Sam Culbert, author of Get Rid of the Performance Review, editorialized in the Wall Street Journal about the why and how of eliminating the performance review. Though we hate the performance review in its current incarnation, we’re actually not in favor or eliminating it outright – unless you have a better system to replace it with. Unfortunately, there are far too many poor supervisors who need proper training to become adequate at performance management.
In this editorial, Dr. Culbert proposes these reasons to get rid of the performance review:
- Two People, Two Mindsets. The mind-sets of the two participants in the performance review are at odds. The boss would like your performance to improve, the employee is worried about how much (if any) raise they will receive and making it out of the performance review unscathed to survive another year.
- Performance Doesn’t Determine Pay. Let’s be honest with the facts: in some situations, you can be an excellent performer and receive no raise. In others, you can be a poor performer and receive just about the same raise as the excellent performers. Performance alone doesn’t determine pay: budgets, market forces, and other factors do.
- Objectivity is Subjective. No matter who you are, it’s impossible to be completely objective about your employees. The whole process is subjective even though we try to cram it into a seemingly objective rating process.
- One Size Doesn’t Fit All. Most companies use the same process and form for every employee, no matter their responsibilities, job content, or position. This is insane! We do not treat employees equal in other areas, why in the annual performance appraisal?
- Personal Development is Impeded. Employees need to feel free to ask their boss for advice about personal development, weaknesses, and how to improve. With a fear of the performance review process, many employees neglect to talk to the one person they should: their boss.
- Disruption to Teamwork. Naturally, we tend to compare employees to one another. Pitting team members against each other will result in a disruption to the team that we could avoid.
Dr. Culbert recommends replacing the current system with a two-way, accountable coaching model where the boss helps the employee improve throughout the year. This traditional performance management model is unfortunately not taught at many corporations and is an excellent model for replacing the current system. Once you’ve read the article, stop by and leave some comments about what you think about Dr. Culbert’s “performance preview” ideas.