Why nobody is likely to get a five on their performance appraisal

I’ve seen a few of you send back comments on your performance appraisals, and I want to try and set expectations correctly.

The one goal everybody shares is the “citizenship” goal:

To foster a respectful, diverse and inclusive work environment, each employee of STScI is expected to demonstrate consideration and value for others through such actions as:

  • Ensuring that differing points of view can be heard in a professional and collaborative manner by seeking first to understand, then to be understood.
  • Refusing to tolerate harassing, abusive or discriminatory behavior by bringing it to the immediate attention of management.
  • Accepting that your point of view is limited by your unique background, experiences and circumstances and can impact your perceptions of others and events.
  • Actively engaging employees in Institute activities regardless of position in organization, gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation, lifestyle etc.
  • Understanding that respect and inclusiveness require action and each employee should serve as a role model for these behaviors.

Our expectation is that everybody will do all of these things, and thus will get a “3” or “Successfully Meets” for this objective.

To “Meet and Exceed” a staff member would have to be a leader in diversity issues, perhaps helping to organize talks on diversity, or otherwise be an active advocate for respect and diversity in the workplace. We’ve had people do this in the past. For example, the members of the DLF THRaC team might have gotten “4”s for this one.

Similarly, it’s fairly hard to get a “2” and still stay employed. (At least in ESS.) It’s not enough to occasionally lose your temper or advocate a bit too forcefully for a particular position. Someone who consistently tells off-color jokes, and has to be repeatedly counseled on diversity and respect issues could get a “Meets Some,” but might also find themselves getting a “Fails to Meet.”

Most people should expect to get threes, on this goal and on others, and the more senior you are, the more likely you are to get a rating of “Successfully Meets” on all of your goals.


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