If the Characters in ‘Stranger Things’ Got Performance Reviews

One question we get often is how to set up your first performance review. Some companies start out with an online template, but these types of cookie-cutter reviews aren’t often beneficial to employees or valuable to human resources. A great review starts by studying your culture and creating a review that exemplifies your company values and the culture you want.

After watching the big, scary show of the summer on Netflix — “Stranger Things” — we thought it would be helpful to create a faux performance review with the characters as an exercise. It’s hard to watch a cop like Jim Hopper break so many laws and not think about how he’ll fare when it’s time to dole out bonuses, right?

The core competencies for the townspeople of Hawkins, Ind., will include teamwork, bravery, problem-solving and excellence. How do you think they did? Let us know in the comments!

(And yes, there are spoilers below.)

Joyce Byers

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Supports team members on projects: 4
Maintains poise in the face of danger: 5
Implements creative solutions to problems: 5
Executes tasks with high-quality results: 5

Joyce entered the series in a challenging role, lacking trust of many people close to her. Yet, she ran back into the house when presented with clear danger, showing bravery. She was the only character who managed to communicate (through actual words and phrases!) with someone who was in the Upside Down — problem-solving. It was unfortunate that she did not accept the help of Nancy and Jonathan in the final sequence, but she did, successfully, bring her son home — showing excellence.

Jim Hopper

Supports team members on projects: 1
Maintains poise in the face of danger: 5
Implements creative solutions to problems: 4
Executes tasks with high-quality results: 5

Throughout the series, Hopper displayed little trust in his colleagues. When they awoke him to respond to a case, he didn’t appear to believe it was worthy of his time. He repeatedly left them out of crucial information relevant to their jobs, such as the existence of a monster. But, he bravely broke into Hawkins Laboratory, deftly removed individual lights from their sockets to avoid being spied upon and helped Joyce bring her son home, earning high marks on the final three competencies.

In the next season, we advise Hopper to double-down on his distrust of large research corporations in order to continue helping endangered children.

Dr. Martin Brenner

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Supports team members on projects: 1
Maintains poise in the face of danger: 5
Implements creative solutions to problems: 5
Executes tasks with high-quality results: 3

Dr. Brenner was seen in at least two scenes sending a colleague into the Upside Down without suitable protection, appearing to prioritize his own research above their health and wellness. Despite working in close proximity to an apparent danger, Dr. Brenner always seemed to be relaxed (perhaps too poised? Is he a psychopath?), earning high marks on bravery. His LSD research was clearly quite successful, even if it left a few people catatonic. If his goal was to spy on Russia, he more or less achieved it, but considering the complications involved, he gets a mediocre score on excellence.

Steve Harrington

Supports team members on projects: 4
Maintains poise in the face of danger: 4
Implements creative solutions to problems: 4
Executes tasks with high-quality results: 4

Steve lost some loyalty points with his “team” when he got into a fight with his friend and offered to clean the movie theater marquee, but overall this character improvement contributed to the well-being of the town. Although he initially ran away from the monster at the Byers’ house, I attribute that to shock value, as it was his first interaction. (And, he came back!) Steve was crucial to the efforts to pin down the monster and set it on fire, although the damage was not as potent as intended.

Next season, Steve should continue to expand his character growth and bravery through monster-fighting and friendships beyond his high school clique.

Jonathan Byers

Supports team members on projects: 3
Maintains poise in the face of danger: 5
Implements creative solutions to problems: 4
Executes tasks with high-quality results: 4

Jonathan doesn’t immediately come out as a team player — he distrusts his mom, which in turn threatens to slow down her progress. He does, however, brave the forest after sunset to chase a monster, and later agrees to a plot that involves attracting said monster back to a house. Creativity points for the car trunk-full of interesting hunting tools modified into monster-fighting weapons.

Jonathan should continue developing trust with his fellow townspeople to be even more effective in the future.

Nancy Wheeler

Supports team members on projects: 5
Maintains poise in the face of danger: 5
Implements creative solutions to problems: 4
Executes tasks with high-quality results: 3

Nancy doesn’t just seek out the monster; she seeks it out after having seen it outside Steve’s house, and then she wants to keep fighting it after having nearly been attacked in the Upside Down. She works well with Jonathan and shows much potential for team-building and leadership, also forming an alliance with her brother towards the end. It is recommended she continue to build these new alliances in the absence of her best friend so her contributions will continue to benefit the town.

Dustin Henderson

Supports team members on projects: 5
Maintains poise in the face of danger: 3
Implements creative solutions to problems: 4
Executes tasks with high-quality results: 4

Dustin’s use of a compass gets him points on creativity, and he is consistently the only one of his friends to enforce the rules of friendship such as the spit handshake. He isn’t scared of monsters, and he’s not scared of bullies with knives, either.

Dustin should expand his influence in the scientific community with more late-night phone calls to teachers and find new ways to apply this knowledge to come up with creative solutions to public safety problems.

Lucas Sinclair

Stranger Things

Supports team members on projects: 2
Maintains poise in the face of danger: 4
Implements creative solutions to problems: 4
Executes tasks with high-quality results: 5

Lucas is distrustful in many of his team’s projects. He exerts energy fighting when he could be collaborating. He did, however, deliver when he saw the vans leaving the laboratory and alerted his friends via the walkie-talkie system, likely saving them, at least temporarily.

We recommend Lucas develop his teamwork skill set to expand his influence in Hawkins, Ind., in his role as Best Friend.

Mike Wheeler

Supports team members on projects: 4
Maintains poise in the face of danger: 4
Implements creative solutions to problems: 4
Executes tasks with high-quality results: 5

Jumping into the quarry got Mike some bravery points, but ultimately it was a reckless move. He manages to hide a young girl in his house for a matter of days, finding and delivering food for her, showing creativity. He manages to learn more about Eleven than anyone else, pushing the plot along and clearly up all (most?) of the loose threads.

In the next season, Mike should continue his loyalty to friends while developing his creativity so he doesn’t find himself jumping in another quarry.

Will Byers

Supports team members on projects: 3
Maintains poise in the face of danger: 3
Implements creative solutions to problems: 3
Executes tasks with high-quality results: 3

Will barely appears in this show, despite being central to the plot, but without his communication-via-electricity, the others likely could not have saved him.

Eleven

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Supports team members on projects: 1
Maintains poise in the face of danger: 5
Implements creative solutions to problems: 5
Executes tasks with high-quality results: 5

Eleven’s (we assume) shining moment was not captured in the season — how did she escape from Hawkins Laboratory? How did she defeat the monster, and where did they both go? She’s incredibly effective and just about everything — scavenging for food at a local grocery store, soundlessly sneaking down hallways during the middle of a family dinner, killing bad people but only hurting sort-of bad people. But even after learning that “friends don’t lie,” she let her teammates down by misleading them over the compass distortion, knocking her score on teamwork.

We would like to see Eleven build greater trust with her friends in the next season to improve personal objectives. (Or really, just at all. Come back, Elle!)

Images via GIPHY, Imgur, Netflix

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