I have been working in my company for 1 year. It's an SME (standing for Small and Medium Enterprise, below 250 employees). I'm in a rare situation within the company where I have 2 bosses, like in matrix management (horizontal is technical, vertical is strategic).

My horizontal boss (HB) and I made some objectives for the year in the middle of it, not very well designed because I ended up doing many things (small company). My perf review was done by my vertical boss (VB) this week.

While I have a very good feedback, I know from my HB it's not well seen in the company to give 100% as the manager would be deemed "too nice". HB didn't grade me at that time, it was just part of a coffee corner chat. Well my VB didn't give me 100%. His reason was that I haven't achieved some objectives that he gave me on the day of my review. The following wording was used: "you did this and it was very good, it would be nice if you can do that in the future".

He then told me it's a discussion, so I should say what I think about it. I told him that now I have a clearer objective, we can discuss it again in one year. I left my "grade" hanging below 100, because I know he will be graded himself for his mngt job and being too nice with the employees is not well seen ; but also because it's my first performance review and I prefer responding to repeating patterns than immediately react.

As a pupil then a student, I have never given so much importance to grades. How much is it important as a working grown-up to get good grades? Was my decision wise or I should fight for the 100?

I must say both my bosses give me a lot of freedom and are always attentive to what I say, be it for technical or private business. So it's not really about them. But has a perf review an impact beyond this scope, e.g. for the human resource department?

(note: I have less than 300 IP so I cannot add the "SME" tag, but the fact it's a small company seems important to me)

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    Unfortunately, this question is pretty much company specific. In some companies, HR will pay an enormous amount of attention to the numbers on a performance review. In others, they won't. – Philip Kendall Mar 3 '17 at 13:45
  • VTC - Company specific. ( Throughout my 30 plus year career no two companies have done this the same. ) – Mister Positive Mar 3 '17 at 13:51
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    @MisterPositive I had a very good answer just below which is company independent. Thanks for your input anyways. – Wli Mar 3 '17 at 14:01

Ancedotally, I have had the "Can't give 100%" line quite a few times.

I generally see that if they tell me I am performing well, then that's enough for me. They can score it how they want/need to, as long as it skews to being above average (4/5 as a brief example).

HOWEVER this could affect any bonus scheme your employer runs. It may also skew future pay reviews. But you have still scored highly so this shouldn't be much of an issue.

Also you mention that next years' objectives were set. Make sure they are SMART ones. Then you know what you need to do to meet them and when you do meet them, it will be very difficult for them to try to lowball your score.

  • Andrew, I accept your answer because of the SMART objective design. I haven't thought of it and I still need to submit my objectives to him. Thanks – Wli Mar 3 '17 at 14:00
  • The person that thinks they cannot improve at all is a person that actually will not improve. Sounds like a percentage scale is a bad way to determine the effectiveness of an employee. I would object to a perfect review, a perfect review ( 100% ) would mean, I am doing nothing wrong and everything right? My point is a "I cannot give you a 100% review" is simply a bad review in the same way an actual "bad review" is a bad review – Donald Mar 8 '17 at 2:46

"perf review" ... you may as well call it a performance review.

How much your "mark" matters will depend on the company. Some very competitive ones may use the mark as a criteria to identify and eliminate "problem employees".

Realistically, however, a performance review is a way to gauge management's opinion of you and your skills. And no, that's no a typo; there's a difference.

You can be a technical superstar, yet step on your boss's toes, and find yourself with a terrible review, and - soon thereafter - without a job. Or you might be a mediocre performer, but become your manager's golf buddy, and find that you didn't just score quite high on the review, but also have a raise coming your way.

In performance reviews it's very important to listen to what your manager is telling you, as well as watch their body language. When your VB told you that you haven't met certain objectives, think hard: was mention of these ever brought up before?

What that should immediately tell you is that your VB probably feels you don't communicate with him very well (in his opinion he told you to accomplish something and you didn't). Whether you feel that's fair or not doesn't matter. Instead make damned sure that you establish a written, official list of objectives from him as soon as possible, and meet each one before the next review.

That being said, make sure that your objectives are clearly outlined (they specify exactly what constitutes completion), make sense, and are realistic. Something along the lines of

"Learn another programming language"

is pretty much garbage. Which language? What level of proficiency? Will I be using that language within the workplace? Who gauges my proficiency? Is there a standardized test?

"Gain X certification"

How much time will your manager give you to prepare? Is he OK with you studying for 1 hour a day, 3 days a week? What resources is the company willing to provide you with? etc.

You get the point.

  • I wouldn't try to correct the language on a SE board. You don't know our background nor the shorts inherent to our culture and in this specific case, I'm a French speaker and you guys (English speakers) use exactly the same words than us but we apparently use different shorts. Otherwise thanks for your response, the rest is valuable. – Wli Mar 3 '17 at 14:03
  • and by "shorts" I meant of course abbreviations... – Wli Mar 3 '17 at 14:05
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    @wli - use any wording you want, but on an English language site expect to be called out on any "shorts" the general population doesn't understand or agree with. This has nothing to do with insulting your "culture" and everything to do with efficient and clear communication. I've lived in an English speaking country for 15 years and never heard the word "short" used in lieu of "abbreviation", or "perf" as "performance" (could just as easily stand for "perfect"). – AndreiROM Mar 3 '17 at 14:07
  • I'm not sure where this is going, but I find it funny that someone from a country with less than 30M English speakers think their language and abbr. should be the standard. – Wli Mar 3 '17 at 14:10
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    @wli - excuse me, but I find your attitude is leaving a little something to be desired. Are you trying to tell me that as a Canadian I don't speak "real English"? And that you, sir, are the definitive authority? Ca c'est drôle. – AndreiROM Mar 3 '17 at 14:15

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