October 23rd, 2008 No Comments

Annual Employee Review Stress

I was having lunch with a friend the other day when he started complaining about the upcoming employee review process at his company.  He was already spending hours filling out the review forms for his direct reports, and this year was going to be more stressful than usual.  Business is down, and expected to remain slow for quite a while, so he’s going to have to lay off several people that actually did a good job this past year.  Needless to say, his own performance is suffering right now and his staff is probably spending too much time, at work and at home, stressing about this situation.

Only an HR person could love the annual performance review ritual.  Everyone else hates it.  Why should good work go unrewarded for up to a year?  And why on earth would anyone put off a reprimand, remedial training suggestions, or regular mentoring until some artificial date in the future?  If there’s a genuine, healthy dialog between boss and worker, as there should be, then issues are addressed as they come up and there’s nothing left to discuss at the "annual review."  If problems are left festering the boss isn’t doing his or her job.  Hard/good work that isn’t rewarded promptly with bonuses or salary adjustments just fosters resentment and causes higher employee turnover.

Anyway, yesterday’s Wall Street Journal has an article written by Dr. Samual Culbert, a consultant, author and professor of management at the UCLA Anderson School of Management in LA.  He says "It destroys morale, kills teamwork and hurts the bottom line. And that’s just for starters. "  The article is entitled "Get rid of the performance review! " and you should read it before subjecting your team to another round of reviews.

One Response to “Annual Employee Review Stress”


February 17th, 2009 - 2:39 pm

Thanks for the link to the WSJ article! I saw your comment on NPR. I’m hoping we can learn from these new perspectives & have a positive effect on our employees – which, in turn, can only help business!

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