Trapped by low performance: Chronically Mired in self-doubt, pleasing the boss for the sake of his job
Original author deep burn (shenrancaijing) | min edit | gold of Fan again by the end of the assessment of “season”.Big factory employees, shell-acked by performance reviews, are taking their emotions to social media.A former employee of Tencent shared his experience of being given two stars for his performance: “I couldn’t eat and drink, and I felt so useless”. Later, “I would suffer from insomnia and mental and physical breakdown every semi-annual performance evaluation day.”On behalf of performance appraisal of KPI and OKR (target and key achievements method), 360 degrees of eia (one of the diversified evaluation dimensions of performance appraisal methods) that affects the heart, not only because of the performance result is approval of each work, but also because it with everybody, year-end bonuses, promotion salary increase, internal plan is directly related to the benefits of living water.However, the evaluation method of such a key performance appraisal is not completely open and transparent within the company and team.On the one hand, the distribution of excellent, medium and poor performance in big factories is usually in a fixed proportion, and the most typical distribution is 2:7:1.In other words, even in a very good team, someone has to carry the underperformance.On the other hand, the 360-degree environmental assessment and subjective standards of leaders make some workers feel that “there is a lot of room for manual operation”.In the face of heavy KPI, the way of big factory people is to divide it into every week and every day. Some people feel that they live in KPI every day and even have to work overtime when they get home at 10 PM every day, but finally get a “low performance”.Even if go to appeal, overturn possibility is not very much.Big factory people who are hit by low performance will be disappointed and depressed, but in the eyes of many “experienced”, low performance is almost the inevitable trough of every workplace person.Reason tells them that confronting and solving problems is more important than getting caught up in the anxiety of a performance review.Some are looking for shortcuts to avoid being underperformed in the next review season, or even seeking off-site support from career planners. Others are looking to move to a smaller company after assessing their hard skills.In mid-2021, Zhang Xiaoxiang joined Tencent after graduating with a master’s degree. At the end of December, he was informed that he would get “2 stars” in the year-end performance assessment.But the leader recognized his ability and potential, and he understood that this was the “new backstar”.According to the statement of several big factory employees on social media platform, Tencent conducts twice a year’s performance appraisal. According to the star rating, generally 5 and 4 stars are the best, 3 stars are the majority, and 2 and 1 stars are the poor performance. Moreover, the three performance ratings will be distributed according to a certain proportion, and generally 10% of people will be rated as low performance.Performance appraisal at the end of the year has long been standard in large factories, which is linked to the general salary increase, job promotion, year-end bonus and internal job transfer opportunities of employees.Although different assessment systems are different, one of the “unspoken rules” of many large factories is that there must always be someone with low performance, and employees with continuous low performance may be “eliminated at the bottom”.Similar to Tencent’s low performance of two stars, alibaba’s 3.25, Byte, Baidu’s M-, and Meituan, Kuaishou and Xiaomi’s C.In Alibaba’s system, for example, 3.75 is considered a top performer and 3.25 is a job that needs improvement.Many big factory people said that accepting their low performance was a painful process.A lot of people suffer from not being recognised for their work in the past.”What a grievance, the impact of the year-end bonus is not the most important thing, the main thing is that they have worked hard for several months, not recognized.”An employee of Meituan wrote on a workplace social networking platform that he had been employed for four and a half months and had experienced many job changes. Now his work content is different from that when he was employed. However, the leader made him fail the low performance of the team, namely “C”, on the grounds that he has no actual output.Daling Hupiao, who works in a large Internet factory in Shanghai, recalled that she rarely suffered from low performance in her work experience in the past years. After her performance was rated “C” in the fourth quarter of 2021, she fell into a negative mood of not being recognized for a long time.An employee of Meituan said, “I have been beaten C performance and I don’t see any hope”. After working overtime at night, I came back home and planned to change my job to a small factory.Others predict their underperformance early on.More than three years after joining Baidu, Zhang suffered his first “M-” at the end of 2021.In fact, as early as mid-year, his direct leader was promoted to another department, but he was not able to