Effective Management Toolkit: Get Rid of the Performance Review!



Katherine Mehr
05/05/2010

Put the performance review out of its misery!

"This corporate sham is one of the most insidious, most damaging, and yet most ubiquitous of corporate activities. Everybody does it, and almost everyone who’s evaluated hates it. It’s a pretentious, bogus practice that produces absolutely nothing that any thinking executive should call a corporate plus."

So says Dr. Samuel Culbert in his book Get Rid of the Performance Review! How Companies Can Stop Intimidating, Start Managing—and Focus on What Really Matters. He believes that ultimately, performance reviews are useless.

Performance reviews are intended to help employees improve their skills, develop talents and leverage their strengths in a manner that helps them individually while increasing the company’s performance as well.



However, the performance review actually does exactly the opposite. It focuses on what the employee is doing wrong and how to fix it, based on the boss’s criteria, and it does not focus on achieving results. Performance reviews use unnecessary "grading" scales, which most times are altered because the boss must not give a perfect grade, as per HR. Therefore, employees can receive a lower grade than they deserve…all for the purpose of having the review stuffed into their file.

"It’s dehumanizing and leaves workers demoralized, unwilling to address their weaknesses. It makes them hate coming to work, let alone inspire them to turn themselves into better employees," Culbert says.

Dr. Samuel Culbert, Professor, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and author discusses with Human Resources IQ why performance reviews are cruel, wasteful, and an insidious practice that speaks volumes about the mindless management practices that plague so many workplaces today.

*Editor's Note: This podcast based on the book Get Rid of the Performance Review! How Companies Can Stop Intimidating, Start Managing—and Focus on What Really Matters.

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