Managers! Time to Ditch Performance Reviews?

In the past few years, performance reviews have come under considerable criticism.

Innovative managers think it is time to ditch annual, structured performance reviews.

History of Performance ReviewsTo a growing number of managers, one-sided, employer-administered performance reviews are little more than a “dog and pony show.” It creates negative performance, a roadblock to significant business communication and is the primary reason for low morale at the workplace.

Even the knowledge that a performance review will take place harms daily interactions and teamwork.

It was not always this way. Originally, management used performance reviews to inform employees about what they are doing right—and wrong. They provided insight on performance, as well as ways to improve productivity. Over time, the original goal has changed—quite a lot.

Today, the performance review has become more of an intimidation aimed at preserving authority; bosses treat them as a tool to keep the advantage. This type of intimidation is unnecessary. Naturally, the boss already has the authority, with or without any annual performance reviews.

Performance reviews put two parties at odds with each other. One (the boss) wants to talk productivity, efficiency and performance, where the other (the employee) is concerned with “trivial” stuff like compensation, and the possibility of career advancement.

The boss thinks of missed opportunities, while the employee wants to talk pay. Any attempt to unite the two motives lead to accusations of “being difficult to work with” or “resistant to change.” This only creates tension that lingers year-round.

Performance reviews also go to perpetuate the myth that pay links with performance. More often than not, companies base compensation on market values, not any individual’s performance. It is not how the employee is doing that determines if they will get a raise, it is how the company is doing.

Management concocts a story to justify a raise smaller than expected, or no raise at all. How often does a manager tell an employee, “We just can’t afford to pay you (X amount) this time,” leaving a raise for another year?

This infographic from WorkSimple outlines, in a humorous way, the history of much-maligned performance reviews…

History of Performance Reviews


Published by @philammann

Put. That coffee. Down. Writer/editor/whatever it takes. @margaretj13 is my (much) better half. Website: Email: Twitter: @PhilAmmann

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