It’s the end of the year; frequently this means that performance reviews are circulating. I’ve talked about my feelings regarding performance reviews previously. Since I have no direct reports in my current role, this post will be highlighting real statements that have been made to me (near me) regarding their performance review from numerous companies:
- “Will you help me digest this? (as they hand me a 9 page report): You read that correctly, 9 pages. 9 pages of various views, sometimes conflicting of paragraph after paragraph of statements. This individual was overwhelmed by information and not sure where to start.
- “I’m dreading getting my report”: This person felt confident that they knew what would be in the report but still the fear of the grade was overwhelming.
- “Well, that was an experience that I am glad I don’t need to do again”: This was a person that had to do a review with a former manager (despite recently being moved out from under their management).
- “Someone said that I look too young to be working”: What do they do with this, dye their hair grey? There may even be some point that someone is trying to make (I can’t really come up with one) but with just this statement, this individual was mocking the report.
- “I’m really angry that he could add false things to drop my score”: This person felt like someone was allowed to take a cheap shot with no validation/accuracy of the comment. There was a known conflict that has not been addressed but the input affected the grade of the report.
- “Did I write something for you? I can’t remember.”: The person that was attempting to get additional information ended up just saying never mind.
You know what I didn’t hear: “I’m so grateful for my performance review”. People don’t like the report; people appreciate genuine feedback given in near real-time. As a company leadership team, please explore what you are trying to achieve with performance reviews. If it’s demoralizing most of the org with doing them and receiving them, congrats! If you have other goals (which I’m sure most if not all do), please think about other approaches (or at least better constraints).
Do you know the impact of performance reviews at your organization?
I’m grateful that my employer does not do performance reviews. Instead, managers meet 1:1 with people frequently, and we have a feedback app where we can give feedback to anyone (though I confess,I do not remember to use it as much as I should). And they provided training classes in how to give feedback. I think that’s a lot more valuable. Performance reviews are evil and stupid. Even feedback can be more about the person giving the feedback than the person they’re giving it to.