https://civilservice.blog.gov.uk/2014/09/22/surviving-mid-year-reviews/

5 tips for surviving Mid-Year reviews

Firstly let me introduce myself. My name is Jo Sheppard and I am a District Operations Manager in Jobcentre Plus in East London. I have 6 direct reports and beneath them just under 200 staff in my team.

That’s a whole lot of mid-year reviews which is why I feel qualified to offer my 5 top tips for surviving the MYR process:

1. The new Self Assessment Tool

This is a must! The new Assessment Tool can be found on Civil Service Learning (CSL) along with a whole host of development tips, hints and help. There are two parts for this for me – firstly my development, and secondly my teams. I complete the self assessment tool every few months. Our skills and experiences change so often in the department that you need to keep this fresh. If I don’t know how I need to develop, how can I assist and help my teams? So it has to start with me.

Once I have completed the assessment tool the report is equally useful – it links clearly into the developmental areas that I need to look at. It really focuses me on what should be on it, rather than what I want on it! It is then up to me to discuss this with my teams and equally their self assessments with me.

2. Development plans

A person who I really admire once advised me to be selfish about my development – they were right, and I pass this advice on to my team. If you don’t look up from the day job every so often you miss a lot of the good stuff that’s going on around you!

I now complete a development plan and update it every few months. It really should be linked to your career goals, i.e. where do I want to be in a year’s time? Does my development plan support me on this and will it help me to get there? When you log on the CSL site you can track how close you are to your 5 days learning per year – again really helps to focus!

3. The mid-year

The mid year review is your mid year review – so its time to take control and talk to your line manager about you. A great opportunity for you to advise and discuss how you are doing, whilst planning for the next 6 months. Go in prepared to discuss what matters to you, give yourself time to prepare and lead the conversation. This is an hour or so with your Line Manager so be selfish and talk about you!

4. Set achievable objectives

At the mid year make sure you give yourself objectives, of when you are going to take the action by. This sounds obvious but I have often failed in this area, it keeps you focused and gives your line manager an idea of how committed you are to what you are doing.

I love it when a member of my team comes in and knows what they are going to do, why and when by. It shows that they are taking control of their own career.

5. Learn from others

Finally, learn from all the people around you. Talk to people about what they doing in terms of their development, their role, make networks and learn from them! It’s the easiest and best way to pick up snippits of info that you never knew, or had never thought about!

Good luck and please post any top tips you have in the comments box below.

132 comments

  1. Sammy Hames-Pritchard

    I have followed the advice and completed the self assessment tool. Great tip!! It was really useful. Thankyou

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    • MOHAMMED QURESHI

      If you had a survey in the DWP regarding the mid/end of year reviews the result would be " waste of time."

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      • Nigel

        Possibly the only honest reply on here!

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      • Dan

        There is a huge quantity of guidance and training aimed at making the Performance Management system work, and this suggests that that something isn't working. It is crap and should be ditched. It is based on discredited concepts like 'development' and 'competencies'. which have very little credibility for most staff. More than that, it cynically toys with people by a mixture of carrot and stick but no concern for the individual.

        Many people have decided that trying to get ahead by playing the game is just too demeaning and distasteful and are resigned to not getting promotion.

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    • Jason

      Seems to me every one dreads or hates mid or end of year reviews, so why on earth do we have to do them. Surely there is something more people friendly than this system?

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    • Jayne

      In my experience it basically nearly always boils down to whether you can 'talk the talk' rather than 'walk the walk'.

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      • Mohammed

        I thoroughly agree with Jayne. Those who do the job long enough to be judged on performance grounds may have sadly learned that doing it well doesn't get you recognised. It boils down to some taking an amoral view, which I think is worse than an immoral view. These end up selling themselves. Blind ambition is part of the reason we are in a mess.. They believe their own press & then others believe it too because they know no differently. Then we wonder why we are in a mess! My opinion, for what little it is worth, is that many, but not all, people surround themselves with like minded people. If they don't have a clue about how to do a good job themselves but have also played the system, then they won't question what others are actually doing. Nepotism rules. Being able to play the system is becoming an art form for those who find the time instead of working, despite only being given a hour to apply for jobs in work time. It's a reason why some of the best people don't get on. If you want to get on, do so without staying in a role long enough for people to find out that maybe the truth is that you can't do it. What happened to manager's recommendations? Many of these people haven't been reigned in by being told that they haven't yet learned the job they are currently doing and to learn to walk before the can run. Fortunately I'm not interested in promotion, have served 37 years & have 5 left. If I was interested in promotion I'd have more to say about those who get on by window dressing, which is detrimental to their colleagues who pick up the slack whilst these people are failing their core duties because they are too busy chasing the next competence. Sycophancy over substance. 🙁

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        • Julie

          Mohammed you are so right! i have 21 years service and in all that time i have seen the ones who "play the game" get promotion! i have given up trying and just get on with going the best i can!!

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          • Janet

            Totally agree with Mohammed. We don't have time (even they say we should make time) to spend on getting evidence for the appraisals when you are on a front line demanding job n doing extra work while short staffed. We are human after all. I wish the powers that be could show me how it's done

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        • Lovitt

          Is this familiar?

          An American Company and a Japanese Company decided to engage in a boat race. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance levels. On the big day they felt ready. The Japanese won by a mile. The American team was discouraged by the loss. Morale sagged. Corporate management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found, so a consulting firm was hired to investigate the problem and recommend corrective action.

          The consultant's finding: The Japanese team had eight people rowing and one person steering; the American team had one person rowing and eight people steering.

          After a year of study and millions spent analyzing the problem, the consultant firm concluded that too many people were steering and not enough were rowing on the American team.

          So as race day neared again the following year, the American team's management structure was completely reorganized.

          The new structure: four steering managers, three area steering managers, and a new performance review system for the person rowing the boat to provide a work incentive.

          The next year, the Japanese won by TWO miles!!! Humiliated, the American corporation laid off the rower for poor performance and gave the managers a bonus for discovering the problem.

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    • Janet

      This blog does not help in the slightest. If anything, it has the opposite effect. Not everyone has the same opportunity, or time to "chat" to their colleagues, even within the same offices. There is no training on the completion of MYRs(for Band Bs anyway) and the guidance on CSL is worse than appalling - I tried to find it last year - what I found was classed as excellent advice, but it actually gave no information on what to do. In my book, as a training aid, that is a major fail. Sorry.

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    • splr

      I have never seen or heard of such an uncomfortable process in all my years. in short... I have seen a lot of people able to promote very mediocre work but make it sound like they've changed the world...

      Whatever happened to celebrating output, or success that way. Surely the amount of outsourcing and privatising of functions shows THE CURRENT SYSTEM IS NOT WORKING!!!

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  2. Karen Eyre

    Some great ideas here - and a reminder to us all that we shouldn't let our own development fall to the bottom of the to-do list. The MYR is a really good opportunity to plan the second half of the year and take stock of how you're doing. I lead a large operational team and I would love to see my staff taking ownership and using the MYR process to lead a discussion with their line manager.

