June 7, 2013

A Self-Evaluation 'Warning'

Tax day, the return of the swallows to Capistrano, and Dow Jones performance evaluations: All annual events . . . but one seems to arrive earlier and earlier every year.

We're sure everybody has filed their taxes for this year, and we know the swallows returned in March. So, without further ado, we offer our regular guidance to all IAPE-represented employees confronted with that annual "request" from Dow Jones managers to submit a self-evaluation.

IAPE's position — acknowledged by DJ Legal and HR departments — remains unchanged from previous years: evaluating the performance of employees is considered a management function. This is your annual opportunity to find out what your boss thinks of your work, not just a chance for your manager to rubber-stamp your opinion.

Then there's this: all too often, a manager overlooks a subordinate's perceived positive attributes, instead focusing on the negative examples provided in a self-assessment by an honest employee.

Take our advice: if asked to evaluate your own performance from the past year, deliver an email to your manager this week with a very simple statement: "Since self-reviews are recognized as optional for IAPE-represented employees, I respectfully choose not to offer my own assessment of my performance, but look forward to your evaluation of my contributions to the Company." If that doesn't seem like your style, submit a list of only your accomplishments to your manager.

To be clear: any employee self-appraisal, goal-setting or peer evaluation ("360-degree feedback") is entirely voluntary.

If you find yourself in an evaluation-turned-disciplinary meeting, know this: Article XXI of the IAPE contract explains "The Company and the Union agree that performance evaluations under this Article shall not be considered disciplinary actions." As an IAPE-represented employee, you have the right to immediately ask for Union representation in any disciplinary meeting.

If you have any questions, or if you get any negative feedback from your refusal to provide your own, please contact IAPE president Bob Kozma, grievance committee chairman Rob Johnson, or organizer Tim Martell.

The following is the complete text from Article XXI of the IAPE/DJ Collective Bargaining Agreement:


If an Employee receives a written performance evaluation, he or she has the right to review the evaluation and to affix his or her written response to the evaluation. Nothing in this provision shall require the Company to give performance evaluations. The Company and the Union agree that performance evaluations under this Article shall not be considered disciplinary actions.