Five Sure Ways To Blow Your Performance Review

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It’s performance review season in many organizations. Yes, the time to stop thinking about 2012 goals and to start reflecting upon 2012 results. It’s the time to complete the process you believe is too long, too complicated and too restrictive to showcase your real talent. It’s time for the feedback you say that you want. All set?

Photo Courtesy of istock

If you are a boss or employee who hates the process anyway, here are five sure ways to ensure that you get nothing out of it.

1.  Don’t Do It

Your boss is busy. You’re busy.  Who has the time? So, when you get the review from your boss, just sign it. When you are asked why you didn’t have a review discussion, just explain that your boss made you skip it. If you are the boss, explain that you didn’t have time. Yep, in both cases, that’s the kind of leadership everyone is looking for.

2.  Don’t Prepare

Just put something down. Your peers, managers and subordinates already know everything you’ve put into this year. Be sure to show your unfamiliarity with the written word, or even Spell-Check.  Do not give a second thought to the decision makers who read your final performance review throughout the year when they look for talent to fill new roles or opportunities. Don’t worry about what they think of the manager who approved a review that looks like a middle school report. Surely, they will understand that it was the damn process.

3. Surprise

By all means, save the best for last. You’ve been hoarding important feedback, client evaluations, extraordinary obstacles, changed standards or revised goals that affect this evaluation. Drop that baby right in there during the performance review discussion. Insist that it be the basis for the evaluation.

4. Blame

Of course, any missed goals were due to the new process, the new standards, the new timeline, the new employee, the new boss or the new team. Don’t forget to throw in old tools and no resources while you are at it. If you are the boss, blame your boss or someone else for the evaluation you give. Just explain that someone is  making you do this.

5. Take all the credit

You are the contemporary Sisyphus; nothing gets done around here without you. Sharing credit diminishes your brilliance. There is nothing left to learn, nothing left to improve upon.  The ball got over the line and that’s all that matters.

Your Bottom Line

You believe that your performance review system is broken anyway; you’re just giving it the attention it deserves.

Don’t worry about your peers who take the time to look beyond process, forms and deadlines to get  value out of performance reviews. They are way too hung up on making this year better than last. They spend far too much time on reflection, feedback and considering possibilities.  For the estimated 2, 088 working hours put in last year, they invest in and thoughtfully prepare for a one hour conversation about what happened. They actually think that they learn something useful!

You know that your performance review process sucks. And you’re going to make it happen.

6 thoughts on “Five Sure Ways To Blow Your Performance Review

  1. Excellent advice for both participants in the process…I would add that self-assessments should be written and taken into consideration as part of the evaluative cycle, with supervisors giving the employee’s input both credence and consideration when preparing their review conversations. Terrific Susan – thanks.

    • Thanks, Mimi. You offer an excellent suggestion on how to get the most of a review. Self assessments are a vital part of the conversation.

      I wonder if you’ve had the experience of people not getting anything out of a process they don’t put anything into? That was my point of this post. Many think the performance appraisal process stinks, and they make sure that it does.

      Of course, performance appraisal processes can be overdone and onerous. In my opinion, ‘less is more” should be the guiding principle. My wish is that people get the best possible process. My hope is that they get the best value out of what they have.

      • I used to do training on the the performance review process…it is a system that is rife with problems – on both sides of the equation. To me the key is not to think of reviews as the one (or two) times a year that people give and receive feedback. The best reviews have no surprises because the evaluative communication loop has been fluid throughout the year…I’ll get off my soapbox now..sorry..

  2. Stay on that soapbox, Mimi! Wouldn’t it be nice if people knew how they were doing with perspectives up, down, across and outside of the organization all the time, not just in January? On my soap box, I think that we’ve made so much of the process that its benefits get lost.

  3. Yep. You nailed it Susan. Bottom line, managers don’t give performance feedback on an ongoing basis during the course of the year – then either drop surprises on employees at year end, fail to provide any performance review at all – or whitewash the entire exercise. Unfortunately, this is more of the norm than we’d like to think. Great post.

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