    Karen Eyre
    Assistant Director
    Home Office

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    • John Knox

      If the Government were serious about this system , then surely they should have provided some training for the staff away from the pressured environment of the workplace. It is too difficult to access information on how to approach and prepare for these meetings, especially considering the lack of user friendly systems and the many areas where information is placed. How can staff be expected to take time out to prepare, reflect and plan when the management are pressuring them to meet targets. Also the moderation negates the whole process anyway, so in effect the Department is being extremely wasteful of resources.

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  3. Ian Charlton

    "Finally, learn from all the people around you. Talk to people about what they doing in terms of their development, their role, make networks and learn from them!" - The decision to adopt the 'rank & yank' appraisal scheme is hardly conducive to sharing development tips with your peer group!

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  4. Edward

    No man is an island. Good tips!

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  5. Bob

    Should this really be classified as "Surviving" a mid year review? As a manager I wouldn't pass on this 'tips' due to the negative connotations in the title. A review should be a positive experience for both parties. To title it "surviving" gives staff the wrong message in the first place.

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    • Terry

      Completely agree with Bob's comment regards the heading of this document. 'Surviving' sends out all the wrong signals to staff.

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    • Fraser

      I have to agree with this. Alluding to this process as one of 'survival' is particularly unhelpful and can only add to the stress many of our colleagues feel when dealing with PMR.

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    • ADC

      Totally agree - my heart sank when I saw the word "surviving". I have 18 direct reportees, none of whom want to enage in this process. For our mid-year reviews we have to produce a 250 word summary and 3 x 250 word competency statements. Motivating them to do that when they see no benefit is hard enough and I certainly won't be pointing them to this article no matter how good the tips might be!

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    • Steve McFadden

      Bob makes a fair enough observation but I actually find it quite refreshing how plainly Jo approaches the dread of Mid Year Reviews staff tend to have. Experience in DWP was that we never shied from how openly we disliked the process, and the new format seems to be especially controversial, so the title seems quite fitting.

      My favourite Line Manager was the one who would get to this point in the year and exchange a pained look with me. We were professional enough to get on with it, but we were close enough that we didn't feign interest in a process that required hours of work for a modest chance of recognition, to say nothing of the upheaval it caused amongst the staff. That honesty tied with a good working relationship was the basis for my best reporting year ever. I can only imagine that if she were to write a similar article, it would be titled, “Mid Year Reviews: There’s a reason to go on living – no, really.”

      That aside, I think Jo offers some really great tips and insight, and I love the positivity this article is bristling with. Mid Year Reviews *should* be a good thing. The fact that the system is messy cannot be remedied by us, so we need to find ways to make it work for us.

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    • Graeme Miller

      Whilst the tips may be good, use of the word survive does not help to manage the concerns of staff about the PMR process and the requirment to meet guided distribution or else. It is language like this that has demonised the whole process and led to the creation of a cottage industry around feedback to demonstarte worth.

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    • Dawn

      I find it rather insulting as a grown adult and not a junior school pupil that it is assumed the word, 'surviving' could be construed as 'sending the wrong message'! We are all adults with our own independent opinions. No matter how it is worded, our knowledge and experience will see through the so called positive spiel. However; personally I have found the PMR very useful for my own purposes of completing competency based application forms. Other than that I think it is such a drain on our forever depleting resources.

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      • Jacqueline Brown

        When I read "surviving" in the title of the article, I just took it as a bit of a jokey comment.I didn't detect any intent for the title to be taken very seriously.

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    • Audrey Hammond

      Absolutely. There should not be a dreaded fear of your mid year review. If constant communication exists as it should do with your line manager then there should be no surprises really. Simply an opportunity to brag about your achievements of the past six months and display your plans for the next six months. Simple really. 🙂

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  6. Rashmita

    "One needs to be selfish when it comes to one's development"....I have realised late in life but so true.Great tips!

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  7. Billy

    I would also suggest ensuring that your evidence examples are kept up to date and align with the Civil Service Competency Framework. Get used to seeing your development achievements as competency achievements and you'll stay in the zone when preparing for development opportunities.

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  8. Julian Harris

    Good tips but hard to follow. Please bear in mind staff like myself who is severely Dyslexic/ low level Austic and present in shorter sentences with less punctuation. That way I could get more quality from your advice. The fact that this box is not spell checked is a handicap as well

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  9. Clive

    Tip number 3 - The Mid Year. Am I missing something because I really can't see any tip in it. Is the tip in it "to talk in your review"? Is the tip, that it's a good idea to actually have the review? Or is it just empty rhetoric as I suspect.

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  10. Gemma Williams

    Great tips!
    Another Tip - Set clear dates in your diary for 'your' development so you dont forget! its a busy time and everything is 100 miles an hour and often our own development gets left behind. Dont let it!

    Gemma Williams
    Fraud and Error Service - FIU

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  11. Renu

    Very good tips. Learn from others towards your development and help the others to develop with your knowledge.

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  12. Jeetendra Mistry

    I have my MYR review today with my manager. The Self Assessment Tool went a long way in assisting me with the self-appraisal I submitted to the manager last week. Now I am looking forward to receive feedback on what I have achieved in past 6 months as well as plan ahead for the second half of this year.

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  13. Malo Harvey

    Very useful tips but sadly, no amount of tips can compensate for the big problem with our Performance Review system - the consistency meetings which stealthily modify the mark awarded by our line manager. This is done in order to meet an artificial diktat that x per cent of staff will get a y marking. Absurd and unjust.

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  14. SA

    Am I the only one who has practically given up using the CSL website? Every time I try to access it I get the message that my password is incorrect and I have to set a new one. What a waste of time.

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    • Simon Luther (Insolvency Service)

      I agree. I imagine that there all sorts of useful things available on CSL but most aren't available without signing in and I usually don't follow them through on a whim in case a glance at the resource shows it isn't what I need and I have wasted the time taken to find / change the password, etc.

      What is the current mania for password protecting everything? There cannot be anything too contraversial, or anything that we need to keep hidden from those who are not (yet) civil servants - in fact, aspirant civil servants may be the people who would benefit most from access. If I was inclined to cynicism I might be tempted to think that it was all about statistics and counting the 'hits' ...

      I'm guessing that this isn't the best place to moan about that. Does anyone have any suggestions for where it might be listened to ?

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      • F G

        Thought I was the only one who couldn't get this website to work!! It is a bit of a conundrum trying to get into it and navigate it!!!

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  15. Dave

    I work in a small department that is severely overloaded and where any distractions including pdmr, review and mandatory training are universally disliked. We are trying to provide some sort of customer service and these things are an unnecessary burden. I am quite envious of departments that appear to have the time to carry out these tasks and give them the attention they deserve. As it is, in a department that is continually 'firefighting', they actually reduce customer service levels.

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  16. Dee

    Tip 3 - 'This is an hour or so with your Line Manager....', an hour! With around 500,000 civil servants that a lot of hours! If you add this together with interim 1-2-1 discussions and the end of year discussions, validation etc it all adds up to a colossal amount of 'hours'; which could then be converted into working days, months and years. This is certainly a time consuming process and one which, from all the previous comments I've seen/heard, is one that is universally hated and long since abandoned by just about every other sector.

