Job appraisals: participate, but beware of danger zones
For more than 20 years, the Guild has advised members to participate as little as possible in the company’s job appraisals, currently known as the performance management system, largely because anything you said or wrote during the job appraisal process could have been used against you in disciplinary proceedings. One improvement in our current contract, ratified July 7, is that the company can no longer link the performance management system to discipline.
So the Guild can now recommend participating in the basics of this process. Under the new contract, participating can’t hurt you in the form of discipline and it might help you by improving your score and thereby increasing your chances of getting a higher discretionary raise next spring – which would be in addition to the Guild-negotiated 1.5 percent across-the-board raise you’ll get next July.
However, it’s still a flawed, highly subjective process, and there are some potential danger zones you should be wary of.
If your manager asks you for a self-assessment, the Guild recommends that you respectfully decline. It’s our position that your manager should be familiar enough with your work to assess your performance. But if your boss absolutely insists, we suggest you give yourself a rave review. Don’t give your supervisor ammunition to rate you poorly.
If your manager requests a colleague assessment, part of what’s known as a 360 review in management-speak, the Guild recommends you respectfully and forcefully decline, and let your steward know if the manager insists.
Rating your colleagues is an especially risky task for Guild members and not a great management ploy if what they’re looking for is effective teamwork. That’s because job appraisals are one of the things bosses use to determine discretionary raises, which are drawn from a limited pool of money. That gives an incentive to every employee to praise themselves to the skies and trash everybody else in their work group. Not exactly the way to get an honest picture of what’s going on and who’s doing what.
Since many of us work with colleagues outside the United States, you may get requests from colleagues in other regions to do a colleague assessment, and you may be tempted to write a glowing review for them. The Guild suggests that you do not do this, for consistency’s sake. If you wouldn’t rate the colleague next to you, why rate the colleague on the other side of the ocean?
When will lump-sum payments come?
We’ve gotten a lot of questions about when the first lump-sum payment – your share of $2.4 million – will arrive. From what management tells us, the earliest it will show up is August 19. As we’ve said since ratification, the calculations for the lump-sum payments are complicated, and have to include everybody who entered and left the Guild’s bargaining unit during the 18-month impasse period. Guild members and former members in these groups get a pro-rated share. We relied on company data, the last of which was received last week, to make our calculations, which we submitted to management this week. Even if they’d been completed earlier, management said the payments could not be made before August 19.
More in your wallet, not your paycheck
Opening your first paycheck after the new contract was ratified might have seemed a little disappointing, because the total take-home pay may have been identical or even a bit less than your previous amount. To feel a bit better, consider that your new paycheck included Guild dues deductions, which the vast majority of Guild members have been paying by credit card, debit card or check. So while your paycheck may look about the same, the amount you actually have to spend is bigger, because you are no longer seeing that credit/debit card charges or writing those checks.