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Formal performance reviews a waste of time

Formal performance reviews a waste of time

Have you ever met an employee who looked forward to an annual performance review?  It is doubtful you have met a supervisor who liked giving them.  Some performance evaluations may have felt like FBI interrogations. Why do we subject ourselves to such madness in corporate America?  Answer: Because that’s just what people do who work in cubicles and attend meetings all day.

Would a football coach wait until the end of the season to tell his players all the mistakes they made?  That’s what supervisors are doing when they review employee performance only once each year.

Madness. Absolute madness.

The purpose of a performance review is to encourage two-way communication between a leader and an employee — to improve their performance, not de-motivate.  Over time our employment lawyers have become so involved in the process that now we have standardized forms with the appropriate legal language to prevent the slightest risk of a lawsuit.

But in the end, all we need is for leaders to communicate daily, weekly and/or monthly on how things are going with their employees.  The leader should be a coach who coaches every day; not a scribe who writes down stuff all year long and unloads on the unsuspecting employee in December.  The current methods are not motivating and certainly do not improve company performance.

Why not forget formalized, standardized, annualized performance reviews altogether.  Just talk with your employees and coach them along the way.  Your company will perform much better.

Kevin Kennemer is founder of The People Group based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kevin is driven by his passion for company owners and their need to earn a profit, employees' desire for a positive and fulfilling work experience, and the community that benefits when both groups do well.


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