Too often the comments muttered and uttered about Performance Reviews are –
- ‘It’s just not fair’
- ‘The forms are so cumbersome’
- ‘These reviews are a complete waste of time’
- ‘They’re too wordy and waffly’
- ‘They don’t change a thing in the way we work’
It is not without good reason that companies like Microsoft, Adobe and Accenture are choosing to abandon traditional performance management methods.
Adobe calculated that the annual performance reviews required 80,000 hours of time from their 2000 managers each year – the equivalent of 40 full-time employees. After all that effort, internal surveys revealed that employees felt less inspired and motivated afterwards – and the departure of good people actually increased.
According to a recent Bersin survey, 58% of organisations believe the annual performance review is a waste of time yet, up until recently, 100% of the companies surveyed insisted on doing it. In the same survey of 2,500 companies across 90 countries, only 200 of these companies believed their performance management process drove high levels of value.
Many team members believe that performance review systems are unfair, ambiguous, subjective, and therefore invalid. As a consequence they tend to accept the positive feedback and deny that the negative feedback is valid.
Many team members believe their team leader or manager has treated them differently. This gives rise to comments about favouritism or victimisation.
Many managers expect a disengaged or negative response from their team members and so avoid completing the reviews.
Many managers verbalise their scepticism about the performance review system, they talk about how time-consuming it is, and question its value with their own team members. So it’s not surprising that their team members often don’t see it as adding any value or substance. Too often, team leaders and managers see performance reviews as a ‘necessary evil’.
Is it possible to devise a performance review system that is relevant, fair and clear for both managers and for their team members? A system that actually enables and drives higher levels of performance?
The answer is ‘yes’, and it will require time and energy to design a system that is relevant to your business in the current climate, and a system that genuinely optimises your people asset. It also takes time and technique to coach your managers so that they will have performance conversations that are meaningful and high quality, and that enable positive change and commitment.
It will be worth it.
We willingly, and rightly, spend much time and often a significant sum of money analysing our physical assets. We don’t hesitate to spend additional time and money in order to gain increased efficiency. It’s strange, then, that we often find it difficult to allocate time and expertise to devising a system that optimises our people asset ….. the asset most CEOs and Senior Managers cite as their most valuable one!
To your team’s success,