Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What are some negatives about having a performance review

What are some negatives about having a performance review

There are several negatives to performance reviews at work.

First, their usefulness is dubious at best. I have been a manager for 8 years at several large and small companies and have yet to see a performance review system that actually adds value to the organization. Most take too much time, are difficult to administer properly, do not take enough information into account, or are not used for anything other than fulfilling an organizational directive to have a performance review.

Another negative is that often performance reviews are used spitefully by managers to "earmark" employees as underperformers in order to "manage them out" of the organization. Depending on the manager's relationship with an employee, it is very easy to accumulate negative documentation on an employee for the purpose of giving them a poor review.

On the opposite side of that, performance reviews most often do not accurately reflect an individual's positive contributions to an organization. It is often easiest to just take good performers for granted and to not accumulate meaningful documentation of their good performance, meaning a performance review ends up being a collection of anecdotal "stories" instead of containing hard data about how they contributed. Signs of this are comments in the review such as "Works well with others. Helped so-and-so get used to the team." or "Finishes assigned tasks in a timely manner. When asked to work on Team X was always on time and helped out."

Another negative is when companies use performance reviews to divide a small percentage increase to a group. Often a bell-curve approach is taken and the performance review is used by the management team to reward their favorites and keep others from receiving a payout. When a curve is used, it automatically creates an atmosphere of distrust and competition that is most often destructive to the organization. Teamwork is what is needed most in today's businesses and this kind of "me or them" atmosphere does not lend itself to synergy.

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