I’ve been working on a talent management project at work for the past few months. This past week I have been obsessed with learning more about performance reviews. Specifically, I am looking for a story about a company where the performance review process WORKS and employees genuinely LOVE it. Every company has a performance review process and yet, I haven’t come across anyone who has told me unequivocally that they like it.
The most provocative article I read is Prof. Culbert’s article in the Wall Street Journal. In this article he essentially calls for scrapping the performance review (because it “destroys morale, kills teamwork and hurts the bottom line.”) and replacing it with something called a Performance Preview (“Reciprocally accountable discussions about how boss and employee are going to work together even more effectively than they did in the past”).
The article ticked off some HR folks and they responded with their blog posts. The best rebuttal in my opinion came from Kris Dunn in an article for Workforce Management called “Want to Kill the Annual Performance Review? Step Up or Shut Up!” (Available by registration at http://www.workforce.com ) The article is summed up by this one sentence from the article: “You can only throw out the annual review if your managers can do one very important thing—coach talent on a daily basis.”
I am still searching for that story I mentioned earlier (Performance review process that everyone likes). Do you know of one?
The lack of published responses here – 15 months after this piece was written – is pretty telling. No one has a positive experience to share? I’m not surprised. Dunn clearly has a COI, and I think that Culbert’s darts are closer to the center of the dartboard.
Robert: It’s possible that there are no responses to my post since no one (okay..few) read my blog :-).
That said, since the time I wrote the post I have continued to ask people I know if they like the performance review process in their organization. No one has replied in the affirmative. The only people who say such processes work and add value are people who work in HR and manage them.
Have you figured it out yet? Performance Reviews suck. But they also promote lying. I walked out of mine feeling like my head was a ping pong ball. The spoken message I was told to go away with was that I was suppose to communicate better (I’d bitched about the Performance Review on facebook and got caught). But the overwhelming UNSPOKEN message was that I should shut up (I’d ridiculed a new rule that I did not agree with). So as I walked out nodding my head to my boss’s question “Are we good?” and went home and played The Clash London Burning really loud. I work for a small non profit and the main results of the review for me were 1) I’m much less willing to admit it if I do make a mistake and I never volunteer for the organization anymore. It was a real bitch slap.
Culbert is right.