I have yet to encounter an organization that is proud of how current performance reviews work. In fact, most executives are ashamed when confronted about this common corporate ritual. Why are they so dysfunctional? In a recent survey of 48,000 CEOs, managers and employees, Leadership IQ found only 13% of managers and 6% of CEOs thought year-end reviews were effective.
The dysfunction has more to do with timing and reward than anything. If your boss waits almost a year to tell you that you are not performing at the highest level, the first question most of us will have is "why didn't you tell me sooner?" Moreover, how can you receive good remarks during a performance review and then get fired a few months later. Also, employees feel like the boss doesn't really know how and what they do. And finally, most employees surveyed think top performers should be rewarded when most are not. Does this sound familiar?
The survey went on to say that most people feel like a student getting a grade from a teacher. In the business world, this can kill morale and productivity. My research reveals a reliance on this "dinosaur methodology" is more out of custom than preference. We have not taught the HR as well as other executives how to deliver proper performance feedback. Someone has simply made the presumption that they know all along. This ignorance is more common than you might imagine. Most do not know that a five-step process for delivering effective feedback exists. And even more have never practiced and honed this skill to be effective. It is something we must learn to do and it takes repetition to become good at it. As with most skills, if we do not practice we begin to lose the skill.
So here are some thoughts to consider. Ask your team "what do they think of your performance review process?" Then ask yourself "why are you doing them?" And finally, ask your team “what would happen if you simply stopped doing them?"