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The Scourge of Performance Reviews

While the purpose of employee assessments is well founded, in practice they invite mismanagement and should be replaced with different performance-enhancement tools.

August 16, 2012

I don't like performance reviews, and I'm not alone. Not that they can't be done well. It's just that, owing to human nature, they rarely are.

Let me count the ways they fall short: (1) Many people, including otherwise good managers, shy away from difficult discussions. (2) The typical numerical grading scheme is so subjective that getting a new manager only to receive a higher or lower grade than before is commonplace. (3) Some managers use reviews as a tool to bully, intimidate, get even with, or stifle the development of their reports. (4) Reviews create much stress in the organization, as managers don't like giving them any more than employees like getting them. (5) These days, employees are often required to assess not only themselves but also their managers, though it's anyone's guess how honest one can be without suffering ill repercussions. Read more...

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