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    • George Formby

      Interesting debate this. Clearly we are not furnished with a system that aids managers or staff but I doubt the powers that be will confess to this

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    • Sean

      Agree with John & Dee

      I know many people that have spent a minimum of 3 days working on PMR and evidence logs, on my team that equates to 21 man days. If this was repeated throughout HMRC (54000 FTE?) this equates to 162000 man days. Bearing in mind that 3 days is a very conservative figure and in some cases 10 days would be closer to the truth if you include the preparation for 121s, so we could be looking at figures up to 540000 days (maybe I’ve made a mistake? Can that be true?)
      For an organisation so concerned with time lost due to sickness I find this incredible, appalling, mind boggling. Not to mention this time could be spent on core business.
      The present PMR system beggars belief, after spending all the time mentioned above on your PMRs, you could find your marking overturned by a “validation group” that have no clue whatsoever regarding the work you do or in some cases who you actually are!
      I must highlight I have never had a “must improve” or “Less effective” marking, always had good or top, so this is not sour grapes or just whinging.

      I for one come into work to focus on WORK, I don’t have staff (thankfully) so HR should be very low on my list of priorities, I also (crazy though this may be) expect my “Manager” to write my report because I would hope he/she would have some sort of idea regarding my attitude and performance! I’m not in the least interested in HR, especially HR philosophies from over the Atlantic or anywhere else. To top it all, buying into this is now part of our job!!
      Give staff management & decision making back to line Managers, line Managers should be experts in their field and they should certainly know the work that their staff are doing.

      I fear all that will come of these policies will be a loss of expertise, efficiency and experience that will degrade the Service as a whole. IT staff do IT, Tax staff do Tax, Statistical staff do Stats and that’s what should be reported on. There are some useful parts of the new system such as 121s and perhaps a very basic evidence log (or memory jogger), but I don’t think I should spend more than a day per year on HR (my report).

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  17. David

    I agree with the previous "Dave". I am far too busy and often stressed trying to meet unrealistic targets to be able to give much thought to these reviews. I don't know of any one who takes them seriously. They just slow us down and add to the stress. I am sure that any good manager would note any areas of need for improvement or training and bring them to the worker's attention without wasting man-hours on this.

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  18. KATH KENNEDY

    I think it is a pity that we have to concentrate on blowing our own trumpets to avoid being marked down. We should be judged on the quality/quantity of our work. If we were able to get on with the work instead of being encouraged to go to this or that meeting to show our interest in the business, then the work would be handled more efficiently & quickly.The customers wouldnt have to ring as much chasing up their claims/ the time we spent on turrets would reduce & everyone would be happier/less stressed.

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    • Tony

      I find 'Blowing my own trumpet' embarrassing. I hate phraselogy that sounds like it comes out of a HRM gurus handbook. I'll just complete using existing guidance and happy to be judged fairly (I would hope) on that.

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  19. Wendy Turner

    The best tip would be "Make sure your manager has read and understood the guidance. Ensure they know what 'negative behaviours' actually are. Ensure they know that PMS is evidence based and that 'perception' is not a valid measure. Remind them that, if they have knowledge from 'moderation' meetings that could affect marks awarded to staff, those staff have a right to know where the goalposts are now.
    All-in-all, hold your manager to account."
    That would be useful.

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  20. Ally

    I agree with the person who made the comment about the civil servise web site - every time I try and use it I get a message telling me my log on details are incorrect!
    In addition as already said we have quotas for performance which leads to low morale, feeling pressured and really doesn't fit many work areas. Stress is an increasing problem and it is being exascertated by the perfmance managment system - I feel for line managers, they are subject to it as well.

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  21. Sally Nix

    The title of the message "5 tips for surviving the mid year review" is giving an offensive & negative message. It is putting up defences before the process has even begun. Do you appreciate the difficult messages that managers may have to give & staff may have to receive during this process. At least 5% of staff will be getting a difficult message. A more appropriate title would have been 5 tips for approaching the mid-year review. Perhaps the author of this piece will call the end of year review " How I survived the end of year review"

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  22. Steph Allen

    I would love to be able to do all the things that people suggest, but when would i then do the job I am being paid to do? I know my Line Manager and my Reporting officer are happy for me to set time aside to go and refere to CSL and DLP and do various courses there in, however, trying to find half a day here and there, as well as sorting ABP and other related documentation concerning Reserves, I am sorry, but it isn't practical, especially as I am the only Civilian working here. the FTRS guys help, but they have their tasks too. Nice idea, but with most of us, it is impractical. Start off the right way at beginning of year ie May/June, but it all goes south after that!!

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  23. Sam

    My tip is to figure out what the current buzzwords are and try to fit them in. Just don't have any expectations of fairness or reasonability. PMR is at least as much about does your face fit than how well you do your job. Management are required to judge a minimum % as fail and as witnessed by several responses to the publication of Talent Action Plan this isn't necessarily done on the basis of merit. Also keep records of what your manager says - you may need this if you wish to appeal against an unfair assessment.

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  24. Clare

    all this extra effort and "lost time" for a measley 1%. What I despise most of all however is that it's not enough to just do the job and enjoy it, oh no. You HAVE to WANT to develop yourself. It's frowned upon to the point where you could get a "must improve" (and not even your 1%!) Why can't I just be happy doing what I'm doing and doing it well? Why must I be bullied into doing courses and PMR and CI stuff when I have no desire to progress up the food chain (to be even MORE involved with this corporate behaviour? No thank you!) Can't management be satisfied that I'm doing well at the job they hired me to do? Apparently not. Still, I get 1%.

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  25. Claudine

    I agree. "surviving the mid year review" suggests that we are being dragged through it unwillingly. Perish the thought! What about "Making the most of your in year review - 5 useful tips"
    I agree that they are useful tips, along with all the other useful tips proffered so far. There is nothing like taking a positive interest in yourself and in your career. It always starts with 'Self'.

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  26. Helen

    My Objectives are pre set and are the same as colleagues who do the same job. I have never been able to make suggestions regarding objectives.

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  27. Alex

    I couldn't find the pro forma for the development plan on CSL - the link embedded in paragraph 2 just goes to the landing page of the site. Can you tell me how to find the pro forma?

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  28. Clive

    I agree with peoples comments here, why should you have to SURVIVE a mid year review? Why should you have to blow your own trumpet, if you do a good job? Being selfish is negative advise, and nothing positive will come out of it in the long run.

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  29. Sade Bamgboye

    This is an amazing article it is so applicable and relevant.

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    • Rohina Sebukka

      All great stuff. I can't fault this post! This is actually the best written piece i have ever read not just on the internet but in any medium. Future generations will probably store this article in museums next to cave paintings, the magna carta and romeo and juliet. For my own part ive printed it off and posted it on my fridge so it can gee me up every morning before work. it's just amazing. I am shivering with excitement and enthusiasm for my six month review now. what a time to be alive!

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      • Ross McLellan

        Rohina, that comment is top notch. Thanks for brightening up a dull afternoon.

