Performance reviews suck. And not only do they suck, they are useless. Ouch. There, I said it. Now we can move on. Well, I suppose I need to expand upon my topic sentence. That’s what ELA 101 (English Language Arts) course would state. Ok, I will so indulge.
I hate performance reviews. I hate giving them. I hate getting them. Let’s face it. These reviews are based on antiquated Humsn Resources principles and funding requirements. I can’t think of the last time I received a useful accurate performace review. Now, the word “accurate”, as I threw it in there is interesting. As a psychologist, too much of this is perception and subjective. Sure, some parts are very much measurement-based. How often you arrived late. Productivity standards. And, 360 feedback consensus. Although, the latter can be mob-thinking mentality. I’m not even going to get into that. But it is amazing how office gossip can insidiously creep into a performance review. Although, I will note I heard a statement this past year touching upon that, which was so funny to me it stuck like an earworm. Someone seriously said that the idea that raises would be based on performance was outrageous. That’s interesting. Was the person basically saying we should continue with participation trophies. According to the news media, we are in a period of quiet quitting. Thus, even participation trophies seem beyond ridiculous at this point.
However, let me get to the real crux of this all. Performance reviews are usually given on an annual basis. It’s like chastisizing the dog for peeing on the couch or eating your shoes a month later. The association is just not there. Feedback is best when it is timely. Try checking in on a weekly basis. Do a rolling performance appraisal. Also, you need to level set expectations. We have a weird relationship with likert scales that run from 1 to 5. People always want the 5. However, I tell all my direct staff if you get a “3” you’re ok because a “3” generally means you are meeting expectations. It is amazing the number of times I have seen supervisors give all their direct reports a “5”. There is no way possible you have a team that in which everyone goes beyond 100%. What you have in that situation are managers who are afraid to give real feedback. If you have frightened managers and staff who misunderstand the rating scale, performance appraisals mean nothing.