November 7, 2016
Yes, performance reviews create problems, according to a recent Harvard Business School article, but they're not so terrible when you consider all the other alternatives: a recent survey of 9,000 global managers revealed that not having performance reviews was worse than other systems.
My experience would confirm that we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater. The reality is, even if you don't have formal performance reviews, organizations need to have some kind of rating system. If that system is not accomplished through a performance review, there's likely to be a lack of transparency. Nothing kills employee engagement faster than not knowing what's going on -- especially when it comes to their own salary, bonus or career development.
"Nothing kills employee engagement faster than
not knowing what's going on - 
especially when it comes to their own salary, 
bonus or career development."

While other systems encourage constant feedback, my experience is that busy leaders are unlikely to provide feedback in a useful way, and that they won't manage to give it consistently. Different employee groups will inevitably receive different rates of feedback from managers, increasing concerns about fairness.
And then, of course, there's the pesky matter of documentation, an exercise that your attorneys may nag you about but that is also a necessary evil so that you have a place to sort out your thoughts, as well as to remember what happened. 
What Should You Do?
We always urge managers to take just five minutes at the end of every day to document anything that came up with regard to employees: successes, mistakes, discipline and so on. Keeping some kind of daily tracker makes the whole process of yearly reviews -- or whatever review process you use -- so much easier. 
In addition, when you have one-on-ones with employees, ask them to email their understanding of your discussion back to you. If you use this technique, employees do most of the documentation work and you'll also have an opportunity to rate your own communication skills, as well as a chance to learn why your directives are often ignored!

Did You Know?

We provide consulting services on designing the most useful and efficient performance review systems, as well as training for managers and employees on how to conduct effective reviews. 
 For more information, call or write us at: 303-216-1020 or [email protected]

Be sure to read Lynne's helpful books on handling tough conversations with employees.

Workplaces That Work | (303) 216-1020 | [email protected] 
3985 Wonderland Hill Suite 106 Boulder, CO 80304
Image Map
Workplaces That Work, 3985 Wonderland Hill, Suite 106, Boulder, CO 80304
Sent by [email protected] in collaboration with
Constant Contact