Why has the current, clunky version of the dreaded annual performance review stuck around so long?
You know the type:
Facilitates team communication: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 (Circle one).
Manager to self: Um, how about 3? You can’t go wrong with average. It’s safer, right? Then, 3 it is.
The lack of meaningful performance reviews is so pervasive because companies are slow to change virtually anything, they’re stuck in 1950s thinking.
Or worse: This approach is expedient so you’ll have a paper trail when people need to be disciplined.
So, when it’s performance review time, instead of setting real goals or improving work habits, managers rely on cookie-cutter evaluations that alienate everyone.
Yes, There’s A Better Way To Motivate Employees
A better way to motivate people is to give hands-on, meaningful feedback and direction regularly throughout the year, making assessments and adjustments along the way, and building rapport and confidence with people.
It stands to reason that no manager could honestly summarize an employee’s performance once a year unless there has been real interactions between the manager and the employee throughout the year.
If a manager has been saving things up for months to spring on an employee all at once, that’s a performance review that won’t be helpful.
Similarly, if a manager only sees performance reviews as necessary to complete a personnel file, the battle for better employee performance is already lost.
Performance reviews are tough to begin with. One reason is nobody likes hearing about their shortcomings – especially if it’s in writing.
So, a lack of preparation by the manager makes a tough situation even worse.
If the manager fails to think through how a review can make a person’s job meaningful, all that is left is for the manager to fumble on, creating confusion and sending the message that the review isn’t all that important anyway.
7 More Reasons Why Performance Reviews Fail
Of course, there are more reasons performance reviews fail even if you don’t use a cookie-cutter form. Here are seven:
- The manager and employee are friends and cannot separate friendship outside of work with manager/employee relationship.
- The employee is hearing negative feedback for the first time during the review. Employees should never be surprised by the information they’re given during the review process.
- Reviews are scheduled only when employees are struggling and facing possible firing. The employee already sees the review as the “enemy.”
- The review is sugar-coated for whatever reasons and doesn’t truly reflect the employees work/position/abilities.
- Some employees get reviews and others never do.
- Goals and expectations are not clear, or not realistic.
- Managers try to measure performance in abstract terms, such as attitude, motivation or dependability, and ignore concrete measures.
No More Waste-of-Time Performance Reviews
We know a lot of companies require you to use a standard form or rating system. You can’t go rogue and completely buck the system. But good managers – Resourceful Managers – can turn a flawed system into a positive with some leeway, ingenuity and a clear Blueprint for success.
The guidance in the Performance Review Blueprint is designed to do just that. Help you improve your performance review process, regardless of the system – and the Blueprint can work hand-in-hand with your company-mandated approach.
Priscilla Manning says
Great Article… Extremely Helpful…