On Performance Reviews

Thanks to Julian Cook for sponsoring today’s post on performance reviews. If you want to sponsor a post then please donate to our Oxfam page (https://trailwalker.oxfam.org.au/my/team/24094) and choose your topic!

Now on to the post…

“Rate your performance in working to the company’s values on a scale of one to five…”

How do you answer that question? Give yourself a 3/5 and move on or spend the five minutes trying to google what the company’s values are and then give yourself a 3? Either way, surely no-one is getting any benefit out of that question except for whoever works in HR and gets to make a chart saying that average commitment to values has increased from 3.2 to 3.3 over the past 12 months and giving themselves a pat on the back.

It’s a massive missed opportunity for companies of all sizes.

Done properly, performance reviews are really useful – a pat on the back for things done well, a gentle kick in the backside for things done poorly and a chance to talk about how things are going. Problem is though that performance reviews are all too often managed by HR who insert bizarre self-serving platitudes into the review process and give managers an excuse to rely on the useless annual performance review cycle rather than giving regular and useful feedback throughout the year.

Maybe part of the problem is the generation gap. The older generation doesn’t believe in giving pats on the back for people who are just doing their job while the younger generation frets in the absence of positive reinforcement. Either way, all too often performance reviews are too abstract and irregular to be useful and so they are viewed as a chore by both the reviewer and the reviewee.

If you share my disdain for performance reviews and find yourself in a position where you can actually do something about it, then I’d recommend checking out howamigoing.com — if there’s any part of corporate life that could do with a new solution then it’s performance reviews so it’s good to see smart and ambitious people are actively working on it!

Let me know what you think.