The depressing facts about mental health and performance reviews

Employees need support to cope with stress
By John Butler
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/04/2003

Anika manages a customer service centre for a major retailer that recently amalgamated with another firm. Because of the amalgamation and its emphasis on doing “more with less,” Anika’s workers are expected to handle a 30 per cent increase in calls, but her workforce has decreased by 15 per cent.

It’s performance evaluation time for Anika. Her boss, a harried middle manager, noticed a downward slide in Anika’s performance in the last six months but he said nothing, partly because he has been busy with other things, partly because he hoped it might sort itself out, partly because he felt he could deal with it at Anika’s performance evaluation.

The problem didn’t sort itself out. Anika leaves the performance interview devastated. She has been subjected to a litany of what she considers accusations — her decision-making has been criticized, her absenteeism was raised, she was told she isn’t committed to the firm. When she tries to cite the stress she is under, her manager says, “try doing my job for a week if you want to see what stress is.”