“The performance review. It is one of the most insidious, most damaging, and yet most ubiquitous of corporate activities. We all hate it. And yet nobody does anything about it.
Don’t get me wrong: Reviewing performance is good; it should happen every day. But employees need evaluations they can believe, not the fraudulent ones they receive. They need evaluations that are dictated by need, not a date on the calendar. They need evaluations that make them strive to improve, not pretend they are perfect.” – Sam Culbert
I have the privilege of being an adjunct professor in the MBA program at Bethel College. For the last month I have been teaching a Human Resources Management class every Tuesday for four hours.
Last night we discussed performance appraisals (reviews). The members of the class range in age from the early 20’s to the late 50’s and there are 25 students. I asked the class how many have had a positive experience with the performance appraisal system. Out of 25 people, only two had ever had a positive experience and for those two, it had only been at one organization.
Not very impressive. So for most of these professionals, performance reviews were a negative experience that generated fear and provided them no benefit. Something is broken.
That is the premise of the book Get Rid of the Performance Review by Sam Culbert. He does not say we don’t need to talk about performance, just that the way it is done now has become a bureaucratic exercise filled with fear and of no real value to the organization or the employee.
He is recommending a performance preview. It is more of an ongoing dialogue between leader and employee that is constantly seeking how their performance might be enhanced. In this scenario, the boss and the employee are seen as a unit and the performance preview is an ongoing assessment of that relationship and how it might be improved to become more effective.
He goes on to say, “Getting rid of the performance review is a big step forward in allowing a boss and the boss’s direct reports to communicate candidly about what’s needed for better results on the job. If you’re a boss, and your subordinate isn’t succeeding, something is broken here. Doing more of the same isn’t going to cut it. It’s now time for you to ask, “What do you need from me to deliver what we are both on the firing line to produce?” And just as important, it’s time for you to listen to the answer.
Asking and listening. Imagine that. It’s called a conversation, and it’s a rarity in workplaces today. Only by hearing what the other person thinks, and putting that person’s actions in the appropriate context, can you actually see what the person is saying and doing—and how together you can get where the company needs you to go.”
My 30 years of work life tend to prove out what Mr. Culbert shares in his book.
Check out the website & the book is well worth adding to your toolbox in my opinion.
Blessings on your day!