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Employee Engagement, Employee Feedback, Employees, Workplace Trends

Performance Reviews Are Getting Their Own Performance Review

Performance Reviews Are Getting Their Own Performance Review
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Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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For the last several years, companies have been getting increasingly skeptical about the value of annual performance reviews — particularly the ones with numerical employee rankings — and at this point are seeking a better way to assess employees’ work.

Among the first companies to move beyond the annual review was Adobe, who came to consider the review process a “soul-crushing exercise,” losing often valuable employees every year right after review time. As senior VP of global people and sales Donna Morris told SHRM, “We hired the very best, and then we brought them into an organization and on an annual basis said, ‘You were exceptional when you came in, but now, relative to your peers, you’re only average.’ That doesn’t feel good.” The company switched to more frequent, less formal conversations back in 2012, and the company considers them far more useful.

Manjur Ahmed, writing for The Daily Star, sums up five good reasons performance reviews don’t work:

  • They’re time-consuming: Since it can take a manager up to 12 hours per review. Multiply that by the number of employees and add on the time it takes to do the HR paperwork.
  • There’s no follow-up: Until next year’s review.
  • The reviewer is biased: When the personal relationship between manager and employee can’t be removed from the appraisal, leading to unfair rankings.
  • The reviewer is afraid of spoiling relationships: When the reviewer doesn’t want to hurt employees’ feelings so criteria are applied inconsistently sometimes having as much to do with individuals’ sensitivity as performance.
  • Different review techniques by different departments: Make company-wide comparisons meaningless.

Ahmed suggests four things to do instead of these reviews:

  • Create a feedback-rich culture: Where people are free to provide feedback to each other.
  • Encourage employees to continually self-assess: And to informally share those assessments.
  • Hire the best people possible: And support them with a constructive culture.
  • Invest in leadership development: So managers have the skills required for bringing out the best in their staff.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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