Performance feedback and review is part and parcel of the life of someone in a managerial role. Poorly handled reviews lead to low morale and dissatisfaction, in turn increasing workload. There is a school of thought that believes that performance appraisals do more damage than good to the individuals being reviewed; that they are a waste of time and effort. It is certainly true that it may be better not to do a review than to go through a meaningless, mechanical ritual.

Why Do Performance Reviews?

A performance review can offer timely and honest feedback. According to Pete Foley, PhD, a Principal at Mercer and North American Employee Research Leader, “The overall employment deal is in a state of flux around the world, with employees rethinking what they want out of the employment relationship. Our research shows that, despite the on-going economic uncertainty, more employees would consider leaving today for a better opportunity.”

A rapidly changing, uncertain world needs engaged employees, and employees need a solid reason to be engaged. The performance appraisal can be one of the reasons. Appraisals can drive employee engagement by:

  • Letting them know that their work is meaningful, and how it contributes to a larger picture
  • Helping them to progress and grow
  • Recognizing and rewarding their results

What Ruins A Performance Review?

  • Short Term Memory Effect: Most performance evaluations tend to focus on performance over the most recent period, even if the employee has accomplished great things over the course of the entire year.
  • A New Story Every Time: Most managers forget the advice and feedback they gave during the last review. However, the employee does not forget it
  • Focusing On Traits: In other words, attendance, attitude, beliefs, etc. and not on actual performance
  • Focusing On Weaknesses: Beating down the employee on his weak areas so that he forgets his strengths and devotes his energy to make his weak areas his strengths
  • Not Allocating Time: Busy managers hate doing reviews as they are always short on time. As a result, employees feel that their managers cannot spare 60 minutes in a year to give them feedback. Managers and employees merely perform a ritual that benefits none
  • All-Is-Well Syndrome: Brushing issues under the carpet as some managers are scared of telling employees where they need to change course or align energy. They often speak in general terms to avoid specifics
  • Fiddling With Gadgets: During appraisal sessions, managers are often more interested in checking their Blackberries and fielding phone calls than in the task at hand. This conveys to the employee that he or she is insignificant in the manager’s scheme of things

Next week – How To Do A Good Performance Review

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