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Dilemma from the work based arena


Genie
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Ok, looking to the VT community for a bit of advice here.

 

I changed job (within the same company) last year. My new team just consists of me and my boss who is the same age as me. He's a good bloke and we get on really well.

 

Couple of weeks ago I got my performance review, it was decent. However, my employer has this bullshit 'forced ranking' system. That means that everybody in a certain group of departments gets ranked in like a league table. Despite my decent review I was ranked quite low because I was new, and it could be argued that I was less experienced than others in the team. This activity is done by my boss's boss.

 

To my disappointment this has meant that I only get half the agreed payrise and none of the (£3k) bonus) so I'm pretty pissed off.

 

Here's the thing. When I started the role I should have been set some objectives in our HR system but wasn't. This is a f**k up by my manager. I can use this as a means of arguing my case for the lack of bonus/rise. It would mean I'd have to sit across from the table from my boss in a kind of 'hearing' and blame him which I feel uncomfortable with.

 

He is a good guy and quite new in the job. I know he got a poor review last year (being new) but hoping for a better one this time. This would probably kill it for him. Also, he is currently off after the birth of his first child which hasn't gone well. His baby has been very poorly and spent most of the time in hospital.

 

Not sure whether to accept this as I feel bad for him, or take the issue to HR and point the finger of blame at him (which may mean I'll need to move jobs as our working relationship will probably be ruined).

 

 

??????????????????

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Financially can you afford the loss of the extra you were expecting? Was it a nice to have or a need to have? If the latter then haven't you got a little one to take care of too?

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Not really sure I can offer some advice. But that forced ranking thing won't happen anymore. This was the last round of appraisals that will use it.

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it's nice to be nice

But this is work, just tell it straight, you don't believe you've had a fair review and therefore fair remuneration because you weren't given set objectives. It's not personal, you've done what you could but don't believe you had a fair crack at it as the criteria for your work weren't properly set out. You would like it noted not because you want somebody else to take the blame, but to make it clear you feel you can do better for them than the current ranking suggests.

It doesn't have to get offensive, if you are not stretching a truth, nothing to fear.

 

The alternative is that you 'protect' somebody that comes over as a mate, you get a low ranking, he announces in a month he's going to Timbuktu to count butterflies and the new Dept Head gets told you're not his most dynamic member of staff.

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The alternative is that you 'protect' somebody that comes over as a mate, you get a low ranking, he announces in a month he's going to Timbuktu to count butterflies and the new Dept Head gets told you're not his most dynamic member of staff.

This encapsulates it in one simple paragraph. If everything is as you have stated, then your boss screwed up, and maybe isn't cut out for the position that he is in. I doubt whether you making your case will bury him. If they think he is good enough they will seek to progress him further, but if they don't he will probably already be under scrutiny for a number of negative points anyway, and therefore on borrowed time.

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Not really sure I can offer some advice. But that forced ranking thing won't happen anymore. This was the last round of appraisals that will use it.

Hi Stevo, I heard this too. Which makes me more inclined to 'complain' as I know they'll struggle to get me back next time if I push some noses out of joint.

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The alternative is that you 'protect' somebody that comes over as a mate, you get a low ranking, he announces in a month he's going to Timbuktu to count butterflies and the new Dept Head gets told you're not his most dynamic member of staff.

This encapsulates it in one simple paragraph. If everything is as you have stated, then your boss screwed up, and maybe isn't cut out for the position that he is in. I doubt whether you making your case will bury him. If they think he is good enough they will seek to progress him further, but if they don't he will probably already be under scrutiny for a number of negative points anyway, and therefore on borrowed time.

 

 

Good points there chaps.

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...This is a f**k up by my manager. ...

 

That’s the key part - your manager has cost you half your pay rise and whatever bonus, because of an error.

 

As Chris said, you don’t need to blame anyone, but you’d be wise to register your disappointment, in a positive way. If you don’t it sensitively, but clearly and firmly, you will gain respect as someone who is positive and enthusiastic, but not afraid to point out where improvements could be made. And don’t be a doormat for other people’s failings. Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone else should suffer as a result of them.

 If your boss is costing you money, then you need to be firm on it. You go to work, I assume, to earn money.

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Is the only initial option to instigate the procedures for the 'hearing'?

Do you feel you could sit down face to face with your boss and explain to him your opinion of what has happened, that you think you've been stiffed somewhat and that you intend to go that route in order to argue your cause about the pay rise and the bonus?

If you did that and he objected, would showing your hand to him put you at a disadvantage with respect to that hearing?

If you do get on well then it may be more sensible to trust (or hope) that he will understand your situation (even if it shows him in a not too favourable light), have some empathy with your situation (i.e. you've both got young kids and a family to support) and you may go in to the hearing with him not quite as defensive as he would be if he thought you were out just to shaft him.

 

You seem to be the one paying (literally) for someone else's error but it would bode well, I think, for your future employment there (and for your own peace of mind because few people can really put aside the kind of worries that you've expressed in your opening post) to go about it in the most sensitive way possible (whilst still standing up quite assertively for yourself).

