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Give yourself a rave review, union advises TR staff

Proceed with caution on your annual performance appraisal, a union advises Thomson Reuters staff, and if your manager absolutely insists, give yourself a rave review.

“As the end of the year approaches, so does Thomson Reuters annual push for performance appraisals. While your participation is required to receive a discretionary increase next year, you should still proceed with caution,” The Newspaper Guild of New York, which represents about 400 editorial staff in the United States, told its members on Thursday. “It’s no secret that management has embarked on a campaign to ‘manage out’ journalists identified as ‘poor performers,’ whether or not the facts actually support that assessment.  

“So as we have previously advised, if your manager asks you for a self-assessment, the Guild recommends that you respectfully decline. Your manager should be familiar enough with your work to assess your performance. But if your boss absolutely insists, we suggest you give yourself a rave review. Don’t give your supervisor ammunition to rate you poorly.

“If your manager requests a colleague assessment, part of what’s known as a 360 review in management-speak, the Guild recommends you respectfully and forcefully decline, and let your steward know if the manager insists.”

Rating your colleagues is an especially risky task for Guild members and not a great management ploy if what they’re looking for is effective teamwork, the union said. “That’s because job appraisals are one of the things bosses use to determine discretionary raises, which are drawn from a limited pool of money. That creates an incentive for employees to praise themselves to the skies and trash everybody else in their work group. Not exactly the way to get an honest picture of what’s going on and who’s doing what.”

The union added: “Since some of us work with colleagues outside the United States, you may get requests from colleagues in other regions to do a colleague assessment, and you may be tempted to write a glowing review for them. The Guild suggests that you do not do this, for consistency’s sake. If you wouldn’t rate the colleague next to you, why rate the colleague on the other side of the ocean?” ■

The Newspaper Guild of New York