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Is the Performance Review Dead?

Professor Samuel Culbert, author of ‘Get Rid of the Performance Review!’
suggests that performance reviews are futile and need to be scrapped
once and for all. However, we have a slightly different view.
Performance reviews (PR) were originally intended to be constructive and
multidirectional; however, when performed once a year under the current
conditions, they are not effective. As a consequence of this there are
now more negatives rather than positives attached to the PR process:

  • There is too much pressure on the manager and individual to the point where it becomes an artificial and inflated exercise

  • Performance Reviews based on ‘generic’ competencies/capabilities are ineffective and meaningless to employees

  • They have ‘the opposite to the desired effect’ when an organisation
    doesn’t care about its employees or management principles and doesn’t
    respect its staff

  • Performance reviews are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to poor
    performance management and many cases this is the antecedent to conflict
    issues. Without the necessary skills to effectively manage employees, conflict will lead to grievances, disciplinaries, and in some cases employment tribunals, all resulting in £££.

So how can an organisations remodel the Performance Review to
ensure it is a healthy and effective aspect of the performance
management process?

  • PRs should be used as part of a quarterly performance framework
    assessing and developing S.M.A.R.T objectives. 360° feedback initiatives
    may also help revitalise the process.

  • It is important to remember that there needs to be some
    structure/effective measure of individual performance to determine the
    impact on the bottom line

  • While it is helpful for pay to be linked to performance the
    organisation should consider a range of behaviours relating to the job,
    such as customer relations (both internal and external) and discretional
    effort

  • Organisations firstly need to train their managers how to manage
    people and performance and then work on the tools to help them achieve
    this e.g. performance reviews

  • If an organisation embraces the value of Human Capital then they will
    ensure that 40% of a manager’s time should be spent on people
    management, rather than considering this as a minor responsibility 
    tacked on to their usual job

  • It’s about easy systems, quality relationships, treating people like
    adults, concentrating the dialogue on strengths and building on them,
    keeping the links to the business clear and making the process
    meaningful instead of a bureaucratic, nightmarish chore for all involved

Getting rid of, or re-naming Performance Reviews might be one
answer. Re-invigorating, clarifying and adjusting the focus, another!


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