Performance reviews are like Grape Nut’s Flakes, neither grapes nor nuts. They don’t improve performance and they don’t review well either.
Three reasons traditional performance reviews don’t work.
#1. Extended time gaps
The time between establishing goals and reviewing goals may be months. Any performance issue that can wait months to be addressed doesn’t need to be addressed at all.
#2. Goals and objectives aren’t supported
Organizations and individuals act like religious fanatics practicing “name it claim it” beliefs. They believe talking is the same as doing. For example, telling an employees to develop phone skills without training frustrates dedicated people.
#3. They focus on weakness rather than strengths
Organizations go further by focusing on the strengths of employees rather than weaknesses. Yes, everyone needs to improve and weaknesses roadblocking organizational efficiency and effectiveness must be addressed. However, focusing on weaknesses creates negative work environments and isn’t as effective as leveraging and enhancing strengths.
A note on performance issues: Any skill gap or performance issue that negatively impacts an organization’s mission should be addressed quickly. It becomes fodder for performance reviews when an employee resists improvement.
If there is a layer of dust on last year’s performance review, your organization wasted its resources.
How would you improve performance reviews?
Burn Your Job Description – An article advocating for Vision Descriptions
Strengthen Strengths – A real life example of the power of focusing on strengths rather than weakenesses
Here’s an author who advocates for doing away with performance reviews. http://blogs.bnet.com/mba/?p=2199&tag=col1;post-2238