OLD Media Moves

Union to Reuters journalists: Give yourself a rave review

November 15, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

The Newspaper Guild of New York has sent the following to all of its members who work at Reuters:

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. 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. 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.

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?

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