The thing about performance reviews is that they're supposed to help employees better themselves — to develop their skills and reach their professional goals. However, one of the top complaints we discovered in our Performance Review Report was that these meetings involve too much of a one-way conversation and no valuable feedback. And such was the case for these folks:
Focusing too much on the negative is harmful to employee morale and hinders any professional development. How are they supposed to be motivated to perform better when a manager keeps knocking them down? Writing Consultant Alyson Chadwick recalls,
"I had one where my boss opened the review with, 'Alyson, this is going to be hard on you.' That was the high point."
Remember, peers are the number one thing people love about their job, according to our Employee Engagement Report. So why wouldn't a company want an employee who takes care of their colleagues? Holly Wolf from Conestoga Bank said,
"The worst job review comments I got was that I was too much like a mother. OK, that doesn't seem too bad, but here's the background: My husband and I have no children. It doesn't matter why we don't, but people assume lots of things.
"So when he made that comment, he said, 'I can understand why you mother people because it's probably filling your need to be a mother that you never had . . . I've seen it in [colleague]. She did the same thing and I told her, I think you are doing this to compensate for not having a biological child.'
"He confused helpfulness and compassion for being motherly. Both the other person and I feel that working collaboratively gets better results than screaming and hollering. It's a different management style. But he felt his style was better and our style was because we didn't have children."
Many performance reviews are tied to compensation and promotions. And to make those processes effective, you need to have data-driven metrics to measure. However, Karen Gordon from Go Where Meetings Matter experienced what happens when reviews get a dose of subjectiveness:
"In my past corporate life, I was once told two different things that blew me away when we reviewed my readiness for promotion to an executive level. 'Everyone you've ever worked for thinks you're amazing, but those you haven't worked for don't think as highly of you. So you're not ready for promotion.'"
At TINYpulse, we're true believers in hiring for culture fit. But this is a good example from Pamela Pimpleton of Luxe Beauty of why you should never wait 12 months to provide feedback:
"Have you considered freelancing? I think that world would fit you."
One of the best ways to develop professional skills is to perform duties that go beyond your job description. Well, turns out that not everyone appreciates that, as Jim Wells from Wellspring Consulting found out the hard way:
"After I finished my required self-review — detailing how I had not only met or exceeded all my assigned objectives but successfully accomplished a number of other important objectives — my boss looked me right in the eye and told me that was precisely why he had given me a low evaluation. Those other accomplishments lay outside my assigned duties, and I should have declined to undertake them. When I protested that many of those additional tasks had been requested by my boss, he told me I should have told him NO."