performance reviews

Performance Reviews and Other Corporate Bull.

By Chris Lott | Management | 2387 Views | 4 Comments    

You receive an email from your direct manager that you’re up for a annual appraisal of your work. Heart stops, anxiety sets in. The dreaded day comes and the performance reviews begin. You soon realize that any disagreement with what is being said is futile no matter how empathetic the manager sounds. Survival mode ensues and a “I just want to get through it” mentality takes over. Sound familiar?


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I have managed sales and management teams for years. Some of the companies I worked for demanded performance appraisals. All were ineffective for any real change and motivation. None were conducive to a management employee partnership. Why?

Performance appraisals are based on a manager’s perception and metrics. One person’s perception is another person’s being misunderstood many times. While I’m a big believer in metrics they should never be a primary source for performance indication of an employee.

“A US poll of 2,677 people (1,800 employees, 645 HR managers, and 232 CEOs) by San Francisco-based rewards-and-recognition consulting firm Achievers revealed 98% of staff find annual performance reviews unnecessary.” – Is it time to give up on performance appraisals?

Each person works differently. At least that is what we, as management, should expect. We need to root out what makes them tick to become a useful productive team member. There is never one way for successful individual participation. Performance reviews typically don’t represent this with the recipient leaving a review not understood and filled with animosity.

Permanent record dilemma and performance reviews

Another aspect to the negativity of an official annual review is the permanency of the document. If used for pay increases and promotions it puts way too much emphasis on a single manager’s perception of performance. I have found this to be true for personal improvement plans or PIP’s as well. Their future with your company is now “tainted” at some level. Company loyalty is low and evangelism gone. Not a good thing.

I designed a plan, or playbook, that has worked for me over the years. My playbook was customized to have the employee fill in their goals and metrics for success. It’s their plan. When I mentor this correctly a partnership is obtained. There is a true buy-off on goals and performance.

Through weekly one-on-ones and quarterly playbook reviews they stay on track for success throughout the year. Not an annual appraisal from a one-sided source. Tweaks can be made daily, if necessary, to make sure they attain success if at all possible.

Of course not every employee will be a winner and successful. If they are not willing to make the changes necessary I can make adjustments to my team quicker and on budget. I also know I gave them every opportunity for success.

Take the time and put the effort in for your teams success. It has been said, and I believe this, employees quit because of managers and not necessarily money. I have no doubt that annual reviews are a contributor to this. Partner with your team and you will become the manager you want to work for.

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4 thoughts on “Performance Reviews and Other Corporate Bull.

  1. It would also be really good to have good documentation of the appraisal day so that I make sure I have all the necessary information. Thank you for the great post! Where is this information?

  2. Appraisals can be really stressful to go through. I think that a lot of employees get really panicked about these and often don’t perform at their best. I would be really like to start looking into finding a more efficient way to do appraisals so that my employees don’t worry so much about it. It would also be really good to have good documentation of the appraisal day so that I make sure I have all the necessary information. Thank you for the great post!

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