How to Write Letters to Appeal Poor Performance Reviews

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Receiving a poor performance evaluation is upsetting. It can feel as though your job is in jeopardy and your manager is against you. Remember that any kind of feedback, even negative, is an opportunity to learn and grow. Once you’ve reviewed your poor review carefully, you can write an appeal letter for a performance appraisal to your company in hopes of turning things around.

Sleep On It

Before you write your letter, take some time to calm down and think about the items mentioned in the performance appraisal. Receiving a negative review can be a very emotional experience. It’s important to take logical steps to appeal your review and keep emotions out of it when possible. Look at the review from an objective angle and see why your manager has rated you poorly.

Write a Letter of Disagreement of Performance Appraisal

Once you’ve analyzed your poor performance review, you can start writing your letter of disagreement of performance appraisal. Your company may have a specific appeal process, so speak with your Human Resources team to understand how the procedure works. In many cases, a formal letter of appeal is required.

Your appeal letter should be written in block style, with all text justified to the left. Single space the content, with a double space between each paragraph. You may want to add on attachments to the letter that exemplify your positive performance.

Build Your Case

In your letter, provide arguments that refute your poor performance appraisal. Use specific examples with metrics where possible. For example, if your unfair performance evaluation says that you lack time management skills, provide details that show how you have completed each project on time and have never missed a milestone or deadline. If your manager stated that your customer service was below company standards, pull up any customer reviews or feedback you have received that show customers were pleased with their service.

It’s not enough to refute claims without examples. It’s important to provide specific situations at work where you have actually excelled in the areas where your performance review says you need improvement. For example, “My performance review states that I was late for several of my shifts. However, I have attached my time-sheets for the past year which show that I was always present at each shift on time. It also shows that I worked overtime on many occasions to help out my colleagues.”

Own Up to Your Mistakes

Sometimes, elements of your unfair performance evaluation may be true. Be honest with yourself when reviewing your performance review. Has your manager mentioned an area where you truly can improve? If this is the case, it’s important to accept the criticism and show your willingness to improve your performance.

Noting your understanding of the full situation in your appeal letter shows maturity and wisdom. For example, “I understand that my communication skills can be improved. I am currently taking a course to learn more about business communication and have already gained new tactics which I can apply at work.”

Request the Next Steps

Close your letter with a call to action. Decide what your ideal outcome is. Do you want your manager to redo your performance review, taking the information you have provided into account? Are you simply looking to be heard about the unfairness of your evaluation? Are you interested in escalating the issue to senior management? Weigh the pros and cons of each outcome and decide what’s best for you.

Outline the next steps in your letter. For example, “I would like to meet with my manager and a Human Resources representative to discuss my last performance review in light of the new material I have provided in this letter. Please let me know when we can meet at your earliest convenience.”

References

About the Author

Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.

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