an annual
basis and more informally throughout the year. Employees are often eager
to hear feedback and want to learn, grow and develop. Some employees
are more resistant to hearing feedback. Employees who may show
resistance, or even defensiveness, sometimes don’t receive honest and
helpful feedback, because it is so hard to share information when the
receiving party isn’t open to hearing it. We advise our clients not to
hold onto feedback, but to share it regularly and informally. Don’t wait
until the performance evaluation meeting that occurs once per year!

I believe all employees should be considered if a company is
rewarding employees with salary increases. However, some employees,
based on their performance (or other factors) should not receive an
increase. When excluding an employee from a fairly widespread salary
increase (or merit increase) program, the reasons should be clear,
understandable and legally defensible.

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.