Performance Evaluations Don't Work

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

The process of performance evaluations is broken and can’t be fixed

People hate performance evaluations.
It doesn’t matter what you call them, most employees on the receiving end of them find the process demeaning and most managers find performance evaluations to be a profound waste of time.

The process is broken and it can’t be fixed. It’s rotten at the core of the paradigm. Seventy percent of all companies either just changed their system of performance evaluations or have plans in place to change them. Think for a second; why would all those 70% of all companies be exchanging their systems?

The logical answer is because performance evaluations don’t work. And yet two years later the same companies are back in queue, ready to change again. Because when they’re changing them, they’re just making things different. They’re not really making them better. And until you can understand the difference between different and better, in all likelihood, you just remain a charter member of that 70% club.

Now, if you’ve done much reading in the management literature or if you happen to be a sensei with the manufacturing site at any point in your career, you’ve probably heard of Dr. W. Edwards Deming.

Deming was a Washington DC based government employee. He worked for the US Postal Service. And he came up with theories of organizing which he called 14 points of organizational transformation. And he said, “If you follow these 14 points, the world will beat a path to your door. You will lead the world in quality.”

One of his 14 points happens to be “don’t do performance evaluations”. He said they rob workers of their essential pride of workmanship. Too much of what you attribute to the individual of your worker is really a function of the process that management created, the worker must work with it. Don’t do it. Bad idea. End of discussion.

“If your system does more harm than good, just stop doing it. That alone would be an improvement.”

But companies weren’t thrilled with point number 12, the part about no more performance evaluations. So it became the 13 points of organizational transformation. For example, all work is done by process. All processes could be improved. And if you want to know how to improve a process, there’s one ultimate judge. The ultimate judge of the quality of a process is the customer. Think of it this way. In quality terms, there are inputs, there are throughputs and there are outputs. Outputs go to customers, even if the customer is an internal employee.

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

Leave a Reply


Request a Free Demo

We'd love to show you how this industry-leading training system can help you develop your team. Please fill out this quick form or give us a call at 877-792-2172 to schedule your one-on-one demo with a Rapid Learning Specialist.