Getting a bad performance review does not have to be tragic. Taking simple measures will make the process smoother for everyone involved. Employee evaluations can evoke feelings of fear or anger when they turn out badly. Once receiving a negative review, the next step is critical to your own sanity and your future performance. Following the right steps will help you keep it together, impress your boss, and save your job.
The first step after receiving a bad performance review is making sure to remain calm and clear. Avoid beating yourself up over the problem as it will only make matters worse. Overreacting as though a bad performance review was not possible will do the same. Remind yourself that you are human and thus you will make mistakes. It is best to keep additional stress as low as possible, and being negative will work against this effort.
Understand from the Boss' Perspective
Your performance is being analyzed in order to keep the company and its work moving as efficiently as possible. Thus your boss is only trying to clean up work that does not meet the standards necessary for effective operation. The first mistake many employees make is developing feelings of anger toward the higher-up responsible for the bad performance review.
The boss or administrator is usually not looking to make a personal attack against you (they have much more important things with which to be concerned); they are only looking out for the good of the company itself. If your work does not contribute to the success of the organization, or if it hinders it, you will need to be correctly informed through a bad performance review so that you can improve your work.
Learn from the Bad Performance Review
Instead of feeling gloomy about being criticized, use the opportunity to improve upon your work. If the work was adequate for the company's standards, clearly it would have been analyzed as such. You must use the bad performance review to target the areas where you need improvement. If necessary, seek the help of other employees who were reviewed more favorably.
Once you've worked toward your best effort for improving, you may find you've even outperformed the best employees. No matter how much you grow from the bad performance review, use the criticism as a reminder to keep your standards for yourself as high as necessary. This will come in handy as you move on to future positions.
Show How You've Improved
Once you have achieved what you feel is your best work, continue to perform at that level. If you've been able to keep up at a high level for a longer period of time, make sure your boss is aware of the change since the bad performance review. Perform an extra gesture to let your superior see that you took his or her advice, how much you have worked to improve based on that advice, and just how well you can perform now.
Stand Up for Yourself if Necessary
While most supervisors will be accurate and factual in their criticism, you may find that your boss steers the review into a rude or unprofessional direction. If you feel an error has been made in the bad performance review on behalf of the analysis of your performance, or your boss becomes disrespectful, be reasonable and level-headed in standing up for yourself and your work. If you honestly feel your work is completely up to par and/or you've been treated unfairly, it may be necessary to take the issue up with personnel superior to your boss.
If, after the bad performance review, you find that you can't complete your work to meet the supervisor's expectations, or your boss is unwilling to accept your efforts, it may be best to move on. In the hopes of avoiding the problem in the future, customize your resume to emphasize your strong points in order to be matched to a position in which you will perform your best.