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      • Clare

        there should be a "like" button for this!!

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        • John

          Ah.... like buttons..... I remember them..... The good old days before PMR, when having an opinion was not looked upon as a "bad behaviour".
          Rohina's comment of 25/9/14 just made a very stressful day much more bearable. Absolute classic.

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      • Mary Smeeth

        Best post ever. Thank you for making me laugh.

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  30. Dave S

    I am a fairly new line manager (12 months) and find the reporting procedure very difficult to fulfill. My staff (14) are all skill zones working in a specialist vehicle workshop with no customers other than the training department. How do a set an objective to be exceeded when their objective is to provide vehicles for courses on set dates. if I manipulate the objective to have 90% of the vehicles available (so that it can be exceeded) and they work to the set objective courses would not happen. How do I set objectives for the person employed to sweep up and empty bins? The system does not seem to fit skill zone workers.

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  31. Terry

    The title "surviving" your mid year review is very apt. Since I'm completely demoralised from a multi-year pay freeze/1% cap/pension deduction increase and since the promised IT/personal development hasn't materialised (the last bit of development in the civil service I had was about 7 years ago, about the same age as my second hand PC) it hardly enthuses one to be bothered with this whole cock and bull process. To top it all I've never even had a discussion this reporting year to set work objectives and as others have said if your face doesn't fit then you'll get a must improve anyway to fit the enforced quota. All this process does is to encourage the more able staff to up sticks to the private sector.

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    • Chris

      The title of this article really scares me - do managers really think like this these days? That their staff need to survive - is the CS really turning all Charles Darwen on us???

      I do however fear this is true - for the last 10 years the only people who get promotion are those who are simply good at self promotion. That was ok as you could always decide not to go for the prmotion. Now we have PMR/PMS which takes it a step further - I have literally just received an email from a friend of mine with 32 years service who tells me she is bordering a must improve simply because she has been doing the same job for 10 years and her manager feels she is not developing. She doesn't want to develop - she's happy, the department are happy with the work she does but the process, in the form it is being adopted, thinks not. The manager is naturally under pressure to find the "Must Improve" and on that basis it looks like being her.

      What a way for the CS to motivate it's people. Especially when it's those people who come in and graft on a day to day basis who keep the heads above water allowing those who want to develop the time away from the "day job" to do just that.

      You really couldn't make it up.

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  32. carl

    I have 64 direct reports the process is a nightmare, as none of the staff are interested in development they want to come in do their job and go home. end of story

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  33. Jill

    I find it very frustrating that with the new reporting system (no narative) my RO and CSO gave me and my staff what they perceived as good steady scores putting us, according to the matrix at the top of box 2. Imagine our surprise when we all ended up in box 3. We are now subject to a PIP that our RO doesn't think we should be doing and who has struggled to fulfil the requirements (as aircraft engineers there aren't that many CSL courses available to help us improve). Our RO/CSO and Station Commander have all said that they think we do a good job so where do we go from here? Moderation did not change anything. To say that our morale took a dip is an understatement!

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  34. Liam Edmenson

    No sepcific advice given, just vague ideas and the usual meaningless civil service lingo being spouted.

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  35. Ervin Devney

    My advice to anyone is do your job, do it well and the review takes care of itself. All the rest is bull.

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  36. John Doe

    Six month review? As per last year, I and many others have still not had their begining of year discussion/ set objectives etc. The sooner this is taken up by proper comedians the better. Perhaps then a replacement to this wasteful, "one size fits all" that actualy is relevant can be forthcoming.

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  37. Buster Friendly

    I can never get on to the CSL site, so this mythical self assessment tool remains in the realm of the unicorn ( along with all the worthless mickey mouse tick-in the-box courses ). The mid-year review is only part of the soul crushing performance management regime. My line manager and I both know how I work and perform against my objectives, and if there are any problems we sort them out as we go- this formal review stinks of what makes grass grow.

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  38. Chris

    It would be nice to have had objectives set. The way things are going where are I work I'll most likely find out what they are around March 2015

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  39. Paul

    Having been an RO for 26 Band D's spread through all four corners of the country, this is definately not a one size fits all process. Reports should be on a departmental basis and not across the piste. How can you compare an office bound employee with those that spen a great deal of time on the road and or deployed? The MYR is a burdon as is the remainder of the process because it is not necessarily focused on the department or individuals actual requirements. I am part of a small team in a niche capability and even with people having similar disciplines, there were sufficient differences that they could not be compaired. If the self assessment tool is so good, why is it not mandated? Personal development; I wish I could get people in high places to understand and support my role, never mind my development.

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  40. Adrian

    If someone with experience offers advice I will listen and decide whether or not I wish to follow it. On this occassion, though I agree with much of what has been said above, I will take the advice. We may not like it (I know I don't) but we've got to make the best of the situation.

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  41. Winston Smith

    SET objectives? We (HMRC) are told what our objectives are, and that's that. Agree with what has been said about "surviving"; though maybe it's just being realistic!

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  42. Richard

    I think they seriously need to rethink the title "how to SURVIVE a mid year review". It emphasises the distain this system already has amongst the workforce.

    I am also astonished that in this era of austerity, cost cutting and efficiency measures we are invloved in a work performance reporting system that seems needlessly complex and time consuming.

    I am not sure about the "survival" tips here but I was tasked to write my own objectives which took about fifteen minutes, they ere cleared by my RO in about ten minutes and my mid-year review was a chat all of fifteen minutes saying all was dandy. Why it should take an hour as mentioned here to tell a person they are really great or need to improve I really cannot comprehend.

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  43. Liz Smith

    All well and good the advice but like a lot of others, unable to access the 'tools' in civil service learning.

    Link to this comment
  44. Claire

    Thank you for the 'tips' but Kath Kennedy 24/9/14 and Clare 24/9/14 gave the best summary of how so many of us feel about the reporting system and this 'new' system in particular. Many experienced long term staff want to continue doing their jobs professionally, assisting the public and respecting their work colleagues without the fear of a 'not met' because they do not want to progress up the career ladder.

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  45. Joanne

    I agree with 'Clare' ...why should I want to go on this course or that course that has no relevance to me. Is it just so that we are all able to do each others jobs and then on a daily basis may be placed anywhere there is a shortfall within the establishment? I am 50 years old and have no interest in progressing to a higher grade. I have up to recently enjoyed my work and have put 100% effort into it to ensure that i give excellent quality in all I do. I believe that attending courses and meetings which just tick a box on my developement plan would decrease the effort, interest in and quality of my work...what is the point of that.

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  46. BH

    Those of us who have been in the service for many years and who provide the experience and grounding that enable the 'self praisers' to gather examples of their 'self worth' don't value a review meeting with the type of manager who sees the process as something that she is capable of surviving. We are the bedrock of the civil service that enable those less competant and less confident colleagues and managers to sing their own praises by ensuring that we dedicate every day of our working lives to carrying out the work we are employed to do to the highest standard thus providing the time for the 'self praisers' to meet with managers to record their 'self worth'. The competant, confident and experienced among us see this as an example of the poor calibre of manager now in post who have secured their position through recording their own 'self praise and self worth' and who value those team members who are capable of doing the same. I and those like me know our own value and respect a manager who makes themselves aware of our worth and not one who relies on our having to blow our own trumpet.

