Annual Performance Report – Is It Worth It?
Now be honest – how many of you have at least once felt shaky before going to see your HR manager for the annual evaluation session. And how many of you start stressing about it a week earlier? I assume this feeling is familiar to everyone, as virtually every company in the world has adopted that practice. But how did it start and does it make any sense to continue using it?
Performance reviews can be traced back to the 1930s, when a Harvard Business School professor named Elton Mayo studied the behavior of workers in an electric factory. He found that happiness and productivity were directly related to the social structure of the workplace. Suddenly it wasn't enough to just hire someone to do a job; bosses had to manage people as well. They did that, usually, with formal meetings. In the 1950th the U.S. government created the Performance Rating Act, which made such meetings obligatory for federal workers.
Obviously, workers aren't big fans of being put into a small room and ranked to numerous scales. A 1997 national survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that only 5 percent of employees were satisfied (42 percent were dissatisfied) with their companies' review process. Even HR departments can barely show enthusiasm. A 2010 Sibson Consulting study found that 58 percent of HR managers disliked the performance review systems which they were to use.
“The best kind of performance review is no performance review,” is a popular idea among employees. Take Microsoft's “stack racking” method. The system grades employees on a curve, meaning a certain number must be labeled underperformers. This method creates a sense of helplessness and failure and clearly doesn't promote friendlier relationships among co-workers.
Yet another problem with reviews is that they don't happen often enough to actually solve any problems. Managers should address issues when they arise, not six or eight months later. If not, all you get to discuss at the end of the year is who should be blamed, and not how to solve the problems.
Management these days relies on a culture of domination, and the performance review is the biggest hammer management has. The real goal of the performance review isn't to help the employee—it's to help the company. Most companies don't need to document your good performance, just your poor one. That way they have written proof that'll help them get rid of you if needed.
Yet, no matter whether you support the idea of having annual performance reports or not, next time you have one – stop stressing about it and remember – your boss may not be enjoying the process as well. So, breathe in, and smile, you'll both feel better after it.
- felt shaky – felt nervous
- annual evaluation session – a meeting organized every year to discuss the results of an employee's work
- stressing about – being worried or nervous
- virtually – almost, practically (used to stress that a statement is almost completely true)
- has adopted that practice – has decided to start that practice
- can be traced back to – was first found/discovered
- obligatory – must be done because of a law or a rule
- ranked – given marks to
- can barely show enthusiasm – aren't very enthusiastic
- grades – evaluates – оценивает
- a curve – a curved line drawn on a graph – кривая (на графике)
- underperformers – employees who haven't worked well enough – сотрудники с недостаточно высокими показателями
- a sense of helplessness – a feeling that you can't do or influence anything – чувство беспомощности
- address issues – officially tell your complaints or comments about something – обращать внимание на проблемы
- arise – appear, begin to exist – возникают
- poor – bad, not good enough – плохой, низкого качества