Performance reviews. Two words which don’t leave a pleasant taste in many an employee’s mouth. And most managers share the same opinion. Yet employee performance reviews form an integral part of HR processes in companies the world over.
Why are employee performance reviews so polarizing? Companies seem to think they are necessary but employees and managers don’t seem fond of them. They are polarizing simply because of the way they are carried out.
A lot of the articles I’ve read about employee performance reviews say one thing, that they should be abolished. And many of those articles make a good case for why performance reviews need to be abolished. But I think instead of abolishing them straight off the bat, we need to take a good hard look at where exactly we are going wrong with performance reviews. Let me list out a few of the more glaring issues with performance reviews that experts have noted over the years.
- Employee opinions are glossed over or not even considered
- They do not assess performance accurately
- There tends to be a lot of rater bias
- Performance reviews occur too infrequently to be of any use
With issues like these, no wonder performance reviews often go pear-shaped. However, the most important thing about these issues is this – they can be fixed.
Here is how employee performance reviews can be made better.
Consider employee opinions – Most employees have a fair idea of how good or bad they are doing. They don’t have grossly inflated opinions of themselves either. To not consider their opinions is actually a disservice to them. The whole point of performance reviews is so that there can be a dialogue between the employee and the manager about the employee’s performance. It’s not a one man show.
Have them more frequently – In order for performance reviews to work they need to happen more frequently. Or at least, there need to be more consistent feedback cycles where managers keep note of what their employees do. That way, when the performance review comes around once a year, managers still have a clear picture of what their employees did over the course of the year.
Customize and monitor the process – Rater bias is a very big problem with performance reviews. Managers and employees are only human after all. It is impossible for bias to not exist. However, bias can be limited by customizing performance reviews according to the jobs that employees perform. Also, the more people are involved in the process, the easier it becomes to limit bias.