Why are people complaining about employee performance evaluations?

by on June 5, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

If your about employee performance evaluations do more harm than good, just stop doing it.

It doesn’t really seem to motivate anybody. HR will get it and they say, “Hey, there’s a tendency to understate problems. You should have been telling people they have a problem long time ago. ”

What would the defining characteristics of an effective employee performance evaluations system be as determined by its customers — employees, managers, HR people, executives, the owners. How would you know you have a good one?

Behavior change.
Does your performance management system make anybody do anything different? I mean, are they doing the exact same thing they were doing before? Or, are they doing something different?

And if they’re doing different is it better, is it good? If they’re doing something better and it’s good, you did something good. You created value with your performance management system, whatever it’s called or however it’s done.

Imagine how silly it is to have a performance management system that has no impact on performance. And yet that’s what most of us have. We do our performance management system, a week later we ask somebody, “Well, what are you doing different now you’ve had your evaluation?” They look at you like, “What? What do you want from me? I mean I sat there and listened to it all. What do you want?”

Does it motivate people to work harder?
You want to say, “Hey, how do we…” That’s not it. You want to motivate people to work smarter. Oh come on now.

There’s the thing called discretionary effort. That’s talked about a lot in the HR literature these days. In other words, people have figured out how to do it enough not could get fired. But wouldn’t it be nice if we got more than that.

Does your performance management system make people want to give you more?

Impact on turnover.
Who’s most likely to come in and resign by the way, your best employee or your worst employee?

Nobody wants your worst employee. In fact, they don’t have the energy level it takes to go get a job
In other words, the people you’re going to loss are your winners. They’re your good people. They’re your franchise player. They are the ones with energy to go out and look. They’re the ones everybody is coming after anyway.

Does it get your best people to stay?

It’s not about the money. It’s about becoming. Steven Covey says, “It’s more important what you are becoming than what you’re getting.”
In other words, if you want to keep your really good people, you talk to them about the future, where they’re going and you help them enhance their career. If they have a sense of future and career, well they’re much more resilient. They’re harder to steal.

If you’re talking with them and spending your limited amount of time every year to sit down and focus on them on the past, it’s much less of a bonding agent if you will.

How do you know if you have a good system?
You get promotions out of it., if you’ve got a system that’s future oriented and it’s really kind of stressing that career thing we talked about before, not only will you decrease turnover, you’ll also increase promotions because that future orientation allows people to prepare themselves for the future such that you will look internally more often than externally for some of your jobs, not all of them but at least some of them.

Impact on legal exposure.
If you have employees, you have legal exposure. You can’t get out of it. There’s no way around legal exposure if you have employees.

But the way to minimize legal exposure I think has very little to do with the piece of paper you stick on the file about each person. The way you minimize legal exposure is to curve righteous indignation.

I think that people who sue you are angry. They’re hurt. They are surprised. You didn’t tell. Okay, because they are hurt, they are angry, they are surprised, they are going to make you hurt.

It is not the technical merit of the case that drives a lawsuit. It is that anger, that resentment. And that resentment comes from not telling them the truth.

And here is the thing about most performance evaluations. Most managers will kill an employee when they have to but they do not like to wound them. Okay. And so, until the day they want them to leave, they basically are optimistic. They sugar coat everything. And then the day they want them to leave, they start saying everything you’ve ever done is bad. And that just fuels that resentment and it puts us in a position where we have to fight off our own people.

So, there you go. These are the five things that I would use to evaluate any evaluation systems. So, please you ought to be taking these notes. This is it. If you’re getting these things out of your systems, something you’re doing is right. If you’re not getting these things out of your system, then you have a lot of change lying on the table.


Edited remarks from the Rapid Learning Institute webinar “No More Performance Reviews! – A Revolutionary Approach to Performance Feedback” by Gary Markle

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