travel with him, he began to worry about his performance evaluation in the second half of the year.Now when he saw the result of M-‘s performance evaluation, he was still lost for a while.More people worry that low performance directly affects earnings.Li Pengjie, also working in Baidu, was directly employed as a fresh graduate student in February 2021. In the year-end performance appraisal, he was given low performance by the leader for “insufficient thinking and output”. He said that this meant that he would basically not get year-end bonus.Zhang Xiaoxiang of Tencent learned from his colleagues that a two-star rating means tens of thousands of yuan less in year-end bonus.However, fortunately, the leadership did not deny his ability, he gradually accepted the reality of being given 2 stars.One former Bytedance employee told Shenran that the difference between M- and M+ in his division at the time was at least two months ‘salary.On social media platforms, employees of big factories also know that year-end bonus is linked to performance appraisal, but they are not clear about the specific calculation method of coefficient, so they anxiously ask how much year-end bonus their performance appraisal corresponds to.Part of the big factory people are so nervous about performance, also because some of the big factory synchronously set up PIP protocol (performance improvement plan).After the employee signs the PIP agreement, the company can directly “optimize” him or her if he or she fails to complete the work target within the specified time limit.PIP is regarded by some employees as a “redundancy” agreement without compensation.In their eyes, signing the PIP agreement represents an admission that their work ability does not match their current position.”Steve Jobs in the morning, Jia Yueting in the afternoon.”Zhu Jupeng, a human resources expert, concluded that the emotions of many people in large factories are easily dominated by KPI and performance appraisal.”One morning I thought I was the best in business, and then in the afternoon I felt like I was a loser because I got a bad job.It has to do with the tough external employment situation, and the more that happens, the more people are focused on the gains and losses of the moment.”He said.There are KPI, there is low performance, performance appraisal dominated by large factory people, often at a loss.There are many factors that affect performance. Work skills and work output are only part of the assessment, and there are also many uncontrollable factors, such as fixed proportion of low performance quota, 360-degree environmental assessment, measurement standard of leaders, etc.”In the performance appraisal of big factories, there are some mandatory quotas for low performance, and even the best team will have some low performance.”Zhu jupeng said that the more capable the team members, the more fierce the competition.Under this system, some teams form “unspoken performance rules”.Zhang Xiaoxiang learned that it is not uncommon for newcomers to carry the “2 stars”. “The implicit culture of many teams is that it is the most appropriate for newcomers to carry the” 2 stars “of low performance.”On social media, some new employees of Xiaomi claimed that they had been working for less than a year and were subjected to low performance, which triggered the question “Should big companies introduce a protection mechanism for new employees?”The topic of discussion.However, many HR and large factory practitioners said that such a setting is not feasible.”Some big factories may implicitly set loose performance appraisal for new employees, but it is difficult to set protection period for all new employees”;”It also makes no sense to give the same performance to the best and worst performers.”Nearly a year after leaving Bytedance, Zhang ziyu still remembers the pain of being tortured by performance appraisal during her three years in Bytedance.Byte’s performance review, he recalls, involved a 360-degree eia that included individual, leader and colleague components.”It’s possible that a colleague you don’t know at work can give you a performance rating, so there’s a lot of room for manoeuvre.”The vast majority of big factory staff performance appraisal “life and death power”, or in the hands of direct leadership.Hong Yunfeng, a former HR manager of DACHang, told Shenran that superiors will look at whether subordinates help them to complete THEIR KPI, and some superiors’ criteria may be more subjective. For example, it is not uncommon for subordinates to have good business ability but low performance due to poor relationship with superiors.Performance, he observes, is only fair on the face of it.”Because performance is so sensitive, the end result is not made public, so there is a certain amount of room for manipulation.”Not only is the performance evaluation out of control, but what makes workers sad is that they are burdened with higher and higher KPIs.Several hr practitioners told Shencombustion that since the Internet industry entered the cold winter in 2019, the KPI of big factories has become more and more heavy.Qi Ge, a career planner, reviewed his five years of work experience and found that the performance assessment of big factories was not as strict as