For many, January is performance evaluation time.
Whether you’re writing one for your employees or will soon be the recipient of one from your boss, you should take a moment to unravel the “HR speak” so prevalent in these documents.
What follows is a sampling of phrases from performance reviews, along with their possible translations. How many of these have you seen before—or used?
Phrase: Ben does not understand the importance of corporate attendance policies.
Translation: You’re late every day.
Phrase: Ellie demonstrates an entitlement mentality.
Translation: You think it’s okay that you’re late every day.
Phrase: John is too focused on changing established procedures.
Translation: You try to convince others that it’s okay to be late every day.
Phrase: Cindy uses her position to dominate and intimidate others.
Translation: People are afraid of you, Cindy.
Phrase: Jan remains unwilling to carry out tasks that are “below” her.
Translation: You need to learn how to use the Intranet.
Phrase: Greg has not performed well in creating an honest and open environment for the employees he supervises.
Translation: Your employees purposefully avoid talking to you.
Phrase: Peter lacks credibility in his messaging.
Translation: No one believes anything you say.
Phrase: Bobby exhibits a domineering work style.
Translation: You’re an insufferable jerk and people don’t like you.
Phrase: Bobby does not demonstrate concern for what others think of him or how well he works with others.
Translation: Because you’re an insufferable jerk, you don’t care that people don’t like you.
Phrase: Marcia is very loyal and affable, but not very dependable. She does not produce much substantive work.
Translation: Marcia . . . you’re a suck-up.
Phrase: Brenda consistently takes a practical, hard-nosed approach to things without thinking how she could creatively solve a problem.
Translation: Try something new for once, Brenda.
Phrase: George often lets anger, frustration, and anxiety show.
Translation: You can’t yell at people. Please stop yelling at people.
Phrase: Greg does not consistently avail himself of existing technology.
Translation: You need to start using your intranet.
Phrase: Marcia spends an excessive amount of time engaged in conversations that are not work related.
Translation: Stop gossiping and get back to work.
Phrase: Jordy lacks basic skills in business writing.
Translation: You can’t write your way out of a paper bag.
Readers, any other phrases you’d care to share?
Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor and a regular contributor to PR Daily. Read more from her at impertinentremarks.com.