- Job performance reviews have always had an unappealing nature, but an article in the New Yorker takes that distaste for the annual job review to the next level - making a case that it has finally outlived its value.
- New Yorker writer Vauhini Vara writes that "few institutional practices are as old, or have been hated as long, as the performance review." But what can replace it?
- Vara notes that lately the annual performance review has been falling out of favor, as companies such as Microsoft and Gap are among several companies that have reformed their evaluation processes in recent years. Also, the consulting firm Accenture, an emblem of traditional corporate culture if ever there was one, Vara writes, announced that it is getting rid of annual evaluations for its 330,000 employees, replacing the process with a system where managers will give feedback on a more regular basis.
Vara writes that Accenture’s CEO Pierre Nanterme told the Washington Post that the existing evaluations are cumbersome and expensive. Plus, he added, “the outcome is not great.” Nanterme’s observation—that the cost of performance evaluations, presumably both financial and psychic, is hardly worth the benefit—echoes complaints made by other managers, not to mention employees, for at least the past several decades, but it has only relatively recently been reinforced by research.
After outlining recent research about the ineffectiveness of annual reviews, Vara notes that data also shows that personal quirks and biases, both conscious and not, influence appraisals of others. Kevin Murphy, a scientist at Colorado State University and an expert on performance appraisals, told Vara in an email that employers need to make sure their performance-evaluation process attempts to minimize bias, and that means collecting more data, not less, to use in reviews.
“The frustration with performance appraisal is certainly understandable,” Murphy said, “but if alternatives become more subjective and less attention is given to reducing bias, there is potential for serious problems down the road.”