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Why Performance Appraisals Don't Improve Performance

There is compelling new research that shows performance reviews actually don’t improve performance, and may actually cause a decline in performance. Also, performance reviews are tied to the Bell or Normal Curve, which is now being seriously questioned. Read More

I have no doubt that

I have no doubt that performance appraisals, when applied correctly, can help. However, I've never seen them applied correctly in my thirteen years of working experience, and I probably never will. The reason for this is that the performance indicators used in these appraisals are usually set by people higher up in the pecking order with little regard to the actual situation experienced by those lower down, and therefore creates cross-purposes that force employees to take actions that "tick all the boxes" even when said actions are obviously detrimental to the employee's (and therefore the company's) work. Not only does this make teamwork difficult, but it also suppresses the employee's ability to act in the company's best interest on an individual level. In some extreme cases, I've seen performance appraisals used to harass employees and to avoid accountability by passing the buck lower down. In my opinion, these kinds of "techniques" should have been left where the belong; in the eighteenth century.

My experience

I do NOT have good feelings about these reviews. At a job I got a bad review. Over the next 3 weeks I did not do much, then I was fired for "the lack of significant improvement since the review". The review was nothing more than a paper trail to justify what they had already decided.

What is seriously depressing

What is seriously depressing about this for me is the mantra that everything, including my interest area education, would be better managed like a business. Business people seem to have about as much an idea about what's going on as the rest of us, i.e. not much of an idea all. Nonetheless, there is persistent push to introduce performance management systems to schools.

Sigh.

Performance Management

Having just recently completed a performance review I can attest to their worthlessness. Just the sheer number of man-hours spent having all employees complete a self-evaluation, having those evaluations reviewed by managers, face-to-face meetings to "discuss" managements opinion, revising evaluations in light of those discussions, and then setting "goals" for future performance destroys real productivity -- particularly for a net result totally ignored until the next annual review fiasco begins.

Thank you for sharing this

Thank you for sharing this post.. It is really a nice post..

Performance Reviews

I am self-employed, and have a work contract as the custodian of a church. My annual performance reviews seem to focus on just two things: 1. what I am STILL doing WRONG after 4 years in the job, and 2. how much more work can be added to my job description that I am still supposed to do in my maximum paid hours per week to ensure I remain a part-time employee. Needless to say, I am making arrangements to train my successor and get out of this contract before the next year's perf. review comes up.

Performance Reviews

Have seen the negative effect of Performance Reviews at work. The aftermath of the untoward feedback during these reviews have seen a decline in employee performance, demotivate and disengage employees, creativity and productivity suffered as a result of this time wasted process. I believe constant collaboration, coaching and mentoring employees are more productive instead.

Performance review disguised as "quick chat"

Just last week, I got pulled into a meeting labelled as "quick chat" which turned out to be a unscheduled and unexpected performance review on 1 single issue reported by a co-worker. The exact word used were "she found me argumentative and was concerned". This was because I was asking a bunch of questions on the execution of a system set-up that was new to me and she was unable to explain to me in a clear and concise way the impact if I did thing a certain way. She is the most senior in the team and is supposed to be the "trainer". So she was not happy because I asked questions that would have helped me understand the system and the work I was about to do. As such, she reported the situation to the team supervisor who happens to be promoted to this supervising role just a couple of months before. During the meeting, I was not even allowed to say the things I wanted the supervisor to hear (i.e. my side of the story), instead, I was told literally "ok, we only have 30 minutes and I have 3 things I want to go thru" (3 things on 1 issue labelled as "quick chat"). The supervisor booked the meeting the afternoon before. The moment I saw the calendar entry in my email, I have started getting all stressed out already and couldn't sleep that night. Thanks God the meeting took place in the morning, otherwise, I think my day would have been quite unproductive with me being all stressed out. I walked into the meeting telling myself "listen first, be attentive but neutral as not to generate any possible defensive reaction". Thru out the meeting the supervisor typed on her laptop furiously as she spoke. I wanted to ask what the heck she was typing since she's the one doing all the talking. However, I kept quiet as I didn't want to inadvertently create what is going to be perceived as another issue. I wonder how this meeting will be reported on my annual performance review...

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Ray Williams is the author of Breaking Bad Habits and The Leadership Edge.

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