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I started this job at the start of the year. Half way through the year I was put on performance management. I feel that the PM was the wrong call.

While I passed the PM satisfactorily, because it overlapped the review period I wasn't eligible for a remuneration review. My team leader promised that he'd apply for an out of cycle remuneration review at the end of the year.

It's getting to the end of the year and I was recently sent and email asking to sort out some documentation/evidence of work done. A colleague of mine at the same level who started at the same time was also being asked for this - I think he might be in the same situation.

How can I best determine how management assesses performance at my company? It seems my company is quick to put people on PM but am not sure how best to approach this subject (or whether I should approach my colleague or manager).

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    I do not really understand what your question here is - what is your objective and goals? Are you hoping to find out if your colleague was also on a performance improvement program? Or just idle curiosity about whether he got a raise? Or wondering if asking for a raise causes problems? – enderland Nov 26 '13 at 14:32
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    @enderland I'm wanting to gauge management's assessment of performance and how willing/not willing they are to give raises or performance management. As I mentioned, I thought PM for myself was the wrong call, but I'm wondering if it's something that they're quite quick to jump to. – user10911 Nov 26 '13 at 19:18
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    @user1068446 I made some fairly significant edits to your question to clarify your core question and have voted to reopen. I focused it more on what you are asking. – enderland Nov 27 '13 at 14:21
  • Putting an employee on "Performance Management" involves a lot of extra work on the manager's part AND forces the manager into an uncomfortable situation. It is far simpler for the manager to give a satisfactory rating but low raise and be done with it. So if you were put on PM then you definately deserved to be there, it was so bad that your manager couldn't just overlook it and hope for the best in the future. – Dunk Nov 27 '13 at 16:16
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Executive Summary

Often the people who perform the reviews (direct management) do not control the budget (which determines raises/bonuses). The only way to know these are to ask:

  1. How the review process works after the direct manager conducts it
  2. How changes to pay are controlled on a team/group/department/company level
  3. Express your specific concerns to your direct manager during the review process

Swimming Upstream

Most companies over a certain size do not have any direct correlation between the quality of your performance review and changes to your compensation. Money is controlled from the top (in the form of budgets), and performance reviews are controlled from the bottom. So you have one end trying to assess how to distribute money that they haven't been given yet, and there are bound to be holes in the process.

Some companies do this by only allowing a manager to give stellar reviews to x% of their employees to get special compensation. GE was famous for letting go the worst 10% of management every review cycle. If your company has guidelines for how many people are going to be spectacularly rewarded, then you need to know how to get in that select few, and what level of management will decide it (will your team get a special budget for that? Are you competing with members in other teams in the same group? other groups in the same department? etc.).

It's hard to win the game if you don't know the rules.

Trickle-Down Economics

The other thing to understand is how much you should expect to be rewarded. Let's say you're in a giant multi-national corporation with a dozen business divisions, and subsidiaries, and many different products of varying successes. How is the budget controlled?

If your company is controlled centrally, then resources will be pooled and may be redistributed to help out the not-so-successful business units, meaning that even if your division/product is successful and making money hand-over-fist, your compensation may not reflect that success since it has been redistributed first.

If your company is controlled more locally (so each business unit gets a larger piece of the pie and pays a tribute to the parent company of a fixed amount of sales or profit), then you have to understand how the company rewards success internally. For instance, if your division has several products, do they distribute evenly? Do they reward people who work on successful products more? Do they reward with bonuses, pay raises, or even added manpower for successful divisions?

Following the money is important to managing your expectations for what sort of compensation is available even if you do get a stellar review.

There are Exceptions to Every Rule

There is usually money available that management can free up if really necessary. If you get a stellar performance review, but are disappointed in your compensation package, then feel free to tactfully bring that up your manager (which is covered in this question). If you are worth it, they can always find a way that cuts through some of the bureaucracy that plagues many organizations, but you probably have to be beyond spectacular for them to spend their political capital on.

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