Re: Annual Performance Review, new manager...

Subject: Re: Annual Performance Review, new manager...
From: dmbrown -at- brown-inc -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2003 12:48:53 -0800

Aimee Hall wrote:

I'm a new manager in a small Marketing/Tech Pubs department...
When I was promoted, I was given the option of firing my technical writer
and hiring a "secretary" to do his job... I rejected this option in favor of
trying to train this guy into a good (or at least average) technical writer.
He has shown some improvement in the brief time that I've been managing,
although there is still a lot of room for improvement. So my question...
When I do his evaluation, is it fair for me to give him a failing grade on
"quality of work" when he has not had proper guidance in what constitutes
acceptable quality? Can I assume that these are skills he should already
have developed? Or should I give him the benefit of the doubt that he will
improve if I work with him?

How long has he been a tech writer? If more than 2 or 3 years, he's hardly "junior" any more and can be expected to do many of the things you say he skips without explicit instruction.

I think I'd give him a failiing grade and a clear schedule for improvement of specific skills--kind of a probation period, at the end of which his employment status will be reevaluated. Heck, you might even mention that his services were considered secretarial in value by others in the company and that that isn't your vision for the department. (You're allowed to have one, you know!)

The worst thing the "unsatisfactory" rating should do is cause him to miss a pay raise; the best it will do is shake him up a bit and get him to see that he needs to add some value.

There are a lot of *good* tech writers looking for work.

As a possibly-related aside, I was hired 3 months after him, for the same
job description, at what I would later find out was 25% less pay... Even
after my promotion, he still makes 10% more than me... I'm somewhat
concerned that the discrepancy in pay is causing me to be too hard on this

I don't think so, but you're obviously an honorable person for raising the point.

Good luck, and congratulations on the promotion!



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Annual Performance Review, new manager...: From: Aimee Hall

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