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Performance reviews get a bad grade

By: Staff Journalist, Singapore
Published: Nov 18, 2010

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

US - Performance reviews may be detrimental to workplace productivity, according to 58% of HR executives who graded their own performance management systems a C or below.

According to a survey of 750 HR professionals conducted by consulting firm Sibson Consulting and World atWork, a professional association, only 30% felt employees trusted the performance management system. Close to one third disagreed while 38% gave neutral responses.

In fact, only 47% thought their performance management system helped their company achieve strategic objectives with 15% disagreeing.

David Insler, a senior vice president for Sibson, said part of the problem may be that HR professionals do not have total control of the review process. Insler added that although HR sets the standards and follow up at the end of the process, they cannot control how effective the line manager is in executing the review.

HR also believes that many managers lack the courage to give appropriate feedback to employees so there is still inconsistency in the performance ratings. As a result, performance reviews have now become a yearly obligation by managers to satisfy HR.

Samuel Culbert, management professor at University of California and author of Get Rid of the Performance Review! book, suggested removing the performance management process entirely. "It causes fear and intimidation and prevents people from engaging one another authentically."

Insler said managers should be trained to deliver better feedback and employees should be given a clearer picture of what constitutes good and bad performance.

Culbert added that the training should help managers identify ways for employees to improve without making them afraid of acknowledging weaknesses.

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