Job Performance Evaluations are Part of a Flawed Paradigm

by on June 3, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

People Hate Job Performance Evaluations

The truth is people hate job performance evaluations. Employees find them demeaning and managers think they’re a big waste of time. Job performance evaluations are part of a paradigm that is rotten at the core. And it simply can’t be fixed.

An HR survey that says essentially that 70% of all companies have either just changed their system of job performance evaluations or they have plans in place to change them.

Why would almost 70% of all companies be changing their performance management systems? Well, if you think about this and understand the question, the answer is essentially because they don’t work.

How come after about two years in the new system, companies are back in queue again ready to change again? Because when companies make the changes they’re doing here, they’re really just making things different. They’re not really making them better. And until you can understand the difference between different and better, you’ll keep getting in the back of the line.

Reshaping Job Performance Evaluations
The man who helped shape what job performance evaluations should be is W. Edwards Deming. He would be known by most as the founder of the modern quality movement.

Dr. Deming was a PhD statistician who worked for the US postal service. And he came up with what he called the 14 points of organizational transformation. He said these 14 points will allow you to dominate your space. They will allow you to become a benchmark in quality.

And one of these 14 points, interestingly, point number 12 was “Don’t do job performance evaluations.” They rob workers of their essential pride of workmanship. And too much of what you attribute to the individual worker is really a function of the system or process management created. The worker must work with them.

End of the discussion. That’s it. If you don’t like that, he doesn’t really apologize. As a matter of fact, when you challenge Dr. Deming and say, “Well, Dr. Deming, you know, we’re afraid. You know, we’re a big company. We can’t just do nothing. What do you suggest we do in its place?” His exact response was, “If your system does more harm than good, just quit doing it. That alone will be an improvement.”

But most companies began teaching the 13 points of organizational transformation. They were uninterested in point number 12. The companies’ theory was everybody is entitled to a Mulligan.

So they did the 13 points. All work is done by process. All processes can be improved. And if you want to know about the quality of any process, there’s one ultimate judge. Ultimately, the ultimate judge of a quality of a process is the customer.

So if you ask your customer what they think of your process, you’re going to do pretty good. Of course you might end up with some smart aleck in the room who asks, “Are job performance evaluations a process?” to which the answer is yes. And then he follows with, “Have you ever asked the customers of your process what they think about it?” At which point most people turn to an explanation and say, “Well, you know, I’m doing it because I have to make you do it. And I got somebody standing behind me that tells me I must.”

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