Performance Evaluations: Still Relevant in Today's Business

There is a lot of discussion currently as to whether performance evaluations are still relevant in the workplace. Critics of traditional performance evaluation systems say they tend to focus on the past, are corrective in nature and some employees find them demotivating. In addition, critics contend, most performance evaluations tend to be subjective because it involves people making judgments and/or rating other people. As a result, employees are rated on how they are perceived by others.

Keep in mind, the purpose of performance evaluations is to help the business to achieve its goals. An effective performance evaluation system will help the organization achieve its goals, realize individual growth, reinforce the organization's values and retain critical skills to remain competitive.

Note we said "effective performance evaluation system". For this reason, it is time to rethink how employees are evaluated. Using a "check the number" or ranking method to evaluate employees can demotivate them. What employees really want and need is specific feedback so they clearly understand the expectations of their jobs and whether they are meeting those expectations. This can be accomplished by defining goals and expectations at the beginning of the review period and providing frequent feedback as to how they are progressing. This requires a lot of open and consistent dialogue between supervisors and employees - not just at the end of the evaluation period - but it is worth it. Using this method will keep your great performers engaged and your nonperformers informed on where they stand.

If you would like to read more on this topic, please see the links below:

SHRM/Trade Performance Ratings for Guidance; Link Goals to Strategy

SHRM/ Is It Time to Put the Performance Review on a PIP?

Harvard Business Review/Most HR Data Is Bad Data

Fortune.com/How Adobe keeps key employees from quitting

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