Fix My Job: Advancement and Professional Development

Ed Koch, the late mayor of New York City, used to regularly greet people on the street with the question “How’m I doin’?”

It’s a question we often ask (though not necessarily out loud) at work. Everyone needs constructive feedback in order to improve performance. And the occasional pat on the back for a job well done? That’s nice too.

Many organizations require an annual performance review for employees. This allows your supervisor to tell you how you’ve been doing, and to make clear the employer’s expectations for the coming year. Often it is the time when you’re told about a raise or promotion. If you are supposed to get that review, but your boss keeps putting you off, the pay hike you’ve been looking forward to might be getting deferred as well.

Bosses who avoid sitting down with employees aren’t doing themselves any favors. A recent survey shows that 97 percent of employees aren’t engaged when they feel ignored by their managers. That’s a lot of frustrated workers, who are probably contributing less than they could to their workplaces.

How to handle a lack of timely reviews or evaluations:

  1. Find out the policy: Check your employee handbook, if you have one. If you don’t, ask your supervisor or the HR department about the policy on performance reviews. If you are represented by a union, check your contract to see if there’s a provision on reviews and evaluations.
  2. When there’s no policy: If your employer does not have any rules on evaluation, that doesn’t mean your supervisor should be skimping on feedback. Ask to sit down with the boss for a “How’m I doin’?” chat. If he or she routinely ignores you, check Fix My Job for Boss Won’t Listen . If the boss keeps finding some excuse to avoid meeting, check with your co-workers. If they also are bummed about lack of performance evaluation, you can advocate together for more feedback.If you are still not getting what you need, you might want to find a mentor – inside or outside the organization – who can discuss work issues with you. Or, if it is simply a raise you are looking for, check Fix My Job for Not Being Paid Fairly and Trouble Getting a Raise.
  3. When your boss isn’t following the rules: Here’s a common scenario. Policy calls for an annual review (along with annual consideration of raises, cost-of-living increases, and bonuses). But it’s been a couple of years since your last evaluation, and your boss still keeps weaseling out of it! There could be many reasons for this; maybe your boss a) has simply forgotten; b) isn’t comfortable giving feedback; c) is plain lazy; d) has some bad news for you and is procrastinating; or e) wants to give you that raise, but has been told by upper management to hold the line on salaries and to postpone all reviews. This is a situation where you have to be direct with your supervisor. Point out how long it has been since your last performance review. If the boss plays dumb, mention your organization’s policy. If you still can’t get a commitment to have a sit-down, find out if your co-workers are having the same problem. Then you can, as a group, have a quiet conversation with someone in HR, or with a higher-up in management.
  4. Be prepared: Once you finally get that review, be prepared. Everyone needs feedback, but negative feedback can be hard to take. Keep an open mind and don’t get too bummed out by the criticism. Be ready to act on any good advice you receive.

Useful Links

Article: No Performance Review: What to do,”

Article: “Performance reviews are more than worth it,



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