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Asking for an Overdue Performance Review

Q: I work for a large distribution company troubleshooting lost or delayed shipments. When I started here 16 months ago, I was told that I would have a performance review and a raise after one year. To date, my boss hasn’t approached me about either. Frankly, I’m beginning to resent the delay, as I think I’m doing a good job and deserve the overdue increase. What should I do?

A: First, recognize that your career is more important to you than to anyone else at your company, including your boss. He or she may not give your performance appraisal the same priority you do. Consider the possible reasons for the delay:

  1. Your boss doesn’t remember how long you’ve been on board. While this probably isn’t true, you may wish to give him or her the benefit of the doubt.

  2. Your boss is uncomfortable rating your performance and is postponing your review, even if it’s a good one. This is very common.

  3. High level management says, “Hold the line. Put off raises as long as you can.” If you aren’t asking for an appraisal in this situation, you may not get one for months.

  4. Your supervisor has something unpleasant to discuss with you and is avoiding possible conflict by postponing your review. When you finally get it, it will probably contain a nasty surprise.

While all of the above are typical excuses for postponing your discussion, they’re not good enough to force you to wait four months beyond the scheduled review date. You need to ask for your performance appraisal and the raise you deserve, before your resentment begins to affect your work.

Schedule a specific day and time with your supervisor. Then think about both your outstanding accomplishments and stupid mistakes since you joined the concern. Put yourself in your manager’s shoes and consider how he or she will evaluate your work. Be prepared both to respond to negative feedback and point out how your efforts have benefitted the department.

Develop a list of alternative proposals on how you would like to be compensated for your above average performance. Be specific in your request. Have a dollar figure in mind. If more perquisites appeal to you as a part of your increase, don’t limit your suggestions strictly to a pay hike. Consider extra vacation time, training opportunities, a new office computer, etc., as negotiable items.

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