The trouble is, it doesn't work. In fact, it not only doesn't work, it's demonstrably counterproductive. Like so many HR inventions, the performance review actually adds negative value.
- A 1998 study by Development Dimensions Incorporated, found that employers themselves expressed overwhelming dissatisfaction with performance reviews.
- The consulting firm People IQ, in a 2005 national survey, found that 87% of employees and managers felt performance reviews were neither useful nor effective.
- In an article published in The Psychological Bulletin, psychologists A. Kluger and A. Denisi did a meta-analysis of 607 studies of performance evaluations and concluded that at least 30% of performance reviews produced decreased employee performance.
- Tom Coens and Mary Jenkins, in Abolishing Performance Appraisals: Why They Backfire and What To Do Instead, list studies that clearly show performance appraisals do not work and go on to outline what could replace them.
- Aubrey C. Daniels, author of Oops! 13 Management Practices That Waste Time and Money, argues that performance appraisals are counter-productive, citing a study by the Society for Human Resource Management that found 90% of performance appraisals are painful and don’t work; and they produce an extremely low percentage of top performers.
- Garold L. Markle, in his book, Catalytic Coaching: The End of The Performance Review, argues that performance reviews have reached the end of their utility and should be replaced with a manager-employee coaching system.
Stanford University Professor Bob Sutton notes that doing performance evaluations well is like doing “blood-letting well—it is a bad practice that does more harm than good in all or nearly all cases.” Sutton argues, in his book (with co-author Jeffrey Pfeffer, a psychologist) Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense, “performance rankings can lead to destructive internal competition, which can make it tough to build a culture of knowledge sharing. In addition, there seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy at work, in which a person who receives a poor evaluation does even worse in the subsequent rating period.”
What to do? Quite simply, stop. Whether you're a manager or a line employee, just refuse to participate in performance reviews.
When I was a manager at Novell (circa 2007), HR decided, as part of its ongoing
I might add, parenthetically, that during the entire seven-year period I worked for Novell, the company never made a profit. (This was after Eric Schmidt's era. It didn't prosper under him, either, though. At Google he's a genius; at Novell we was just another inept CEO.)
Bottom line: Just boycott the review process. It's meaningless. It adds negative value. Like HR itself, it needs to die.
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