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My blog posts are normally based on something I’ve read; this one will be a little different. After typing that, I am changing my mind – in many ways...

A Slightly Different Blog than Normal

October 30, 2017

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Performance Reviews - Obsolete?

June 8, 2018

According to Cornerstone, “paperbased performance reviews are not the way to go”. Why? Cornerstone provides five reasons: tracking progress and following up completion is a nightmare, you’re probably collecting outdated, unreliable information, you can’t do team reviews, most of the information comes from managers, and it’s not easy to work with paper review data.


As an HR professional I completely agree with their recommendation to not do paperbased performance reviews. Why do I agree? Here’s my take on Cornerstone’s recommendation:

  • If you are a small business tracking might not be as much of a nightmare, but if you are a larger company, someone needs to track that the reviews are getting done and filed accordingly.

  • Performance reviews usually look at performance over the last year or last six months. Why not give ongoing feedback? Ongoing feedback let’s employees know what they are doing well and what they can improve on in a timely manner – not six or more months later.

  • Most people do not work alone; they work with others. Individuals may meet deadlines, but the overall team doesn’t. How do you really provide an accurate performance review – all you may know is that the team missed the deadline. If you provide ongoing feedback to the team and to individuals, you can let people know what’s working and what isn’t – plus you might also find out what really caused the delay.

  • How many managers ask others about a person’s performance before they do a performance review? I’ve spent many years in learning and development. My boss could write my review about my getting reports to him/her on time, data on how many people have attended sessions I facilitated, etc. But without talking to others, how would my boss know if people enjoyed my sessions, got anything out of them, used what they learned, etc.

  • What do you do with the reviews, besides filing them? Many companies do performance reviews and check a box – they don’t analyze the data, they don't use it for succession planning, etc.

If you are still doing traditional performance reviews, my advice is to try one on ones and ongoing feedback.


Comment – If you are thinking about eliminating performance reviews and moving to one on ones and ongoing feedback, let me help you. "Feedback is a gift" is a phrase I use a lot – most people dislike giving and receiving feedback. I can help change those feelings. Contact me for more information.

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