Finally! A sensible take on performance reviews!

YES! YES!  YES!  For God’s Sake, YES!  This article made me perfectly giddy.   As a long time manager and HR exec I have eschewed the performance review.  Eschewed I say!

The traditional performance review process more often than not results in:

Wasted HR Time: HR should be spending it’s time recruiting excellent talent and building competitive culture.  Not chasing after process.

Misguided Management Activity: For managers who know what they’re doing and consistently provide specific, timely, relevant feedback on performance throughout the year in a manner that is motivating and engaging for their staff, the fill-in-the-blank performance review is an insult to both manager and employee.  For the managers who give no feedback during the year and who resist and resent even the annual task, the resulting review is an insult to the employee and the company.

Increased Liability: The performance reviews completed by managers who just want to get the darn thing done and don’t have either the competence or the guts to provide constructive guidance are dangerous.  Everyone gets an A.  And then a month later they want to fire someone and HR pulls the “documentation” and sees the person got all A’s.  (Pan to beleaguered HR professional sighing with head in hands.)

Employee Damage: “Aren’t we supposed to have reviews at least once a year?  I haven’t had one since I got here.”  “My manager tried to give me a meets expectations but I told her I never get a meets expectations.”  “These performance review forms are completely irrelevant to my job. I want to know how I’m actually doing.”   “I got exceeds expectations.  Shouldn’t I get a raise?”  These are but a few examples representing the dashed expectations of employees unfortunate enough to be on the ugly end of a well intentioned but ineffective performance process.

Instead of devoting time and effort to a static, marginally relevant, impersonal process, my vote is to train managers to manage and hold them accountable for that management.   Oh, but wait, that would mean our leaders would have to manage.

And don’t even get me started on merit increases….

What do you think?  Are you pro- or anti-performance review process?

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