What is the point of a performance review?

Image for post
Image for post

Look at this and try to tell me:

Image for post
Image for post

I’ve written about performance reviews more times than I could possibly count, starting (I think?) with the idea of blowing them up entirely back in July 2014.

Makes sense, right? They are largely a train wreck and no one seems to enjoy going through them, on either the manager side or the employee side.

I even argued once that we should wholly eliminate performance reviews.

Some companies actually went and did that — not because of my advice, sadly — and replaced them with absolutely nothing, which I am not sure solves the problem.

What’s sad is … there is some evidence that when you kill performance reviews, you can actually develop employees faster.

(That makes sense because I’d argue there is less stress involved.)

None of this so far has brought up gender in the context of performance reviews, which is an additional train wreck, as women are more likely than not to be described as “abrasive” during their reviews, even if they’re hitting the same targets as a guy.

In reality, we should probably be focused on this idea of “career conversations,” but that seems too challenging for most organizations to manage on spreadsheets or in project management software — plus it would require bosses to actually know WTF their employees do, which is not always common — so we don’t do it.

Oh, and as a final note, what about the idea of 90-day reviews to give a quick check-in on early performance? That seems like a decent idea. What’s funny about a lack of 90-day reviews is that companies, generally-speaking, have a pretty big 90-day retention problem. So wouldn’t checking in with people make sense?

And finally/again, if you know you want to drop an employee but don’t mention it during the review, what is the purpose of the review?

Written by

Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/hire-freelance-writer-ted-bauer/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store