An instruction to ‘write a few lines or a novel, but not War and Peace’ has backfired on a local council after an employee spent her entire working year completing her performance appraisal for the year ending 31 December 2018.
Previously criticised for not providing enough evidence in her 2017 appraisal, Harold Council Health and Safety Officer Joan Willis said she wasn’t going to make that mistake again so she ‘literally ticked all the boxes, and then some’ to produce a PA that left no doubt whatsoever that she met all the criteria for a 1% pay rise.
Ms Willis said the ‘War and Peace’ limit seemed a bit heavy handed, but she wasn’t one to rock the boat so she pared her PA down to 1,224 pages by moving 650 pages of analysis on her ‘efficiency’ goal to the footnotes, and a 893 page excel spreadsheet dealing with ‘ability to see the big picture’ into the appendices.
Willis said not everything in her PA came to her easily. “I must have locked myself in a room for two months solid while I figured out how to address the ‘people skills’ goal but I think I got there in the end. I was criticised for lack of self-awareness last year, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how happy my team leader will be with the improvements I’ve made in this area” beamed Willis.
Ms Willis may have to wait some time for feedback as her team leader John Rowlands has been on indefinite sick leave ever since the PA was handed in. Apparently Mr Rowlands was initially unfazed by the PA until he was made aware that council policy is that team leader comments on PAs have to commensurate with the length and detail of the PA being assessed.
Harold Mayor Rufus B Jackson said the whole episode was a learning experience, both in tightening up language used when council managers issue guidelines about PAs, and also in reminding council staff that from 2018 on, the 1% pay rise is ‘as of right’, rather than ‘performance based’.
Ms Willis was surprised to learn that the 1% pay rise was ‘as of right’, saying she was fully focused doing her performance appraisal and didn’t want to get distracted checking her emails, but she said in any event PAs were about performance and not money.
“And the great thing is I’ve met all performance measures for the 2018 year as well” said Ms Willis. “Although I’ve spent the entire year doing my PA, health and safety incidents are at their lowest level yet, sick leave is down, and staff engagement is through the roof, well with the possible exception of Mr Rowlands.”
“If that’s the results I get when I’m doing my PA for the year, imagine how buzzing my colleagues will be when they hear of the all day team building exercise I’ve arranged” said Ms Willis.