Why we hate the performance review.

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    Most employees in companies today are all too familiar with the concept of the performance review. Just the mention of this often dreaded occurrence of discussion with one’s supervisor where they get to critique every move you’ve made during the year while you sit ideally by is sure to send negative feelings throughout the minds of employees everywhere. The performance review generally has a similar effect on managers and supervisors as well. So why is this performance review so dreaded and loathed by many?

    A few of the reasons are listed below.

    Employees: Managers:
    They have no control over the situation. Managers get to provide ratings and comments on multiple areas of performance that are most often subjective in nature. If an employee disagrees, they might get a small “employee comments” area to provide their rebuttal all the while knowing that if they push too much the person controlling their future still has control. Managers often dread the discussion of the employee performance review assuming the discussion will turn into a battle with the manager left to convince the employee that their ratings are accurate. Managers usually assume employees think they perform better than they actually do.
    Review sheets are completed before the actual discussion occurs. Therefore bringing up comments has little effect on the actual rating which is most often tied to their annual increase which is usually only a few cents different from the person with the next highest or lowest rating. Managers are busy with tasks and goals of their own. Taking the time to thoroughly review a whole year’s worth of performance is time-consuming. They often rush through the forms because the HR department has a deadline they are struggling to meet.
    Employees are often forced to write a self-evaluation prior to the meeting as well. Unfortunately, these usually only serve as annoyance to employees because the majority of the time it is ignored by the supervisor anyway. The forms are too complicated, long, short, or don’t cover what is really important to success in this department.

    So, what’s the answer to overcoming the negativity around the performance appraisal? Here are a few tips to get you started:

    1. Set clear expectations. Provide them on the first day of employment.
    2. Provide feedback all year. Create a culture where performance discussions are a regular part of the work day and review meetings are held at frequent intervals such as monthly.
    3. Ask first, tell later. Begin a performance discussion by asking the employee to rate their performance. Have them provide examples of where they have met and exceeded the expectations.
    4. Do not complete the form until you have the discussions. Do monitor performance all year and have examples ready to discuss.
    5. Guarantee no surprises at the annual meeting. If you are waiting for an annual meeting to discuss performance, you lose your chance to be effective.

    How does your company handle the performance review? Why do you hate it?

    Your thoughts and questions are always welcomed and encouraged!

    For more resources, See the Human Resources library.

    Sheri Mazurek is a training and human resource professional with over 16 years of management experience, and is skilled in all areas of employee management and human resource functions, with a specialty in learning and development. She is currently employed as the Human Resource Manager at EmployeeScreenIQ, a global leader in pre-employment background screening. Follow her on Twitter @sherimaz!