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Recently I was involved in a meeting in which the topic of employee performance review came up.  As soon as they were mentioned, the eye-rolling and groaning started.  It’s almost a tradition:  start talking about performance reviews and watch the meeting deteriorate.

And it’s not just us.  According to a 2010 Study by Psychology Today, 90% of employees say performance reviews are stressful, useless, and demotivating – exactly the opposite of what they’re supposed to be.  Samuel Culbert says they’re “destructive and fraudulent” displays of “power and subordination”.  I’m not sure ours are that bad, but they’re certainly not good.
So is there a better way?  Can you evaluate employee performance without beating people down?  How can performance reviews actually encourage employees to achieve instead of push them towards apathy & cynicism?  

There are companies out there that are trying different things.  Some companies spend the entire review talking only about the future.  No time at all is spent digging through every detail of the past year.  The only thing discussed is, “What are you going to do this year?”
Some companies have tried pulling management out of the process altogether, where reviews are done entirely by your peers.  They basically assign points (vote) for colleagues to recognize them for great performance, then bonuses are allocated accordingly.  Some even publish the scores!

I’d like to hear what you’re trying regarding performance reviews.  Is it the traditional, score everybody based on a bunch of criteria?  Is there some kind of point system?  Have you changed your methods in the past 5 years?  What are you trying?  What has worked?  What hasn’t?  

Performance management systems,performance appraisals,

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