I’m not in HR but I have always been intrigued by performance reviews, about their communication aspects — how they’re written (often, poorly), what they aim to evaluate, how even in attempts to make them more objective they remain largely subjective and therefore revert to impressions, recollections and biases, and what they say about the organization and its communication processes.
And there is so little value in an evaluation that tries to cover a whole year. “Oh, here are some things you could have done differently on that project 10 months ago….” Not timely, not helpful. Ineffective and unsatisfactory for everyone involved. A much better system would provide employees with timely feedback on an ongoing basis throughout the year, following each particular assignment. This won’t save time and effort, but will provide a much better value on that investment.
Here’s an article reporting on Accenture and other major companies that have dropped annual employee reviews. These businesses feel they have to change from trying to measure things after the fact to instead regularly support and position employees to perform better in the future.
I like this closing quote from Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme. “The art of leadership is not to spend your time measuring, evaluating,” Nanterme said. “It’s all about selecting the person. And if you believe you selected the right person, then you give that person the freedom, the authority, the delegation to innovate and to lead with some very simple measure.”