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  47. John

    I very rarely click on links in emails I am sent because I am too busy with my current work load to make time to read them so I was glad I clicked here and read that others are also fed up with the current PMR process.

    In my office management awarded someone outstanding despite them having been reported for something bad they did and having continued to do so. Because of things like this I have no faith in the PMR process.

    Staff are leaving and not being replaced. Jobs are in doubt. Workloads are increasing for the remaining staff and we have to find time to do projects just so HMCTS can be seen to be improving their staff. Time spent working on projects is time spent not working. If you have the time to work on projects you do not have a heavy workload IMO. And what about the other members of staff having to pick up the extra workload as a result of colleagues working on projects. Are they getting outstanding for coping with that or any R&R?

    If you get your own workload completed you will just get a ‘good.’ If you help others and let your own workload suffer slightly as a result you might get an ‘outstanding.’ If you do both and do a project you might get an ‘outstanding’ but again, what about the rest of your team who pick up the slack. What do they get?

    PMRs are also supposed to address attitude. None of this has been addressed in my office.

    PMRs also seem to be about selling yourself, something you should only need to do in an interview not in your day to day job. I am someone who gets praised verbally a reasonable amount and someone others go to for help but I do not have time to sit down and write this all out in an essay every time to sell myself at my PMR. If I am not doing my work or am doing it badly that should be addressed. If I am working without complaint I should just be left to it.

    Most of us have jobs, not careers.

    I still do not understand how to fill my PMR form in. I have my meeting and put it in the drawer because my workload is too pressing.

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  48. Stu

    If you have any problems with logging on to the CSL portal then please email the helpdesk at helpdesk@civilservicelearning.org.uk and they will be happy to look into it for you.

    Link to this comment
  49. Stu

    You can access the online personal development plan in your ‘my account’ area of the CSL portal. If you have any problems then please email the helpdesk at helpdesk@civilservicelearning.org.uk

    Link to this comment
  50. mark

    Why would I want to share anything with my colleagues when I am being judged against them ? The current quota system encourages me to highlight colleagues shortfalls in order to make me look better than them. If you judge me against others performance then too right I will be selfish in my own development in order to look better than those around me.

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  51. Stuart Bennett

    Whilst we understand how frustrating it can be for people to have to log into the CSL website, there are a few reasons why this is necessary:
    • Learner records – the login ensures that a users learning record is correctly linked, wherever they are. This means that they can start and complete things like e-learning and self assessment at different times and on different devices. This is unique to you and is the equivalent of having an account with Amazon.
    • Accessing face to face courses – when you book a face to face course through CSL, we need to know who you are so that we can get you the information that you need to attend the course and to make sure that the billing process is completed.
    • Commercial issues – we have a number of resources that are free for access on the website that we have bought access to, on behalf of Civil Servants. In the absence of a password protection system, anyone from around the world could access these free resources. This means that many suppliers would not be able to work with us.

    But, this is a clearly a big issue that prevents a lot of people from accessing our website and there are other options for us doing this – we could move the login so you can browse the site and only enter a user name and password when you need to book a face to face course, launch e-learning or access a learning resource. We’re looking at this and there are, like everything, advantages and disadvantages that we will have to consider. We do hear your concerns though and are listening.

    Thanks, Stuart
    Civil Service Learning

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    • Michael

      No issue with logging in - what frustrates me is temperamental software, where you are tripped up with an inaccessible page when you are inside!

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  52. L Sedge

    I do find this interesting and very helpful, my problem is my manager. He has no idea what he is doing - I was his first one this year and our ASR forms etc have changed and he hasn't got a clue. I should have had a start of year meeting, this didn't happen as we didn't get our objectives until June 2014!
    Another point is we are all meant to have 4 days learning per year. Great in principle, lousy in practice. I've been told I do 1.5 persons job, so when am I meant to make time to do 5 days training?

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  53. DAVID

    Why should we even bother doing our own reviews again just to be told next July that even though we got a 'good' for the hours spent composing and evidencing our own review, we actually arent going to get the measly 1% payrise that we had been promised?
    Is it worth doing the review to get a good or outstanding mark so that we can use it in applications for promotions etc? well no, not really as there are pretty much zero opportunities being offered anyway.
    should we do it for our own satisfaction and to boost our own morale? again, not really, because with the amount of things being taken from us or thrown at us at the moment, it would be like throwing a deck chair off the titanic.

    If anyone actually can think of a good reason, then please feel free to share with the rest of us.

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  54. Anne

    I too am one of those 'who've been around for a while' and have seen many appraisal systems come and go. I decided to 'play ball' this year and do what my manager said I had to (which was not just do a great job, but look outside that and do something else as well), so I volunteered for an 'Excellence Event'. I listened to all these fast-trackers, talent-spotted individuals saying what fantastic opportunities they'd had. When I asked the question 'Who does the work when you're away on these schemes, and what thanks do they get for it?' I was shot down, told standing still was not an option and we all had to move on and develop. As many of the earlier contributors have noted, there are many, many people out there, doing a great job and providing an excellent customer service. Clearly we're not valued for what we do, but we're of that age where we take pride in what we do, and management are relying on us continuing in that vein. I've tried to play by their rules, and still got nowhere. Roll on retirement!

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  55. Gerry

    Ok, let's take a moment and look at what a MYR is. It's a chat with your LM about where your going and what you're doing to get good box markings at the end of the reporting year.
    But it matters not a jot because neither you nor your LM has an inkling of what others in your assessment group are doing or what the assessment panel will decide. Your LM has no idea whether you are heading for a Box 2 or Box 3 - and that matters a lot.
    They can tell you that they're happy with your work or not, but that's about it. I know that my LM was left very bemused and frustrated after the last PAR round. I suspect that's not going to improve.

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  56. Kim B

    It's apparent from the comments above that PMR's are generally viewed as a waste of time. I totally agree with 'Tony' in that I find it embarrassing 'blowing my own trumpet'. I also agree with 'Dee' and think it is a colossal amount of time wasted considering the numbers of civil service staff that complete such reviews. One isn't even 'allowed' to be genuinely sick because of lost working hours but the Civil Service feel it is okay to waste so many hours accumulating to weeks/months on PMR's, even though they must know that the majority of staff do not agree they are useful. As said previously 'Do your job, do it well and consistently, go home'.

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  57. John Leek

    Of course, it doesn't just matter how well you do your job. The killer punch is 'behaviours', which management don't seem to understand. 'Bahviour' is about the way you, well, behave. If there's a problem you should say so. That is NOT a negative bahaviour, but may be taken so if someone wants to fill their 10%.
    I've said this brfore. If you were stood on the deck of the Titanic and said ' we're sinking', that is not negative bahaviour. That is merely stating a fact. The positive BEHAVIOUR is to note the problem and engineer a solution (get into a lifeboat). The negative behaviour would be to hope the ship doesn't sink, and do nothing.
    I wonder if Jesus considered operating forced distribution? 'So, that's two disciples then... Judas and Thomas, you must improve.'

