. . . and How to Avoid Them
Performance reviews are usually really terrible.
The annoyance of traditional employee reviews (or assessments, evaluations, appraisals, whatever you want to call them) is deeply familiar to most of us. These corporate staples don't fit the way we work today, especially in the creative economy:
- They waste time (to the tune of 2 million hours at Deloitte).
- They demotivate employees.
- They don't add much tangible value to the business.
Fortunately, it looks like we finally hit an inflection point in 2015, with many leading companies dismantling their outdated review processes. Feedback is getting more frequent and more relevant, and not a moment too soon.
Let’s look at twelve classic flubs of performance reviews, and how you can correct them. Have you ever sat through—or given—one of these?
1. The “So Good It’s No Good” review
In this review, the manager gives the employee a totally glowing evaluation, with no indication that the employee could improve in any manner. It feels like that scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie's teacher gives him an “A plus plus plus plus!”
If you're doing a great job, you might agree with that assessment, but you probably have a sneaking suspicion that, if pressed, your manager could think of at least one thing you could do better.
And if you know you're not putting your all into the job and still get a 10/10, it'll be clearer than ever that the review is a farce—and you won't be motivated to step up your game.
The fix: Take a deep breath and give the employee honest feedback on how she can improve. Don’t make up problems (of course), but don’t gloss over a performance issue just to avoid awkwardness or confrontation.
Employees will appreciate the corrective feedback, as shown by research from Zenger Folkman:
In the same study, most employees also said corrective feedback would help them do better work:
When asked what was most helpful in their career, fully 72% said they thought their performance would improve if their managers would provide corrective feedback.