Organizational Rigidness

L ast week we discussed our top 6 picks for performance review mishaps that leaders fall into when giving performance reviews. While leaders are responsible for making the review experience productive, I have seen and personally experienced frustrations with companies who have institutionalized the review process. When this happens the process becomes political and handcuffs the development and honest feedback experience.

If your company suffers from any of the below issues then you may be in need of a performance review makeover.

Long, boring and confusing PR Forms

A ten page form is too long. This usually happens in an environment where clarity in expectations is weak or continuous feedback is not practiced. HR tries to bandaid these situations by forcing supervisors to fill out a comprehensive form so employees feel served. This makes for a long and painful process that supervisors dread and put off.

Ranking system clarity

As much as we try, it is challenging trying to disconnect performance review scores from our former school report cards. The below chart illustrates that mishap.

Inconsistent reviews

What I value from my team may be totally different from what you value. Therefore, our scores may differ for the exact same employee. Each leader needs to be able to clearly illustrate two scores – anything higher than what’s expected and anything lower than what’s expected. If you cannot give clear and consistent examples of above or below expectation rankings then the ranking shouldn’t be given. Remember that meeting your expectations isn’t awesome… it’s expected.


Merit increases connected to performance reviews

Anytime pay increases are given or denied based on “performance review D-day” then there will be politics involved. That’s too much pressure for leaders to give candid reviews. They will score based on the raise they want the person to have, or not have, instead of focusing on having a wholesome review conversation. Besides, you want the freedom to give raises anytime not just at review date.

Lack of training and understanding

I’m not talking about an all day workshop on performance review rules and policies. Yuck! But I am saying there should be round table discussions with supervisors that conduct reviews. I like to cover the following.

  • Consistency in grading
  • Creating a learning experience
  • Be open and ready to receive leader critiques, listen don’t defend
  • Give illustrations of above and below expectation rankings
  • Don’t play favorites or grade on today’s emotions about that employee. This is an annual review not a “how I feel about you today” review.
  • Remember, if you promote someone their past review should support that action. Likewise, if you terminate someone their past review should support that action.
  • Role play a performance review
  • I like to review all supervisors first so they see how I want it done and so employees see that their boss gets reviewed too just like they do.

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