Performance reviews: Scrap them?

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The New Year period often means a plethora of performance reviews, which, depending on how they are administered, can mean a heavy time burden for HR directors and their teams. But having performance-reviewed the performance review, some more innovative organisations have decided to do away with the process altogether.

Software development company Atlassian took this step. According to its HR director, traditional performance reviews cause anxiety for all parties and act as a demotivator. “Instead of discussion about how to enhance people's performance, the reviews caused disruptions and anxiety, and demotivated team members and managers,” Joris Luijke said.

Atlassian abolished official performance reviews two year ago, and replaced them with a brief weekly self-analysis that employees complete online by dragging a dot along an axis in response to questions.

The results of a 2010 survey by Sibson Consulting and WorldatWork indicated that in fact many organisations continue to conduct performance reviews simply out of convention; only approximately 1% of businesses in the US have scrapped them.

Some 60% of US HR managers rated their employer’s performance management protocols as ‘C or below’. A further 600 employee-feedback studies found that two-thirds of appraisals had zero or even negative effects on employee performance after the feedback was given.

While no statistics are available for the Canadian market, most organisations continue to carry out reviews once or twice a year.


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  • Lynne Capes on 2012-01-20 3:31:13 AM

    My suggestion would be to scrap Performance Reviews.. in my 34 years of service these were never looked at and also for the reasons indicated below, the original purpose of these reviews have been lost.

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