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Is it acceptable to ask for a copy of your performance review prior to meeting with your manager to give me time to read over what was said?

My manager sent me a meeting request to meet for my review late in the day for the following day. I have seen other employees with their folders and heard them talking about them the day prior to going into their meetings.

My manager has in the past given them to me 20 minutes prior to meeting and I just want time to read it completely before hand.

  • So other employees have theirs and you want to know if it is okay for you to request yours? – bruglesco Mar 14 at 22:43
  • I want to know if prior to meeting with my manager if it is acceptable to request a copy of it before discussing. Others in the office got theirs the day before their meeting. – Andrea Hoff Mar 14 at 22:44
  • I'm pretty sure this is company dependent so I am not going to answer but yes. If it is acceptable for others to get their file it should be acceptable for you as well. Just ask politely. – bruglesco Mar 14 at 22:47
  • @AndreaHoff and how did those other get theirs? – DarkCygnus Mar 14 at 22:47
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    I've yet to have a performance review that wasn't just some desultory box-ticking exercise, so knowing the content of it in advance probably won't matter too much. On the off chance that either you or your manager is going to bring up something serious, you should probably let each other know in advance but otherwise, meh. – Matthew Barber Mar 15 at 0:33
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It’s not only acceptable but prudent. It would be considered unprofessional to attend any other type of meeting without having reviewed the relevant background material. Why should your performance review be any different? Spending less time summarizing the report and more time discussing it should be in everyone’s best interest.

So, I'd say go ahead and ask. Do it in a friendly manner. If your manager says no or doesn't respond, don't press the issue. He/She could have a good reason (or at least a reason) for doing things a certain way and you don't want to come across as confrontational.

As a side note, the contents of the review really shouldn't come as a surprise. An official report isn't the right place to bring up issues for the first time. If your manager is doing this, it's something you might want to bring up in the meeting. (Again, in a friendly, non-confrontational tone.)

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Review policies and procedures vary widely from company to company. So, if your question is "will my manager give me a copy of my review before the meeting?" the answer is company specific.

But your question was "is it acceptable?" The answer is yes. Try saying something like, " Do you think it would help me prepare for my review meeting if I could read over your written review ahead of time." You should be prepared for the manager to say "no" for any number of reasons. But who knows? You might get the review to read. At any rate, no harm will be done. Your question proves you take the process seriously.

Be aware that managers are human. They sometimes are late giving reviews. Sometimes they're not very thoughtful. HR might be pestering them to finish the reviews and they might do the minimum. Sometimes they're more terrified of reviews than anybody else. Really.

Reviews are hard for managers. It can take years to learn to do them well. So be patient with your manager's efforts.

Treat your review as an opportunity to learn to communicate with your manager and do your job better and you can't go wrong.

(And, if honest polite questions about how the company works are career-limiting moves -- if you get punished for asking such questions -- that's not good.)

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