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Another corporate giant ditches performance reviews

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HC Online | 25 Aug 2015, 07:29 AM Agree 0
Performance reviews are closer to being a thing of the past, as another corporate giant joins the growing list of companies determined to phase them out.
  • Wayne Gobert | 25 Aug 2015, 11:26 AM Agree 0
    Great to see so many white collar American organisations "thought leading". I absolutely agree with the view that an annual review is an absolute waste of time - if that is all that takes place. However I'm not so sure how the removal of a formal (auditable) process would go in the highly regulated Australian FWC context. Does the answer lie somewhere in the middle - a dynamic review process that can be audited?

    Those of us who work in blue collar unionised environments face some different challenges.
  • Dr Arthur Shacklock | 25 Aug 2015, 02:26 PM Agree 0
    I would be the first to agree that rating scales are often badly designed and thus a flawed mechanism in many cases. Often they do not deliver fair or reasonable outcomes. You should only rate individual people against some preconceived numbers or grades if there is some clear reason for doing so. In my experience there rarely is such a reason. We have known this for donkey's years, so this is hardly some new revelation that has suddenly been "discovered" ! However, the comment about trading this "for more frequent conversations and feedback" indicates to me that GE and others like them have no idea what performance management (appraisal, review) is really about. It was never supposed to be just an annual whack in the head or a pat on the back. Done properly it was always supposed to be about very regular conversations (at least monthly) to chat about how things are going on both sides of the ledger (upward and downward, even 360 degrees these days). Plus every day provides opportunities for constructive feedback anyway and so it should do. Good managers know this and so they do it and they have been doing it as long as I have been working in organisations (since 1959 !). Of course regrettably not all managers are good managers ! The "annual review" is really just the formal outcome and should deliver no surprises to anyone. It is, and has always been, the least important part of the process. Performance feedback is an ongoing and never-ending process for every one of us. You should not chuck out with the baby with the bathwater just because you don't know how to do it properly !
    Dr Arthur Shacklock
    (previously HRM Director for many years and more lately Associate Professor of Management)
  • Catherine Cahill, Worksense Solutions | 25 Aug 2015, 05:21 PM Agree 0
    It would be more accurate to say that companies are "ditching" annual (only) reviews and forced rating scales. But this certainly does not mean the end of reviewing employee performance.

    There are many, many organisations - mostly SMEs - that moved on from the bloated Annual argument about performance rating scales at least a decade ago.

    The "more regular catch ups" still need to have a format and follow up, and this is stil generally referred to as an Appraisal.
  • Brian Maphosa | 26 Aug 2015, 09:45 PM Agree 0
    I totally agree with Dr. Arthur Shacklock. Performance reviews have never been about an annual ritual if done properly and I think there is just this desire to change for the sake of changing. As an HR practitioner its been standard practice to put systems in place where there is regular discussions (monthly) dealing with specific performance targets that would have been agreed with the employee. The annual reviews were then a total summary of one's performance in the year.

    In my view the Ten minutes TOUGH LOVE PERFORMANCE REVIEWS can still be taken as part of enforcing the performance management system rather than a replacement of it. Besides those ten minutes chats should be part and parcel of a good manager's constant touch with his/her employees. I see the so called changes as more of just bringing some trendiness in the review process but nothing beyond that.

    Brian Maphosa is the Managing Consultant for HUMAN PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT based in Harare, Zimbabwe.
  • Alex Westwood | 27 Aug 2015, 12:30 PM Agree 0
    I am a firm believer in that it isn't about the process, but the people. Something that is said time and time again, but the roots of this stance on the matter are so true and proven. Especially from HR we can observer our people, we can see who completes the reviews, who has managerial success, and whose team flows on to have commercial success.
    Companies are going to change, and ditch, and reinstate review models year on year. It is an inevitable cycle that can could even skeptically be seen as more of a marketing ploy. But it is just natural change that should be accepted. The energy should be better spent on enhancing our Managers.
    Read more of my take on this topic here:
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