it is now when the Internet was in the bonus period. As the environment changed, the performance assessment of big factories became more and more stringent.Zhang Ziyu experienced the rapid development of byte for three years, the biggest feeling is “serious overtime, working hours are too long”, 996 is nothing, often open meetings until 4 or 5 am.Later, zhang ziyu quit her job because she could no longer bear the high-intensity work and wanted to find a balance between work and life.When the week is abolished in the second half of 2021, the first reaction of many bybyte employees is that they will be paid less overtime, but the workload will remain the same and the stress will not be reduced.Near the end of the year, the news of layoff of big Internet companies is one after another, and accordingly, the KPI burden of some employees is increased.Previously, some employees of large factories, including Baidu and Tencent, told Shenran that after department layoffs, individual employees have more KPIs on their backs.”I’m tired every day. I have to work after 10 PM and worry about low performance.””A large factory employee recently posted on a social media platform.The fittest of big factories survive, but they should not lose their rhythm. In the face of heavy KPIs, many people in big factories split quarterly and monthly KPIs into weekly and daily kpIs, living in the split KPIs.Nowadays, even if they have low performance, in order to survive in Dachang, get promotion and pay rise, the vast majority of people will continue to look for the survival rules in Dachang.Zhang Xiaoxiang knew that the low performance was not entirely due to his poor ability. In the future, he would have to work harder to get 4 or even 5 stars and get the “green channel” qualification in the future and shorten the promotion period to make up for the loss.Qi ge mentioned that at the end of 2021, because of the low performance of the big factory to pay for consulting, seeking to make up for countermeasures, a lot more than in previous years.After talking to them, Qi Ge found that people in big factories were more worried about the impact of low performance than before, because high performance was more likely to save their jobs.He told Shenran that the more difficulties encountered, the workplace should be more self-generalization.When analyzing the reasons for his low performance, a senior employee of the Seven elder brothers gang told him, “You just bury your head in your work, but your boss is an ‘ear type’ leader. Unlike those results-oriented and actively observing leaders, your boss pays more attention to the feedback he hears from his ears.”Seven elder brother gave him advice is to review, sort out the work content, summarize personal deficiencies, digital presentation of personal value, and then take the answer to consult the superior, and maintain regular communication.”In this way, the leader can see their own bright and valuable, but also not wrong direction.”Seven said that after more than 10 days, the “old scalper” received some positive feedback from his leaders.However, Zhu jupeng is not entirely convinced.He mentioned another extreme situation: “Many employees become leaderist, thinking about the KPI of the leader, how to meet the needs of the leader, and paying attention to the speeches of the department leader and business division leader.As soon as you see that your leader is positive about a particular direction, you rush to the front and get it done, thinking that ‘managing up’ will at least guarantee a performance review.”In his opinion, the most “fatal” thing is that many people will be led by the nose by the performance of big companies, give up their own pace and ignore personal growth, but are more likely to become unnecessary screws, affecting their entire career.”Employees are paying more attention to stability in their employment choices, which is one of the manifestations of overvaluing KPIs.”Zhu Jupeng found that people in big factories are more inclined to the project team which is relatively safe, rather than the innovation project team which has a higher risk factor and does not run out.”If you don’t do well in the short term, you are likely to be eliminated.”Hr practitioners often see performance kpIs as an indication of a company’s strategic direction.Reasonable KPI can push employees towards the overall goal of the company, but overly strict performance appraisal system will become a tool of strong control.”Being underperformed is an experience most professionals cannot escape.”Even Tong Wenhong, a partner at Alibaba, has said she was underperforming, Hong said.Zhu Jupeng reminds that the big factory is not the only place to work. The big factory can use performance to screen talents, and every employee can also find a suitable working environment.But the same is, blacksmithing needs to be hard, if the individual ability is outstanding, even if not in the big factory, you can find a matching position.”It’s not a good choice to be stuck in a long-term situation,” he says.Zhu Jupeng said.* The title picture and accompanying picture are from Visual China.At the request of interviewees, zhang Xiaoxiang, Zhang Tong, Li Pengjie, Zhang Ziyu, Hong Yunfeng and Qi Ge are pseudonyms in the article.