Should I Attach a Letter to My Performance Evaluation?

by Lisa McQuerrey

When your supervisor fills out your performance evaluation, it's a professional opinion of your professional performance. Attaching a letter to your form gives you an opportunity to clarify, in your own words, anything out of the ordinary that you believe requires additional explanation. In the event someone else reads the evaluation in the future -- like a new boss or a manager considering you for a promotion -- the letter will speak on your behalf.

Self Assessment

During a self evaluation, your employer will ask you to rate yourself on key performance areas, such as meeting goals and objectives, teamwork and progress on personal goals. You might be asked to rate yourself on a numeric scale or you may have the opportunity to write a narrative response in which you explain how you view yourself. In the event your evaluation form only allows you to check boxes or choose categories to rate your performance, a letter can provide additional detail. For example, “As you'll see in the section related to teamwork, I left the area blank because I’m currently the only member of my department and work exclusively in a solo capacity.”

Assessing Others

Sometimes, as part of a self assessment, you’ll be given the opportunity to assess your colleagues or your boss in conjunction with yourself. Most companies keep evaluations of colleagues anonymous to ensure forthright evaluation, and if that’s the case, your letter should be anonymous as well. For example, “While I gave my coworker Judy mediocre marks for meeting deadlines, as this is clearly a problem area for her, I would like to add that she is a very upbeat and motivating individual who always adds levity to group efforts.”

Refuting a Performance Evaluation

If your boss conducts your performance assessment and makes remarks or comments that you disagree with, talk to your human resources department to find out if there's a specific way to refute the evaluation. You might be required to use a specific form, or the HR representative may tell you your own letter of rebuttal will suffice. Be specific when addressing your concerns in your letter.

Management Evaluation Followup

Most performance evaluations involve setting new goals and objectives for the coming assessment period. If you’re a manager conducting a review, writing a letter to accompany the evaluation allows you to clarify expectations by reiterating what was said in the review session. For example, “Per the terms of our discussion, you will be expected to increase sales by 10 percent over the next quarter.”

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