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There seems to be a common denominator here - both yourself and the boss got a poor review due to being new to the department - is it therefore something you just have to take on the chin? Would have setting those objectives made any real difference?

 

I can sympathise here though - appraisal ratings are coming up soon in our place too although it's very doubtful the ranking system will bear a true reflection unfortunately.

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Is the only initial option to instigate the procedures for the 'hearing'?

Do you feel you could sit down face to face with your boss and explain to him your opinion of what has happened, that you think you've been stiffed somewhat and that you intend to go that route in order to argue your cause about the pay rise and the bonus?

If you did that and he objected, would showing your hand to him put you at a disadvantage with respect to that hearing?

If you do get on well then it may be more sensible to trust (or hope) that he will understand your situation (even if it shows him in a not too favourable light), have some empathy with your situation (i.e. you've both got young kids and a family to support) and you may go in to the hearing with him not quite as defensive as he would be if he thought you were out just to shaft him.

 

You seem to be the one paying (literally) for someone else's error but it would bode well, I think, for your future employment there (and for your own peace of mind because few people can really put aside the kind of worries that you've expressed in your opening post) to go about it in the most sensitive way possible (whilst still standing up quite assertively for yourself).

Hey snowy, at this stage my boss cannot change what is in the review. It can only be done by HR. I have just made a request to HR to review my case and concerns as informally as possible due to the reasons stated above.

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There seems to be a common denominator here - both yourself and the boss got a poor review due to being new to the department - is it therefore something you just have to take on the chin? Would have setting those objectives made any real difference?

 

I can sympathise here though - appraisal ratings are coming up soon in our place too although it's very doubtful the ranking system will bear a true reflection unfortunately.

Its sad but true of the culture here. Because of the forced ranking that goes on people who are new or newly promoted are easy people to justify as being below the rest of the group due to lesser experience. Its not right and the word on the street is that it is about to be scrapped.

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There seems to be a common denominator here - both yourself and the boss got a poor review due to being new to the department - is it therefore something you just have to take on the chin? Would have setting those objectives made any real difference?

 

I can sympathise here though - appraisal ratings are coming up soon in our place too although it's very doubtful the ranking system will bear a true reflection unfortunately.

Its sad but true of the culture here. Because of the forced ranking that goes on people who are new or newly promoted are easy people to justify as being below the rest of the group due to lesser experience. Its not right and the word on the street is that it is about to be scrapped.

 

So, looking at it this way, if you and your boss had devised some fulfilling and relevant objectives, which you would have achieved (assuming from what you've said!) and this was noted on your appraisal (which was decent anyway), this would have not had an effect on your rating/pay-rise/bonus given the culture of the place?

 

If this is the case, it sounds like a more embedded problem in the norms of the business (albeit which they seem to be addressing), but from my experience it doesn't seem an uncommon practice.

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I know what you're saying jonno, they may well have still put me in the same box but the point is I was at a disadvantage from the start. Everybody else had specific and relevant objectives to work to and then to sell themselves against. I didn't.

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Yeah it sounds pretty crappy - especially the entire boss' boss setting the ratings. Makes me think your boss has little control over it if at all, which would be the only thing holding me back personally from raising it through formal channels as a) annoying the boss' boss isn't likely to do you any good (and ultimately for an irrelevant cause if it's being scrapped anyway) and B) damaging a good relationship with a bloke over a practice he has little control over wouldn't be positive either, a good relationship with your boss is also a bonus. Good luck anyway mate!

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Cheers.

 

As I mentioned, I've made a request for this to be resolved informally as possible. I expect they'll say it has to be the formal process with all parties present, slinging mud across the table. We'll see.

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As others have already said. This review will go down in your permanent record with that company so if you don't complain it means you don't see anything in it that you consider contentious or that you don't agree with. If your boss moves on then you're looked at through the eyes of that review by any new boss. If you try to move on - internally or externally - it might impact any references. You have to raise the issue as it was not your fault. You don't have to do it nastily. It is not personal. Diplomacy is the art of not falling out with someone while telling them they messed up.

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I am probably the last person to take advise from on this subject but I would go all out kick up a major shit storm and piss off as many managers as possible in the process.

 

Yep, you're absolutely right, you are the last person to take advice from on this! :lol:  As I have discovered, pissing on everyone's chips just means ultimately you shit on your own.

 

The diplomatic way is the way to do it. Keep it impersonal, stay cool but stand your ground within the parameters of the company's procedures.

 

One other thing I'd caution against is viewing your boss as a "mate". I'd offer the same caution to anyone who has people reporting into them also. As someone above has already remarked, this is work and people can do some very "unmatey" things when it's them or you. However nice a bloke you think he is and no matter how well you get on, you may find you get a nasty surprise when you feel the knife in the back. The fact is, the perceived nice guys are the ones who can take people by surprise easier - people are on their guard against known sacks of shit.

 

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