It's never pleasant to receive a negative employee evaluation, especially when it doesn't reflect your job performance. If you get an unfair work review, use the sample letter below to respond in a professional manner.
Sample Rebuttal Letter to Negative Employee Evaluation
Writing a rebuttal letter gives you the opportunity to calm down, clear your head, and respond in a professional way. The sample letter is provided in a printable format so you can customize the text for your own purposes. Click the image and the letter will open as a PDF; use this guidance if you experience any challenges working with the document.
General Tips for Crafting a Rebuttal Letter
When you receive an unfair work evaluation, you'll likely be angry or hurt. It's best not to vent these feelings immediately or argue with the supervisor. Instead, state that he has given you much to think about, and exit. Take some time to reflect and calm down before you begin writing a rebuttal letter.
Give yourself at least a full workday after the review before writing. You'll be able to think rationally and present your point of view in a more convincing manner. If you're still angry after one day, wait a little longer. However, don't delay more than a week since you may lose your nerve (or you manager may lose interest).
Tone and Word Choice
While you may be smarting over unfair criticism, this is no time to be snarky or belligerent. Use polite, professional language.
Attention to Detail
If the boss cited six different sticking points in your review, craft six unique responses that address each point to show you took the time to examine the full evaluation.
Offering Examples and Solutions
If the manager said you have a bad attitude, prove it's not so by attaching copies of emails from satisfied customers or thank-you notes from co-workers. If a negative comment points out a flaw in your work, outline a training program or suggest a mentor to help you tackle the shortcoming.
Getting an Honest Assessment Before You Send
Ask a trusted colleague, advisor or teacher to read your letter and provide frank feedback. This person may point out a blind spot you have where your performance is concerned.
Consider requesting a follow-up meeting with your supervisor. When you offer to discuss wrong impressions, an improvement plan, or both, you are showing your willingness to collaborate to solve problems.
Requesting a meeting also paints a picture on how management responds to conflicts in the workplace. If the boss is unwilling to meet or hear your side of the story, you may want to think about updating your resume and starting to look for a new position.
Panic Versus Preparation
A negative employee review isn't the end of the world. It can serve as an opportunity for you to improve your performance and communication with your supervisor, or it could be a signal that it's time to look for a different position. Either way, you benefit when you are proactive and communicate professionally.