Having gone through my own performance review recently, I couldn't help but reread Charlie's post on performance review to see the perspective of a former executive on the review ratings. Highly recommended.
Got a 4? You Were Just Fired from Microsoft
On the rating scale, this is what Charlie says:
1 You walk on water. We love you. We want to love you long time. Here’s an absurd amount of stock, an up-to 100% bonus, and a huge pat on the back. If we’re not promoting you right now, it’s probably because we just promoted you; we’ll get to it again RSN.
2 Stud/Studette! You are awesome in our eyes and we wish everyone else was just like you. You also get a nice healthy stock grant, a bonus that will make your spouse grin ear-to-ear, and a raise. Please, please, please continue what you’ve been doing.
3 Thank you. You did a fine job. We’d love to keep you around as you are clearly an asset to the company. Keep up the great work! Oh, and if you just do a bit more you could get a “2” next time. But also be careful because you were also close to getting a “4”.
4 I know it stings to hear this, but we are telling you Microsoft really doesn’t care about you anymore and would be just as happy having you work somewhere else. Yea, yea, you might still get a bonus, and there might be small raise involved, but promotion? Forget about it. And stock? Why would we give stock to someone who’s likely not going to be here next year? Ok, ok, maybe you can climb out of this hole over the next year. If you want to try, we’ll let you.
5 Don’t let the door hit you on the butt on the way out. We’d fire you, but that’s just so messy. It’s far easier for us to make you feel unwanted and hope you leave.