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  58. fiona

    I don't think I've heardon positive comment about the appraisal system-why cant we change it?

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  59. Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion

    At first I was afraid I was petrified
    Kept thinking I could never live without my PAR report by my side.
    But then I spent so many nights
    Thinking how it did me wrong
    but I grew strong and I learned how to get along
    And now its back but ..(All together now) .....I will Survive, I will Survive..:)

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  60. Mark Ifill

    I agree the article is well written and I personally welcome the opportunity to discuss development. But the problem is if, you work if customer facing e.g. Jobcentre Plus and your development activity takes you away from that role you cannot do it because there is nobody to cover your role. I do not think this situation is unique to my Jobcentre.

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  61. Dave

    In my experience, the MYR, together with the annual reporting process, is not fit for purpose. It is a sham.

    In my opinion, our so called ‘managers’ have been asked to disseminate amongst the workforce a reporting process which relies substantially on subjective criteria. That is to say, the scoring and outcomes are not [and cannot be] supported by objective, measurable factors.

    When asked to explain how my ‘behaviours’ would be measured, my manager was simply unable to formulate a coherent reply.

    How can employees have trust and confidence in ‘management’ who plainly do not understand the process they enforce?

    How can employees have trust and confidence in an employer who clearly has no wish to conduct itself fairly and impartially?

    For my part, I am disappointed that my employer demands my ‘engagement’ whilst, at the same time, imposing a reporting process upon me which is plainly inadequate, ineffective and subjective.

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    • JDoe

      Where is the support to those that do want to develop? Some staff are finding impossible to get any!

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  62. John

    I was always told as a child " you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear".
    Lets face it .....PMR is one extremely large pig.........!
    Please reconsider and drop this divisive system, before it completely destroys what little morale there is left in the DWP......

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  63. ian

    It is a shamful lapse of leadership in allowing this mutating abomination of an appraisal system onto the shoulders of hard pressed staff

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  64. Emmalou

    Until we are all making 100 widgets a day - and go on to meet our objective of making 110 widgets a day - there will never be a reporting system that is wholly fair and equitable for all. RO's and CO's still need to defer to the LM - as in the space provided explaining the amount of effort and achivement is impossible unless you understand the functions undertaken and the impact on the business/customer base in under 250 words. Finding the 5% when everyone is already working harder and faster than they should ever have to, is completely wrong. I have staff who have to work incredibly hard to "get the job done". They don't want or need advancement - and I know a high-flyer would spend their time looking for short cuts rather than doing the work necessary. Working smarter, not harder is the mantra that is bandied about. The reality is some functions can't be truncated. There is a procedure which needs to be followed. Leave those who are doing a good job, but happy where they are,alone. We can't all soar with eagles - someone has to do the donkey work!

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  65. Liz

    A really bad headline ........... how to 'survive' mid year reviews. Maybe a little more thought should have been put into this?

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  66. jeff cooze

    The entire process of these reports exasperates a cataclysmic collapse in morale. Staff hate them as it exposes introversion which to many people is synonymous with self destruction.

    Apart from other demoralizing, oppressive and stressful impositions it accounts for staff demotivation and ultimate departure of long standing loyal staff that generally are past the stage of 'development.'
    So am I'm leaving for undoubtedly greener pastures.'

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  67. fred

    I personal find PMR, and the whole jargon around how to use it,and the process extremely hard.
    its also frustrating to the majority that no one seems to want to listen when this view is expressed, but just push on with an incredibly complex, inept way to calculate how and employee is performing, and behaving.
    While there are a some who would welcome tips, for me it just leads to more confusion as to what is expected from me.
    survive? cant see it for myself!

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  68. Dave

    Mid year reviews are a joke and pretty meaningless. I believe that this year they will be used to prepare people for grades that will meet the distribution curve at the end of the year. After all, if people are given a must improve now, it's so much easier to substantiate at the year end and less likely to result in a successful appeal.

    That is the reality - managers are now expected to meet the curve and if they don't, they face being marked down in their own PMR. This is not about improving performance or capability anymore. If it were, people could meet or exceed their managers expectations and be guaranteed to get the recognition they deserve. No - now you can do enerything asked of you, only to find out that others were preceived to have done better, perhaps people who are not even in your team or at your location. How can that be fair?

    This is not the way to manage performance or people and until the Civil Service recognises this, there will be a huge divide and continuing disengagement with the process and employing departments.

    Nobody at senior level is big enough to stand up and acknowledge this process is fatally flawed and many seem to think that resistance will wain after a couple of years. I somehow doubt that and in any case, just think of all of those employees not going the extra mile in the meantime, as a result of this system.

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  69. John Parker

    The new PMR process is yet Another 'Bright Idea' conceived by an individual out of touch with reality and the work demands placed on an increasingly busier workforce! What happened to the 'Manager' who knew his staff well enough from a performance and develomental perspective, to be able to "write" an annual report without having to resort to members of staff authoring and evidencing their own performance perceptions, and by way of such a convuluted process? It now appears that there is an unfair responsibility being placed on jobholders in order to alleviate their manager's remit of having to take stock of their 'Officers' achievements through the reporting year. Whilst I am receptive to discussion over my performance, I feel that my manager should be fully aware of what I have achieved throughout the year and possess a level of written and oral communication skills to be able to articulate the same at the so called moderation meetings.

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  70. Karen

    This tool does not work, I give up!

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  71. Jennifer I

    A lot of mixed feelings on PMRs. I have always believed that this process is owned by the individual and you need to make out time to ensure you have your input regardless.
    I learnt many years ago, to be recognised for the work you do, regardless of the pressures you face at work, you need to keep a record of your achievements and your evidence.
    Let’s face facts, a lot of us work on teams whereby the work load is not spread out evenly and colleagues don’t always pull their weight and not a lot is don’t to change this way of working. Rather than keep complaining its better you focus on developing yourself and identify different ways you can help your team or office achieve its goals / objectives.
    Having worked in DWP for almost 16 years, I had a mixture of managers, some more experienced than others but the appraisal system has always been a constant with a few changes here and there.
    I achieved a lot, won awards and helped motivate my colleagues but most importantly I made a decision to take my development into my own hands and that is what made the difference.

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  72. Dee

    OK let's assume every civil servant (approx 500,000 in total) has at least four 1 hour reviews in a year (the minimum), including mid-year and EOY; if this is the case then my basic calculations indicate that approximately 1000 working years each year are expelled on the PMR system, which is approximately 10% of the total working years for the civil service each year.

    Then consider if more reviews are taken (some people have them monthly), that figure of 1000 working year per year would have to be mutiplied accordingly, which in turn would increase the overall percentage of time being spent simply administering a sytem that is universally loathed by business and commerce. Just think how much more productive the civil service could be if it wasn't spending 10% (or more - probably more) of its time on a performance system which has been abandoned by just about everyone else!

