There are some things in life that are so common place that we seldom seem to pause to think whether these institutions are really working. For me, the traditional performance review fits into this category. This monolith has survived largely intact for 30-40 years. It’s time to change these outdated ceremonies that managers and employees alike dread.
Lets begin by exploring what it is that performance reviews are designed to achieve. You can probably break them down into the following:
- Reward – performance reviews are designed to reward good performance
- Stimulate – they should also stimulate under achievers to get better
- Inform – they should play a central role in telling employees how they’re doing
Through these things, they’re designed to create a wonderful culture of continuous improvement that leads to growth in profitability. At least, that’s kind of what they’re supposed to do. Most of the time however they do the opposite.
Too often performance reviews leave employees bewildered and bemused, discouraged by the lack of accurate and timely feedback and cynical at the role office politics play in the seemingly subjective way rewards are handed out.
What’s more, these annual events often fail to look at the bigger picture. They fail to provide any kind of perspective on the work we’re doing and how it fits into both the wider competitive environment, and changes in the organisation itself.
Thankfully technology such as that supplied by Work.com enable things to change for the better. They allow us to deploy the kind of crowdsourced opinion forming that we’ve all grown so used to on sites like Amazon and Trip Advisor.
They also tap into the incurable surge in social media usage that makes most of us very comfortable sharing ideas and thoughts on a daily basis. Not only are we increasingly comfortable doing this, but we are increasingly demanding such prompt and responsive channels in the workplace.
These trends are coming together to make reputation building an ongoing and social endeavour. Research has shown how powerful online reviews and ratings are when we come to buy things, and the workplace is no different. Reputation is everything, and employees are demanding a performance appraisal fit for 2013.