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Tips for Writing a Rebuttal to a Performance Review

written by: Amanda Dcosta•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 2/28/2011

There comes a time when an employee might need to write a rebuttal to a performance review. One can be unfairly judged at work and this might be reflected in an appraisal report. Likewise, an accidental mistake too might happen on the part of the reviewer that could initiate the rebuttal procedure.

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    Need for a Rebuttal - Performance Review Disappointments

    Performance Review Rebuttal Negative performance reviews are a big disappointment not only for the employee but also the reviewer. In essence, it is an indication that the employee hasn't performed well according to the expected standards of the company. On the other hand, there could also be a mistake with the appraisal and therefore the performance review may not necessarily be valid. In such cases where the employee feels that a more positive and better appraisal may be carried out, a rebuttal to a performance review may be written to the reviewer. Bear in mind that with any of the following steps, one's emotional disposition should not be a criteria for a rebuttal, nor should it come in the way of a performance review rebuttal or a request for a re-appraisal. A rebuttal should be submitted after much thought and evaluation of the criteria mentioned in the report.

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    Tips for Writing the Rebuttal

    When writing a rebuttal to a performance review, keep the following steps in mind.

    • Assess or study the report criteria: Every performance review is based on certain preset criteria. Make note of what these criteria are and accordingly what the appraisal for each criteria is.
    • Compare criteria with business standards: Knowing one's business expectations, job contract and company policies, and comparing the appraisal report to these expectations will help highlight where one is considered weak or what one's strong points are from a management perspective. If you fall short under the category of matching both the performance review with the business standards, then you might have to be satisfied with a negative appraisal. However, should you feel that you've been dealt a wrong hand with your performance review, move on to the remaining steps.
    • Request a meeting with the reviewer/appraisal manager: Before proceeding with any steps that could turn legal, request a meeting with the appraisal manager or reviewer. Get feedback for each criteria of the review. Chances are, it could be a honest mistake, and discussing this across the table in a frank and open discussion could highlight the need for a fresh appraisal.
    • Base the rebuttal on facts: When one is submitting a written request for a reappraisal, it is termed as a rebuttal to a performance review (an official document) and hence it becomes vital that a rebuttal be based on facts. If the facts aren't right, or if the context of the rebuttal is off-topic, the entire request becomes baseless.
    • Seek professional help: At times when the appraisal manager is not adept to help you with a reappraisal, you may need to seek professional help, first from one familiar with your operations or perhaps from one who is an expert in human resources and able to put aside time and attention for your cause. Find ways of writing your rebuttal for a performance review from one who is knowledgeable in this regard.
    • Use standard operating procedures' guidelines: When writing a rebuttal to a performance review, keep it official (copied to self) while using the company's terminology for work according to the standard operating procedures. This will help you build a strong defense which ultimately is the common base for all employees and shows how you have kept abreast with or excelled in your line of work. There is no better way than demonstrating it in terms of what the company wants rather than personal gain.

    An appraisal report may be a reflection of an employee's productivity and job satisfaction. After self-evaluation of one's job performance, the above mentioned tips for writing a rebuttal to a performance review may be followed, but only after being certain that a rebuttal is required. Not every employee's appraisal report falls under this category, but for the few unfortunate who find that their review is a valid disappointment may adopt the above mentioned steps as a guide.

    Reference: Fisher, Anne. "How to respond to a bad performance review - Feb. 28, 2006." Business, financial, personal finance news - N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. <>.

    Image credit: Author, Amanda Dcosta

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