Our Summary: Performance Reviews, as long-cycle (date-driven) top-down insincere processes, are an abomination that should be replaced by short-cycle (regular) conversation where boss and manager are codependent.
Our take: While Culbert doesn’t offer solutions per se, the very fact that WSJ posts something so black and white supports our approach. At this point, “Performance Reviews” really is taken to mean “long-cycle reviews” and here we completely agree. However, short-cycle reviews are still reviews, so we believe that the solution being proposed (albeit vague) is also a performance review… just a short-cycle review that is integrated into management.
Yes, Everyone Really Does Hate Performance Reviews
It’s time to finally put the performance review out of its misery.
This corporate sham is one of the most insidious, most damaging, and yet most ubiquitous of corporate activities. Everybody does it, and almost everyone who’s evaluated hates it. It’s a pretentious, bogus practice that produces absolutely nothing that any thinking executive should call a corporate plus.
And yet few people do anything to kill it. Well, it’s time they did.
Don’t get me wrong: Reviewing performance is good; it should happen every day. But employees need evaluations they can believe, not the fraudulent ones they receive. They need evaluations that are dictated by need, not a date on the calendar. They need evaluations that make them strive to improve, not pretend they are perfect.
Sadly, most managers are oblivious to the havoc they wreak with performance reviews. To some extent, they don’t know any better: This is how performance reviews have been done, and this is how they will be done. Period.
Here’s a simple experiment you can try. Ask yourself: How often have you heard a manager say, “Here is what I believe,” followed by, “Now tell me, what do you think?” and actually mean it? Rarely, I bet.
The performance review is the primary tool for reinforcing this sorry state. Performance reviews instill feelings of being dominated. They send employees the message that the boss’s opinion of their performance is the key determinant of pay, assignment, and career progress. And while that opinion pretends to be objective, it is no such thing. Think about it: If performance reviews are so objective, why is it that so many people get totally different ratings simply by switching bosses?