Managers’ guide: Negotiation during performance reviews


A performance review is a systematic and periodic process that allows employers to evaluate employees’ job performance, position and productivity in order to make sure that each member of staff is following the organisational objectives, does its job properly, feels motivated and integrated into the company. At the same time, performance reviews are extremely useful for employees, as they get the chance to negotiate their salary and a possible promotion, supported by evidence of their work and progress.

 As there are times when the interests of the employer and the employee do not coincide, conflict arises during performance reviews. Hence, tactful communication is essential and managers need to be able to handle sensitive situations successfully.

 So, which is the best approach?

performance-review-1The unitarist frame sees conflict as harmful and destructive to interpersonal relationships. In different words, the dimension I’ve discussed about in the previous article, AVOIDING CONFLICT, applies to this case. Could it work? I don’t think so. From a manager’s perspective, avoiding conflict means leaving an issue unsolved, fact that inside a company, can have severe repercussions upon all staff. This scenario could work only in circumstances where management and employee interests coincide.

 The pluralist approach suggests that conflict is inevitable and it totally discards the idea that managers could have the same interests with staff. I find this conflict frame a bit too radical, as during a negotiation flexibility should be essential, but at the same time, theorists claim that two dimensions, “collaboration” and “compromise” work at this stage, as the aim is to reach a mutually convenient outcome, fact that makes it a positive approach for managers.

 The interactionist frame of reference is the one I would recommend during performance imagesreviews. It sees conflict as positive and necessary. In such a context, it should be clear to both sides that conflict and negotiation will be part of the discussion, so acknowledging that is the first step in succeeding. Then, this approach encourages self-criticism, change and innovation, areas that should be explored in any performance review as they generate further development.

At the end of the day, the aim of this discussions, should be to find the best possible to solution in order to keep both the employer and the employee happy, fact that can only be gained by accepting conflict and using it as a tool to achieve progress.

If you want to find out more on this topic, here’s a really useful video :

 What do you think?