• Harrison K.

Problems with traditional performance management (2/3)

Updated: Aug 18, 2019

This is the second part of a three-part blog series. Check out the other two if you haven't yet!


Let's face it. Feedback is subjective, because ... well, people are biased. This is one of the biggest things that employees complain about. Biases can come in many forms. Biases can be based on things like race, gender, sex, and age. They can also be based on things like differences in skill levels. For example, a professional public speaker may think that you are bad at public speaking, even though you're quite good.

Traditional performance management systems have no way of really identifying or calibrating for these biases effectively. It especially doesn't help when your performance review is based on one manager's view of your performance. Way too subjective!

When employees think that feedback is inaccurate or that the performance management processes are unfair, they do not listen to the feedback they receive.

"Almost 9 in 10 HR leaders say the process doesn’t yield accurate information” - CEB Research

Pro tip? Write down the specific actions that you observed. Use those actions as the basis for your feedback. Before you give feedback, take a step back and think "would I think and react the same way if he/she were someone else? Somewhere else? At a different time?"


Many companies are still stuck doing annual performance reviews. I personally think this is the worst offender of them all. Where do I even start?

We live in a world in which employees are changing functions, teams, and roles very frequently. Annual performance reviews just do not work well in this environment. It is hard to track down employees' former teams to collect feedback, compare and calibrate with all the other teams' feedback, and create any meaningful and relevant performance reviews for employees, who may now be in totally different roles.

Continuous feedback and recognition are required if you want your employees to develop skills and be engaged throughout the year. By not sharing continuous feedback and recognition, you are doing your employees and yourself a big disservice. If they are doing a good job, you should let them know and celebrate! If they are not doing a good job, you should let them know and course correct as soon as possible!

Lastly, does it make any sense that you rely on someone else's memory of your performance over the last 12 months to determine your career progression and incentives? How does that make any sense? We can all do better than that.

Pro tip? Encourage your teams to share at least one feedback with a colleague per week. Store this information. If done correctly, you should see a dramatic improvement in productivity and morale.

In the next post, I will discuss why and how traditional performance management systems cost millions of dollars every year.

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