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Here's How You Can Contest Your Job Performance Appraisal

The essentials dos and don'ts of disagreeing with your boss
by Jason Tulio | Apr 29, 2017
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When you dedicate your weekdays to braving traffic to get to your office to slave away for hours at a time, you would probably like to think that you’re doing a good job. But the only way to really find out for sure is to hear it directly from the people you answer to. This is where performance appraisals come in.


If you’ve been working for any length of time, you’ll know that an appraisal is when your boss or manager has a lengthy talk with you about your job performance, outlining your strengths, weaknesses, achievements, and areas for improvement. According to Independent HR Consultant Jesi D. Mase, these meetings serve a few purposes.

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“The performance appraisal’s main objective is to measure the performance of an employee over a certain period," Mase explains. "There are companies that conduct their performance appraisals every quarter, every semester, or annually. For a new employee, the appraisal is usually on the third and fifth month to determine if they will be endorsed to be a permanent employee.”

They can also be used to gauge the performance of a team or department. Mase says: “[The appraisal] is also the time for a formal update from the leader to his/her team, and determine their individual or team performances in terms of the goals set at the start of the year.”


Okay, so now you know why performance appraisals exist. But what if you have your big meeting and you end up disagreeing with your boss’ opinion on your performance? What if he or she said some harsh things about your work that simply aren’t true? Sure, you can contest it, but how do you approach this touchy matter without risking termination or embarrassment. 

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Make sure all your assessments are in order

In some cases, the periodic mid-year or quarterly evaluations are meant to inform you of areas where you need to improve so you can address them in time for a big evaluation later on, usually at the end of the year. According to seasoned HR professional Paulo Cuerpo, these small assessments are just as important as the big ones.


“It’s important that the employees talk to their supervisors for their mid-year evaluations. That way, it will be easier for an employee to contest performance appraisals when they have the key result areas and the mid-year evaluation [to compare against],” Cuerpo says.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that everything is fine just because your boss isn’t saying anything. Be proactive about your career progression and find out the real score before you contest.

Back up your argument

So your assessments are in order and you want to proceed with contesting your appraisal. Before you go marching into your boss’ office in a fit of rage, you need to make sure you have your facts straight as well.

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“If an employee does not agree with their performance result, they must look for data and evidence of their performance to negate what was written on paper. Data is objective and has more weight than the subjective evaluation of the manager,” Mase advises.

List down your achievements and compare them to your boss’ assessment and your stated job tasks. These will be your best tools in defending your case.

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“The best answer to negate a not-so-good performance evaluation is still the data, attainment of targets, and your job description. These documents will determine if the employee really does their job properly,” Mase adds.

Above all, stay calm

Remember the part about having a fit of rage? Scrap that. You need to be professional in all aspects of your job, including when your boss gives you some less-than-friendly words about your performance. Relax, take a deep breath, and keep an open mind.

Mase says: “Be calm. As much as possible, control your emotions. We all know it is hard to accept negative feedback, but these feedbacks will make us more mature and even more competent in our work.”


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