The same person presented the review on each occasion, each time to a different person, so it seemed to me this was his common practice – but not a best practice.
On both occasions, I heard every word the supervisor said to his employee, both positive and negative. In the middle of the second review, I packed up my lunch and my laptop and moved to another table because I wasn’t comfortable being privy to such information, and I’m sure the employee was more comfortable not having strangers, or even worse, people she may have known, close at hand.
Performance reviews are personal and should include a candid review of year-long feedback, coaching to improve performance and a productive discussion between supervisor and employee, none of which should be done within earshot of others. To enter into a performance review in a public location shows a disregard for the employee’s privacy.