If you think performance reviews are an effective management practice, I need you to stop reading this post, jump down to the comments, and make a case for them.
You’re still reading. I’m with you. Whether I was giving or receiving, I never thought performance reviews created any value.
We’re not alone. While I’ve listened to hundreds of people say that performance reviews are a waste of time, I’ve never talked with a manager who liked them.
HR professionals are lonely voices as they try to get managers to do their reviews. According to this article, even HR doesn’t think annual reviews are useful. They argue for them because the lawyers tell them to. It’s a way to lower the employer’s risk when there’s a need to terminate an employee.
The lawyers have a point. If you are going to fire an employee for cause, it would be useful during any potential legal proceedings to show that you gave the employee a fair chance to change those behaviors.
On the other hand, do you really want to wait for one or maybe two performance reviews to show there’s a problem? That strikes me as a long time.
Let’s get rid of them, and you are going to be your company’s champion for this cause. If you are successful, your peers will call you a hero. Here are some ideas for your plan.
Make the case there needs to be more feedback within the company
There are plenty of studies that demonstrate employees don’t feel like they get enough feedback. Your own engagement surveys will likely support your claim. Use the data.
A lack of feedback allows poor performers to continue on the wrong track. It also results in good performers feeling unappreciated. This might decrease their performance or cause some to look for another job.
Suggest that the annual performance review enables less feedback
Since this is often the only form of feedback that’s monitored, it’s easy for managers to believe that it is the only feedback they need to provide. That couldn’t be more wrong.
Even calling them reviews implies they are used to go over ground that’s already been covered. And yet for many that’s not the case. The performance review becomes the only substantive feedback employees receive all year.
Give the lawyers a better alternative
The company should have a way to consistently track performance. Agree with them on this point. Then pivot to the argument that weekly conversations and even daily would be a better demonstration that the company gave the employee a fair chance to correct problems.
As for documentation, these days there are technology solutions that can help with that. Work.com is one example.
Go get ’em
This shouldn’t be a hard argument to win. It just takes someone (that’s you) to get this done. And when you become a hero, you can buy me lunch for the push and suggestions. Godspeed.
Image credit: (c) Can Stock Photo