The Review Process
Performance reviews have become a standard practice in both
white collar and blue collar workplaces across the United States. In many
companies, the annual performance review is now actually giving way to the six
month review, and in some places even quarterly reviews are becoming
But methods and philosophical approaches to the review
process vary widely. And in spite of a nearly universal desire to control
efficiency and regulate productivity by precisely measuring employee value, performance
reviews remain a mixed blessing. Sometimes the review process improves
productivity. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes performance reviews cost more in
terms of work hours and resources than the value of the data they provide. And
in some workplaces, the approach to the review process is poorly conceived,
sloppily executed, can undermine morale, and may actually be quite damaging.
If you’re an HR manager, much of the approach to your
company’s review process may fall within your control. How do you choose the
approach that best fits your industry and your unique office culture?
360 reviews, in which employees are evaluated not only by
their supervisors but also their peers and direct reports, are becoming
popular. But if each person in the office must spend hours evaluating dozens of
other employees, this may not be economically feasible. It may also have
damaging effects on teamwork and relationships if anonymity can’t be
guaranteed. Simple top-down approaches are time-tested and easy to conduct, but
do they generate actual results?
If you’re designing your company’s review process from the
ground up, what potential mistakes should you watch out for? How much freedom
should your managers be given to conduct reviews as they see fit?
And finally, what tests can you use to measure the effects
of your review process? Reviews are used to quantify employee value, but how
can you quantify the value of your reviews? We’ll address some of these
questions in the following post.