My Employee Refuses To Sign His Evaluation

Dear Evil Skippy:

When I gave one of my employees his annual evaluation recently, he refused to sign it.  He said that I am setting him up to fail and he won’t consent to what I am doing.  I told him several times during the evaluation that his signature just means he got the review.  I have also asked him repeatedly over the last week to sign.  He still refuses.  I am at my wit’s end.  What should I do next?

—  Supervisor

Dear Supervisor:

Kidnap his child/spouse/pet/other loved one and hold him/her/it captive until Mr. Stubborn cooperates.  Either that or hold your breath until you turn blue and pass out.  These methods might not work, but at least you won’t keep wasting your time saying the same thing over and over.

When you regain consciousness, find a position that does not involve supervision.  If this situation put you at your “wit’s end”, you are either short on wit or supervision is not your thing.

—  Evil Skippy

Your problem is a common one.  In this situation, I advise supervisors to explain the meaning of the signature (as you did) and, if the employee still refuses to sign, write “Employee received evaluation on DATE but refuses to sign.”

Another nifty option is to say, “All right.  I don’t intend to force you to sign, so just write ‘I refuse to sign’ where your signature would have gone.”  Nine times out of ten, the employee will do it.  After they do, say “Don’t sign, but just initial what you wrote so no one will think it was me.”

Whatever option you use, document what happened and be sure to write a lot about it in the next evaluation – if the employee lasts that long.  It sounds as though he is a big baby.  If you’re lucky, perhaps he will find a new day care – I mean job – or continue his baby behavior until someone using decent supervision skills (it might even be you!) imposes progressive discipline to the point of terminating the fellow if he does not start acting like an adult.

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  1. Tim says

    How can one sign their name “Supervisor” when they are obviously not doing so. This person is drawing a pay check under false pretenses. If this minor incident causes the person to be at wit’s end, how will they respond when real supervision is required. I agree with ES. Find a job where supervising is not a requirement.

  2. Leah says

    If that was me, I would probably just fire him. If he did not sign his evaluation, I would consider him not present or not able to do something so simple as write his name. He is unfit to do the job required if he can’t even sign his name. If he wants to act like an immature baby, just fight fire with “you’re fired!”

  3. Josie says

    “Refused to Sign” needs a 3rd Witness…and if you have to go to that extreme then Mr Pouty Pants needs to understand how his childish behavior is being witnessed by his peers.
    By the way…are you a “REAL” Supervisor?

  4. Steve says

    I’ll advocate on “Refused to Sign’s” behalf for just a moment….were there surprises in the evaluation or deficiencies that came up during the reporting period that the supervisor failed to discuss with the employee? If the supervisor is doing his/her job correctly, there should be no surprises when the evaluation is presented. Make sure the performance expectations are clear, your documentation is in order, and just write “refused to sign” on the eval, date it and have someone witness/sign it along with your initials. Continue to monitor performance, provide feedback, document any progress made as well as continued deficiencies, and if the performance doesn’t improve, implement progressive discipline – up to termination if necessary. You can do it…be fair and consistent.

  5. Loretta says

    I do evaluations as a more collaborative process. The staff member and I both fill out the eval and then meet to discuss and merge them. I AM the supervisor so I get 2 votes to their 1, especially in the “needs improvement” area (and in this case, I would definitely add that the staff member is resistant to correction and coaching.) but they do get to put their two cents in. If there is real disagreement, I’ll let them write up their side of it and attach it to the eval. Info revealed in that can be very telling and can help with changing that behavior.

  6. Flunky says

    I don’t agree with how 99% of companies perform evaluations. They wait until the end of the year, bringing up no issues at all in the mean time, and then BOOM(!) explode them all in your face as the reason you are not getting a pay raise for the year. Meanwhile you’ve had no opportunity to address anything in advance. Other times, what was a onetime incident that has since been corrected seems to pop up on the year end evaluation, and it’s suddenly the reason you are being talked down to as opposed to praised. Never mind that the issue occurred six months ago, was rectified, and yet the boss simply can’t get over it.

    I especially hate when employees are expected to do self evaluations first, and then get treated to the manager’s perspective. EVERY employee is going to see themselves a hundred times better than the supervisor does, and this is nothing more than an opportunity for said employer to kick the legs out from under their employees. Evaluations should be constructive, not destructive, and having an employee do a self evaluation first is the absolute best way to start your evaluation process down the path of destructive.

    In general I am not a fan of the end of year evaluation process. I just don’t think many supervisors are competent enough to give them in uplifting ways as opposed to moral breaking ones.

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