One of the things that employees hate more than a bad boss is a bad performance review from their bad boss. This yearly ritual takes a lot of manpower and precious work hours to complete. And, the results may not even be that rewarding for both the employee and the company.
It's a good thing companies like Adobe and Deloitte have successfully gotten rid of performance reviews. But, many firms still continue with this practice. The intense focus on reaching targets to the exclusion of other goals can mess up the minds of employees. This creates a work environment that feels like a powder keg waiting to explode.
To prevent shit from hitting the fan (so to speak!), managers are advised to look elsewhere for proof of an employee's worthiness. They're better off checking how much progress each employee has gained in their current position. And, use that as basis for either raising their salary or promoting them.
Measurable progress signifies growth. And, growth for an employee isn't only about getting a raise or being promoted. It's so much more. Here are five reasons why looking at a person's growth curve is a better key indicator of success in an employee's performance review.
#1 For many employees, this annual review is nothing more than a character assassination.
Managers may try to justify them for no other reason than it's been what other companies have been doing for ages. But, let's face it. Most performance reviews revolve around mistakes an employee has made. And, superiors seem all too content to point out incidents that "revealed" an employee's incompetence.
Most managers don't know how to deliver their reviews effectively. They have this mistaken notion that telling their employees what they're doing wrong will push them to fix the "problem" and do better at work. To make matters worse, they've been doing this without diluting the tartness of their criticism with positive feedback.
#2 More than 85% of employees surveyed by Gallup reported that end-of-year reviews don't do much to inspire them to improve.
Motivation can't be forced or somehow "stimulated" through intimidation. It springs from a place of inspiration. It's an emotional springboard that moves people to action. For some people, it's the anticipation of a windfall or a promotion. For others, it's the opportunity to do something they love. Getting paid for it is just cherry on top.
Whether it's internal or external, motivation happens as a natural consequence of seeing some progress.
When people play a new game or use a new app, they're more than willing to go through the different stages of learning a new skill. They are highly motivated to move from beginner to expert even though the challenges they had to face in each stage increase in difficulty.
You see the same thing happening during the onboarding process and when employees go through retraining or upskilling. When employees know that they've taken another step towards mastery of their work, they're driven to push themselves harder until they reach their goals.
#3 Employees are happier when they know their managers truly care whether they're advancing at their jobs or not.
Employee happiness is a key factor to improving employee engagement. One way of making your employees happy is to make sure they're given the opportunity to learn and develop their skills. Get them what they need to do their work, make them feel valued, and give them a sense of belonging to the company.
Managers get better results when they focus on employee growth and their happiness. In fact, happy employees thrive in the workplace.
Researchers at the Ross School of Business’s Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship did a study on what makes individual and organizational performance sustainable. Here's what they found out: People who fit their description of thriving demonstrated 16% better overall performance (as reported by their managers) and 125% less burnout (self-reported) than their peers.
#4 A performance appraisal, when done right, contributes to the ongoing development of an employee.
Research has shown that most managers are ineffective at giving meaningful performance reviews to their employees. They often fail to follow up on their employees, and they fixate on the most recent performance rather than what the employee has done for the entire review period. And, these mistakes can destroy employee morale which leads to attrition.
So, let your employees know that you're looking at their job performance as a series of milestones. Critical events are marked and immediately addressed by the management. Both praise and criticism are shared as soon as possible. The team leader or supervisor doesn't have to wait for the end of each quarter or year to dish out both the good and the bad about each employee's job performance.
#5 Employees don't need someone else to manage their performance for them.
It's a joy to see an employee progress from doing basic routine tasks under a supervisor's watchful eye to actually managing the workflow with confidence. But, the process doesn't have to be managed down to the tiniest detail just like what tiger parents do with their kids. Managers who think they must watch over their employees' work and push them to go farther when needed aren't helping anyone but themselves.
As Dan Pontefract, a keynote speaker and Forbes contributor, have said: "Employees don't wish for there to be an annual performance review; they seek frequent, helpful conversations (in an open, mentoring and coaching atmosphere) that aids their development throughout their days and weeks at work."
Performance reviews are just part of a continuous improvement scheme for employees. The manager or supervisor should collaborate with their employees in creating a step-by-step plan to improve their performance. It can be a plan to increase productivity, to better manage one's time, or to upgrade one's skills. What's important is that employees are given some room to develop their potential.