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  73. Gus

    This whole appraisal system has become the tail that wagged the dog. I think the whole thing fills the majority of staff with dread. It also worries me (although perhaps it shouldn't) that staff tend to write their own reports and Line Managers add in a few bits and pieces. If we make a comparison with the Premier League, could you ever imagine Arsene Wenger or Jose Mourinho allowing players to blow their own trumpet into the first team? Arsene and Jose know their players, their strenghths and weaknesses. They will also coach and develop them. Thankfully I have only two more years left to serve and then I never want to hear the word appraisal again ever!

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  74. Keith

    The elephant in the room is the toxic PMR/quota system which is poisoning so much good work going on in the departments. It is massively time consuming, demonstrably unfair, hugely demotivating and serves only as an examplar and triumph of process over rationality. It is simply unfit for purpose and I hope someone at the relevant level has the integrity and courage to address this before any more damage is done and hard won efficiencies lost. Sometimes the bravest thing senior management can do is say "We got this wrong".

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  75. Lynda Lawrence

    What a huge waste of taxpayers money! No wonder UK PLC went broke. Those who support it are either naive or can't have used it for long (no organisation ever lasts more than a one-year cycle without changing it - death by a thousand cuts style). USA designed it (40 years ago), then scrapped it, blamed it for the downfall of innovation in organisations - people are more concerned with not upsetting the wrong person than turning the elephant around. It creates internal competition rather than collaboration but the Consultants that promote it make an absolute fortune out of it. Where did my pay rise go?!

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  76. Alen McKenzie

    Mid-Year Review!?

    I still do not have objectives/PAR agreed with my Line Manager due to her being unable to advise me on what to put in the Core/Functional objectives that DE&S now has 🙁

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  77. Jules

    Some really invaluable comments here which have been a joy to read.

    I, like many others just want to do my job,do it well & and go home. What's wrong with that? Why must we always feel that we have to develop & continuously improve?

    I also agree that this current " one size fits all" style of reporting isn't suited to the majority of varied job roles that are undertaken in the Civil Service.
    I cannot think of anyone in my Department who actively looks forward their Mid-Year Review's etc.& get the feeling a dose of the plague would be better!!

    As for " Blow your own Trumpet" what next? "Bang your own drum"?" Stand on the rooftops with a loud hailer"? I can hardly wait for what might come next!!

    Finally I wholeheartedly agree that your Line Manager should be aware of what & how you are doing.Isn't that part & parcel of having staff to manage??

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  78. Jacks

    Most staff hate Annual report time.
    Possibly we should ask why they don't like it. -(I think it’s unfair and biased towards those staff who are great authors (Fact or Fiction?).

    There are better ways to do Annual Reporting without spending weeks creating something that, in the main, is only used by senior management to prove how well or badly the Government is doing.

    Here is an Idea:- Using a quick and simple survey form. Easy to use and the same for everyone. Good, well targeted, cross-referenced survey questions would be set based on Grade, Competences and Roll specific questions/competences for the job being performed (Admin Clerk, Welfare, Finance, Photographer, Mechanic, Senior Nuclear Missile Designer etc.) - This would also be set by clicking a few check boxes on page 1. By submission of these Reports, senior management will also see Line Managers who over or under mark and can balance the marks accordingly.

    As far as moral goes the low pay does not help.
    A delivery driver, in Glasgow, gets £40k per year (Source:- BBC1 News last week). A C2 at the top of the pay spine gets £35,250. (No offence to delivery drivers, who do a great job in my opinion).

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  79. Lucy Christie

    You know what would be really useful? A questionnaire that you fill in, like the Self-Assessment Tool, that writes your review for you at the end (complete with buzz-words and action plan). Shouldn't be too hard for some clever computer nerd to come up with, should it? Would save a hell of a lot of time and be exactly as useful as the current system. I'll keep googling "Civil Service Review Cheat" in anticipation. Meanwhile I'm reading the comments on here instead of getting on with my review...sigh.

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  80. Mary Hibbs

    What with monthly PMR 1 to 1 meetings, 'evidence gathering' justifying our own existence, writing up our own reports, pace-setter meetings, quality meetings, team meetings, IT problems etc etc, some of us are getting to the point where there is no time left to actually do the job we're paid to do. A complete farce and a shambles. Nothing new there then.

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  81. Karrie

    Clearly the provider of this piece had good intentions putting this together.

    However, the Appraisal process inevitably draws negativity.

    "More for less," if only this would be adopted by the appraisal process.

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  82. DAVE GOLDSMITH

    IT IS INTERESTING TO READ ALL THESE COMMENTS. AS A LOWLY BAND B IN A CONTACT CENTRE THIS APPRAISAL PROCESS SEEMS TO HAVE NO ACTUAL IMPORTANCE TO THE JOB WE DO. SINCE THIS WAS BROUGHT IN I HAVE ASKED TO DO VARIOUS ACTIVITIES, INCLUDING CHRYSALIS, SO THAT I COULD POSSIBLY FURTHER MY CAREER AND TO POSSIBLY ACCESS CAREERS IN OTHER ARMS OF DWP. I PUT THESE DOWN ON MID & END OF YEAR ASSESSMENTS, AND THIS IS ALL THAT EVER HAPPENS. AT OUR LEVEL WE CANT BE TAKEN OFF THE PHONES SO 5 DAYS A YEAR LEARNING ONLY GETS LIP SERVICE. THE OTHER PROBLEM WITH THIS ALSO IS THAT END OF YEAR MARKINGS MEANS THE MAJORTITY OF US END UP AS MUST IMPROVE TO TO THE CHANGES THAT HAVE MADE TO THE PARAMETERS. THIS CAN NOT BE OUR FAULT AS THERE ARE EXTERNAL BARRIERS IN THE WAY OF US BEING ABLE TO IMPROVE OUR SELVES. THIS SYSTEM MAY WORK FOR HIGHER GRADES AND NON FRONTLINE SERVICES, BUT NOT FOR US " IN THE TRENCHES" DEALING WITH THE PUBLIC DAY IN AND DAY OUT. I AM SURE THIS WOULD ALSO BE THE SAME IN JOBCENTRES TOO.

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  83. Chris

    A really interesting set of comments. I've been around long enough to remember a previous system where you just did what you were told, never engaged with your manager and got bitter and twisted when colleagues were promoted ahead of you; apparently on a whim. This system may not be perfect but we are encouraged to engage with our work, manager and career. We are given time to develop ourselves, our work skills and cometencies. This is no longer just a job. We are professionals and if we want to have a career rather than a job we can but we need to work on it. There is a difference between 'engagement' and 'blowing your own trumpet.' Giving your manager perfromance evidence, development proposals and no oportunity to overlook your achievements is not 'blowing your trumpet' its just common sense.

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  84. Jacks

    The majority of staff are good.
    (OK some aren’t and it’s line managements job to sort them out).

    The new appraisal system rewards the top 25%
    PIP’s the bottom 5%.
    Does nothing for the 70% in the middle.

    Its unfair because it gives a bonus to same staff each year.
    Like a box of chocolates where all the good one’s get a bonus. Open a second box and the same scenario starts again with the same chocolates.

    SOLUTION – Stop the “bonus” payment.

