It turns out that a lot of us cry after performance reviews – 18% of women and ¼ of men. Work is not a funeral, but perhaps the death of performance reviews as we have known them is not a bad thing. The design of current reviews results in favoritism, inconsistency, and feedback that is not objective. Managers dread them, and employees fear them. However, we all want to know if we are meeting expectations. Is there an alternative?
Almost a decade ago I put together a slide deck about how to lead change and wrote the following: “Encourage employees to determine their own performance goals, or management can provide the goals and employees create the steps required to accomplish them. Determine together what you are trying to measure THEN select a measurement instrument. Determine the most important outputs and THEN select a measurement instrument. Remember that performance measurement is not a punitive thing. It is the job of leaders and managers to understand that employees shy away from honest feedback because they want to be viewed as “good” and they attribute not meeting a metric as “bad.”
Perhaps some organizations implemented this approach ten years ago. For those who did not, it’s not too late to start.
It’s time for managers to meet with employees, and to make performance a partnership.