How to Love Annual Performance Reviews

woman-1253508_960_720-2-2What? You don’t love annual reviews?

It’s OK. You’re not alone. If you think they suck at your company, you’re probably right. They suck at most companies. They always will—because there will always be pundits who need to make money by telling you about your organization’s poorly-designed system.

But I’m not one of them. I’ll share my thoughts for free about your rotten procedures.

There are many reasons why corporate America fails its people when it comes to year-end appraisals, more than can fit into a blog post, article, book, or series of books. One such cause centers around the anonymous nature of multi-rater feedback.

What if it weren’t anonymous? Would the CHRO’s head explode? Would a company collapse? This year, I decided to find out.

The Usual Approach

Anonymous feedback about an employee from a variety of colleagues aims to provide a more complete impression of that person’s performance. You know how it goes: Jane selects coworkers of all different types who will offer unbiased opinions whom she knows will say that she parted the Red Sea. Jane’s manager then asks those people to provide comments about Jane, whose multi-raters subsequently practically cream themselves in their remarks.

Except for Bob. Bob secretly thinks Jane is overrated or incompetent or said something mean to him back in 2002, so he concocts a list of Jane’s “areas for improvement.”

“I received some troubling feedback about you,” Jane’s manager conveys to Jane, who leaves the conversation shocked and on a hunt to discover which of her colleagues/frenemies whipped out a knife that may ultimately slice into her compensation. Continue reading “How to Love Annual Performance Reviews”