    WHAT TO DO WITH THE NOW SPARE CASH.
    Increase everyone’s take home pay.

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  85. Andrea Carter

    I have worked for Civil Service (MOD) for a long time (whilst not prepared to say exactly how long, closed reporting was still in when I arrived)!!. Whilst the continual annual changes to the Appraisal system have neither been in the interests of the individual nor the department, at least there is still some (albeit diminishing) degree of career control. When compared to our private sector counterparts one should consider that we are in a better position having our training and development opportunities both encouraged and funded, and should endeavour to take full advantage of any training and development opportunities and the financial support whilst they are still around.

    During the course of my career I have had work related Diplomas/Degrees funded by the MOD, but have also been prepared to study hard in my own time to achieve professional qualifications. Last year I achieved my APM Practitioner Qualification, whilst this was funded by the MOD I studied hard in my own time, which ensured that I passed the assessment on the first attempt. Individuals must also be prepared to take some responsibility for training and development and should consider to commit their own personal time if they want to progress. No doubt this will arouse some strong responses, but in the current financial/political climate those in public sector jobs with still favourable terms and conditions to include paid training should be very thankful for what they still have.

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  86. Cassandra

    In assessing the value of this system it is very important to bear in mind that the practice may fall short of the intent. The overweening focus on quota is undoubtedly resulting in injustices. And just because it didn't "get" you last time doesn't mean it won't next time, if the key decisions are taken out of the hands of managers, who generally are striving to do a good job, and put instead into the arbitrage of "validation" groups, whose sole purpose is to hit quota.

    I also think that there is a simple question of language at issue here. The use of the word "must" (as in Must Improve) implies a consequence to failure. To date no such consequence has been aired (getting special attention doesn't really fit the bill here), but it probably will be, as soon as it is judged that the general embargo on frank dialogue between system drivers and system users has had the intended effect of subduing us sufficiently.

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  87. Julie Rudge

    Julie 17/02/2015

    I am in total agreement with & like :
    Anne 25/09/2014
    Emmalou 26/09/2014
    Jacks 03/11/2014

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  88. Kash

    Good point Phil mitchell

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  89. Diana

    My problem is that these blogs while well intentioned they assume your manager wants to engage with you and aid your development. I have always engaged fully with the reporting process but after 11 years in the Civil Service I've become weary of the whole charade and wonder for who's benefit we use this process. I've had mangers when I've had my 1-2-1 who've told me they aren't bothered about me only the results. Have been obstructive when I've suggested ways to aid my development, been completely oblivious/uninterested in the people they manage. As one of the competencies is developing yourself and others I wonder how these mangers are achieveing their top/higher box marking
    I have had good managers as well and got top/higher box markings but some managers are only interested in the promotion and not the job so don't know and are not interested in the people the manage.
    Before joining the Civil Service I worked for 20 years in the private sector which wasn't perfect but if something didn't work then there were no qualms about introducing change.

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  90. Elle

    I am relatively new to the civil service (about 1 year) and this article and the comments are indicative of something I find very frustrating about the public sector. Civil service news says 'oh hey reviews are coming up, check out this article, it was the most read article last year' and I click on it to find that about 90% of the comments are negative. Nothing is joined up, no one is really listening and huge amounts of resources are poured into a process most people do not value. Meanwhile the PR machine bombards us with 'positive' messages about these broken systems. Some of the comments were hilarious so I'm glad I clicked for that reason alone.

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  91. Lori

    Gosh, such negativity from everyone, it is a wonder so many of you stay if it is so bad. I have worked with external organisations and our performance management policies and procdeures are up there with industry best practice. The problem is not the policy / procedures or 'system' but usually the apathy of the people who carry it out and take part in it, or rather don't and then moan about why it is unsuccessful. 'I am too busy firefighting in my busier than everyone else role..blah, blah, blah'..... Sounds like a load of excuses to me. If your own development isn't important to you then start looking inwards. Sorry but the truth hurts....

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    • Daphne Park

      I too have worked in outside industry and have many friends who still do. A lot of them might also use a similar reporting system, but most of them also find it a waste of time. My competencies are given to me, there is no discussion around them, when you 'interpret' them they don't actually make sense and I would be very interested to see real life examples of how people have achieved them. I do a good job, but unlike those who seem to get on I don't talk a good job.
      At the end of each of my monthly 121s I asked my manager if there was anything they needed to bring to my attention, no was the constant reply, then bang at the end of the year negative comments appeared to justify a lower overall marking. I asked what the comments actually meant and for examples but to date and despite reminders nothing has been forthcoming. I agree with Mohammed, it seems to me that 'yes' people who will agree with management on everything are those who will get on. Heaven forbid one should raise any objection, despite diversity stating that we have different ways of thinking and working and perspectives and these should be valued. Lori, you wonder why we are still here, for those of us with the 'light at the end of the tunnel' of retirement, why should we be forced out and end up with a lower pension because we dare to criticise the pmr system.

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  92. sarah

    As new starter I find this artical to be rather reassuring and up lifting. Progression and development are very important to me and through out the month I have spent here it has become clear that many people are stuck in their ways and it feels like if an opportunity is not handed to them they beome upset rather than searching them out and working towards a goal. I think that people should be more postive in their outlooks, and overcome obsticals rather than moaning about them.

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  93. Sue

    Maybe I am an anomaly, but producing evidence and stating what I achieved and did well in a review is not for me about the pay rise percentage. It is about my own self worth and being deserving of recognition even if it is just verbal from a Line Manager. I have worked in the department for over 16 years so it's not a case of not being here long enough to have gotten jaded...
    We work with what we have, the only thing our performance can influence in a monetry way, is our Bonus based on our box marking. If you don't feel your box marking is appropriate or justified, take it to the union, appeal it. Get your manager to justify it honestly. But don't use the system as your reason for not bothering, for not trying to excel. And please don't insult all the hard working staff that have ever been promoted by implying they only got promotion because their face fits, or they talk the talk.

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  94. MK

    Get the manager to come out with it and get it on record in November. That way they can't make up stuff at End of Year that bears no relation to their previous comments.

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  95. Chris

    Yes, the reporting process is a good tool - if used properly - There is a term 'class discuss' and I think the discussion so far would tend to confirm that it is not used properly in many areas.
    If the reporting system is NOT fair and 'Must Improve' quotas are being imposed then it would be demoralising and would NOT create a properly motivated workforce.

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  96. NEIL RUSSELL

    Totally agree with Mohammed Qureshi comments, 16/01/2015. It seems the "Blue eyes" in the team receive the top marks. Too many "cheifs".

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  97. Simon Dicketts

    I found my way here today via a link from today's "HOT People Bulletin", which extravagantly describes this as "....one of the most read Civil Service blogs of all time...".

    That may well be true, but I wonder if anyone has stopped to ponder why the author, very much in the style of Sir Bob Kerslake, in his celebrated article on PMR.......

    https://bobkerslake.blog.gov.uk/2014/03/06/performance-management-addressing-your-concerns/

    .......has been unwilling or unable to respond to any of the comments herein.

    Just a thought.

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