Denise Petet

I’ve had supervisors that couldn’t do my job if they tried. Quite literally could not do what I do on a daily basis…yet they are the same ones grading my performance.

so….what? the person with the best relationship with their supervisor ‘wins’? Or the person best able to convince the supervisor they are doing a good job (ie: the one best able to talk fast). if they can’t do or understand my job, how can they really grade me on performance?

So to ‘acknowledge performance’ it would seem to need knowledge on a supervisor’s behalf about the jobs their supervisees do in the first place. Which means some will have to let loose of their egos and admit that they really don’t know as much as they think they do…something that’s not easy in any organization and even harder in one like government with its appointees.

In addition, rewarding….well, for government workers we are quite often statutorially forbidden to accept gifts. Not to mention, in this budget crunch time, justifying the spending of money to ‘reward’ people for doing what the public would see as their job. A manager couldn’t even legally tell you ‘you did a great job yesterday, how about you go home early today’ without requiring that person to use accrued leave time.

We’ve tried doing an internal ‘pride’ award. Where, if you notice a person doing a good job, you go online, fill out a little certificate that is sent to that person and their supervisor. Some have gotten them, others haven’t. Theoretically everyone has the link on their computer, but the general attitude is ‘eh, just a waste of time’ so few bother to fill it out.

Some people try to acknowledge others by sending e-mails or letters to their bosses, thanking them for something they did. And those are fun to get and something you can even put into your personal file as a ‘see, i did something good’…but not everyone does it, or if it is sent to a supervisor, that supervisor often doesn’t pass it on so the employee never knows that they are doing anything that someone else noticed. (trust me, if ti’s a e-mail about something you do wrong, those never fail to be passed down 🙂 )

We’re trying to transition to a ‘five tiered pay for performance’ review system. Where, theoretically, the better you do on your review the bigger raise you will get. Some flaws have revealed themselves. First, lack of funding…while this plan was great a couple of years ago, funding for further stages may be cut out of the budget (by the very same legislature that gets an automatic raise each year, but that’s another topic). Second, there is an issue with uninformed supervisors…those that don’t know how to do a job, so how can they adequately grade your progress if they don’t really understand what your’e doing? Then there are the supervisors that, quite literally, put down as a goal for an employee to ‘be nicer to me’ ‘ do better on this’, etc….so how can a person with a review with relative goals be properly graded? (goals should be something quantitative….do these 3 tasks, read these 2 books, perform these 2 actions, etc. something that’s not up to the perception and mood of a person, but something that can be done and performed and measured)

so…biggest obstacles: lack of supervisory knowledge/training/oversight, inability to quantitatively reward someone, perception of non-physical rewards as a joke. A lack of training and accountability amongst supervisors about exactly how the reviews should be filled out and done.

And I think also a managerial attitude of ‘why the heck am i rewarding them for doing what I hired them for in the first place?’ plays into it as well.