NPR posted an interesting article on a interview with Samuel Culbert, a UCLA business professor and author of the book Get Rid of the Performance Review! You can access the NPR article here.
The article (and I would expect the book) offer some excellent perspectives on performance reviews in the workplace. Feedback on employee performance is not something that can be scheduled for once or twice a year. To be effective, and to create cohesive and high performing teams, feedback must be constant and ongoing. Managers should be observers of performance and should develop skills for understanding human nature and giving accurate and helpful feedback to enhance and improve performance.
If there is anything more insidious than a once or twice yearly performance review it is a 360-degree review process. If managers, whose job it is to be responsible for people, to provide useful feedback, and to understand human nature, don’t have the proper communications and collaboration skills to provide proper feedback, how can individuals (ie, managers and non-managers alike) contribute to a 360-degree review process in a way that is productive or even fair? It’s a rhetorical question, obviously they can’t.
I like the perspective communicated in this part of the article:
How often have you heard a manager say, “Here is what I believe,” followed by, “Now tell me, what do you think?” and actually mean it? Rarely, I would bet. Bosses seldom show that kind of respect.
That type of dialog initiated by managers is not only respectful, it’s collaborative and it also sets an important precedent in the way people work with each other at all levels inside an organization. That type of dialog is in fact cultural. And corporate cultures based on solid principles that empower and treat people fairly create the best organizations.