Why Performance Reviews Fail:
15 Reasons


Dr. Geeta Gupta
MBA-UGC-NET & Ph.D in Management (HRD)
Center Head
ICFAI National College

Why Performance Reviews Fail: 15 Reasons 

1. The reviewer and employee have a personal friendship outside of work and both individuals can't differentiate their manager-employee role from their friend-friend relationship.

2. The reviewer and the employee see themselves as part of a team. Team members are supposed to encourage one another, be supportive in good and bad times. But when the manager has to provide negative feedback or discipline the employee, these actions are viewed as divisive.

3. When not provided regularly, annual (or even less periodic) reviews can be based on most recent performance, not performance over the course of the year. The results go both ways. Employees who put on their best behavior around review time get favorable ratings and the employee who has a bad couple of weeks gets punished.

4. Performance reviews are only scheduled when an employee is not performing up to expectations or a company needs to terminate/lay-off the employee.

5. Annual reviews are really justification for salary freezes or smaller than expected salary increases. The manager might downgrade an employee's performance feeling that with a high rating comes a demand for more money. Likewise, with a high rating, the employee might feel justified in requesting more salary or benefits.

6. Inconsistency in reviews and multiple standards. One manager might rate an employee a "7" because he/she doesn't believe anyone deserves a "10" while another manager rates an employee higher than he/she deserves hoping this might boost the employee's confidence and subsequently his/her performance. (If performance ratings are directly tied to salary, this many times creates tension, conflict and low morale.)

7. A manager doesn't distinguish between personality and competence or effort verses results. The manager rewards the employee who is easier to manage even if he/she misses performance expectations and/or can't do the job.

8. A manager doesn't provide the rating an under-performer deserves because if the employee quits, this will make more work for the manager (that is, more interviewing and training and who knows if the next employee might even be worse!).

9. The criterion for performance is not prioritized. Attendance and positive attitude gets the same weight as the quality and quantity of work and safety. So the employee who shows up everyday on time with a smile on his/her face gets an equal or higher rating than the individual who is occasionally late and is more introverted but exceeds all productivity goals.

10. Supervisors and managers have never been trained to evaluate an employee's performance.

11. Supervisors and managers never wanted to be in the job of supervising and managing other employees and it shows. It was just that it was the only way for them to stay with the company or get more money.

12. Performance reviews are required to be completed annually but this policy is not enforced. Some employees are reviewed and others are not. The employees who are reviewed might feel singled out and the non-reviewed employees feel ignored.

13. Performance reviews are the safety valve for a poor selection process.

14. The manager and employee differ on how goals are set.  one manager/employee feels that stretch goals are set to motivate employees to work harder while another manager/employee sees goals as just unrealistic expectations that you try hard to achieve but no one really believes you will reach them.

15. Performance reviews are all about protecting the company from litigation and complying with employment laws and not about evaluating performance for improvements in individual productivity and growing the company's collective talent pool.

Dr. Geeta Gupta
MBA-UGC-NET & Ph.D in Management (HRD)
Center Head
ICFAI National College

Source: E-mail May 29, 2006


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