How useful are traditional employee reviews in the workplace?
Many businesses rely on annual or semi-annual employee reviews to evaluate employee performance. The traditional employee review consists of a manager or supervisor(s) who complete a series of evaluation questions to rate the employee’s performance, and often times the employee is asked to complete a self-assessment of their own performance. Once the manager or supervisor(s) reviews the two evaluations, the two parties meet face-to-face to discuss results and elaborate more on performance.
This type of evaluation has been recently scrutinized, and many businesses are questioning whether they should continue with the same process, or find an employee review process that makes more sense. Many find the traditional employee review process to be outdated and filled with inefficiencies. And as with many business processes, there comes a time when changes may need to be made.
What are common problems with traditional employee reviews?
Present Bias. Employee reviews are generally conducted over a one week period. At this one time, a manger or supervisor(s) provides subjective opinions about employees. These opinions are going to be based on the most recent projects or tasks that the employee has worked on or completed over the last few weeks or recent months. The remaining nine months to a year of potentially hard word is going to be largely ignored. It’s not a semi-annual or annual review if only a few weeks of work are taken into consideration.
Non-Present Bias. In contrast, if a project or task that an employee completed months ago is on the top of a manager or supervisors mind, the employee’s current performance may be ignored. On the contrary, if an employee had struggled with low performance several months ago, but has excelled since, they may be reviewed solely on their previous struggles and not on their current performance.
Subjective Review. When given a rating scale question, managers or supervisors rarely give employees the highest mark for outstanding work, even if the person is performing at or above their role. The thought process of a manager is that an employee “can always do better.” This type of evaluation misrepresents the abilities of employees. This makes it difficult to rely on results of traditional employee reviews, and is not a true representation of the skills and attributes of employees; nor does it indicate whether they are doing a good job.
Subjective Performance. Traditional employee reviews measure performance based on the opinions of just one manager or one or two supervisors. Numerous studies have shown that this is not an effective way to measure employee performance. Traditional employee reviews may be giving low ratings to great workers, and vice versa. This can have a profound effect on both employee morale and on a company’s ability to recognize performing and underperforming staff.
What is your opinion of traditional employee reviews? Leave a comment below.