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February 07, 2017


Jonathan Merrill

I fall into the belief performance reviews are awful. At least, in the 30 years of working professionally at large organizations, performance reviews are executed poorly. HR performance teams are mostly ill-equipped or uninformed, thus try a one-size fits all approach which fails across the board.

How to fix? Use of KRA (Key Results Area) and quarterly reviews. Tie bonus to four consecutive review periods.

Want to encourage managers to talk? Add to manager's KRA and link their quarterly reviews to team performance. I've been doing this for 10+ years across two separate industries with success.

Food for thought.

Matt Landrum

I think "best of both worlds" is to decouple the performance evaluation discussion from the compensation discussion. It doesn't mean that you can use material from the performance evaluation discussion in determining compensation, but you need to separate these two discussions. I see these types of meetings

1. Status meeting. Review/Discussion/Scoring of quarterly objectives.

2. Coaching/performance evaluation where the manager discusses what the employee does well, what they can do better, career goals, ... No money talk here.

3. Delivery/discussion of bonus/raise. This can include discussion of previous performance evals, but you better separate this... maybe by a month.

In my experience, HR needs to be tightly involved, at least in making sure #2 happens at a regular basis. They should be reviewing evals of the top and bottom performers and helping managers as time permits.

Managers not meeting with their employees regularly should be visible at the highest level of the company and all in the management chain should get a ration of ... stuff if this is not happening. Surely employees deserve performance feedback once / quarter, don't they?

Self-evals should be required.

Of course all this is just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Elissa Tucker

Thanks for the great post Kris. I have learned a lot about performance reviews from you over the years. For most organizations, I think the performance review process needs to evolve with the times--rather than be completely eliminated. Here is a list of questions that I created to help organizations think through which side of the great performance review debate they should take:

Ensuring managers are communicating regularly and effectively with employees will still be critical--regardless of whether an organization decides to keep, evolve, or get rid of performance reviews. APQC's recent research into People Challenges at Work found that the top two challenges people have with their managers are:
1) Does not share enough information
2) Does not provide enough direction


his can include discussion of previous performance evals, but you better separate this... maybe by a month.


Another great reminder that humans are programmable robots and just do what they're incentivized to do. I'm generalizing, of course... but that doesn't make it not true. =)

Just wanted to drop a line to say we're including this article in our newsletter this week!

Thanks for writing this.

Tom O'Dea

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