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We’ve just found out our bonus outcomes over the last two weeks based on appraisals that were done in July, and I have a slight issue with mine.

It was determined that people marked at level 1 (performing as expected), level 2 (high performers) and level 3 (going above and beyond) would all get bonuses, but not level 0 (underperforming). This is how team members were appraised back in July, but the actual bonus outcomes themselves were only determined at the start of November, and were retrospectively tagged onto the grades. This bit is important for later.

Anyway, I didn’t get a bonus, which would indicate I’ve been graded at level 0. However, when I queried this with both my current manager and my previous manager who appraised me, both confirmed that I haven’t been underperforming and I’m performing at the desired level, but still no bonus, and that’s the end of that.

As I mentioned earlier, these bonus outcomes were only retrospectively added onto the grades early November, while the grades themselves were determined in July. Having sat in a number of appraisal sessions myself back in July, I witnessed quite a lot of team members having their grades downgraded by senior management who didn’t think certain evidence suggested person A should be on a specific grade. Unless you fought hard against this happening, that was the end of the story, with the justification being that we’re unlikely to be getting bonuses this year anyway so it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, so I’m fairly certain this is what’s happened with me.

Do you think I’d be within my right to raise this with HR? I know bonuses aren’t contracted salary so aren’t guaranteed, but a bonus on the low end of the scale is no short of a grand, so I feel a little hard done by. Plus, being an Assistant Manager myself and appraising my own team members, I know you need to give concrete feedback and evidence as to why somebody has been graded at a certain level, and I don’t feel my feedback in any way reflects my outcome.

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1 hour ago, gmoney said:

Have you got a union? I wouldn't bother with HR. 

Unfortunately not. I work for a big 4 consultancy firm so there’s no chance of anything like that to the best of my knowledge. Your HR response is what I feared to be honest, they’ve not been great in my admittedly few dealings with them.

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Your best bet is to see if someone in your exact same position and circumstances has been given a bonus, then you can ask why. However, having worked somewhere with bonuses and grades within grades, it’s frowned upon to disclose your remuneration with others so that may hinder your attempts. 

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Hi @Slapnut, HR here,

Start by asking your HRBP why you got no bonus, it could be a payroll issue or something simple. 

But......If you get no satisfactory response, or are told your rating was downgraded in calibration to a bottom rating (disqualifying you from a bonus), then you need to raise a grievance. Your justification for your grievance is that at no point has your manager indicated that your performance was not up to standard, has said they are happy with your performance and this comes as a total surprise - its unfair as you've not been given the opportunity to improve. 

Knowing that you work for one of Deloitte, PwC, EY or KPMG, I know these firms tend to be quite ruthless when it comes to exiting poor performers  and some expect the bottom 10% to be exited every year (they actually measure this). So....if you have been given a bottom rating you want to know about it pronto - so you can either fight it or start looking for a new job.


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