WSJ Article: Get Rid of the Performance Review

March 3, 2010

By Samuel A. Culbert

How can an employee truly be evaluated by the same performance review system? As the author mentioned in the article: “performance review destroys moral, kills teamwork, and hurts the bottom line. And that’s just for starters”. I too believe in that assertion as I have gone through a lot of “quality” performance review at work and they just bring nothing but negative feedback from both the boss and the people that evaluate you, self-interest again from both boss and coworkers (your enemies), and the worst an atmosphere of intimidation and manipulation that promotes nothing but unhealthy relationships in the workplace due to the lack of trust. As a result, you no longer seek out the shared organizational purpose, but rather your own self-interest to not only please your boss but mainly to survive in the battle. So I really found a lot of great points in this article to be applicable in my current job situation:

  • Performance preview instead of performance review: this is great as you really need to provide transparent feedback to your subordinates on a daily basis in regards to the operation results, individual’s performance, projected plans, and so on and so forth to foment a teamwork spirit where everybody is on the same page and is held accountable for the job.
  • Two-way communication system: boss-subordinate; so we have authentic conversations for the betterment of the operation system- that is how can we work together better as a team by airing out the issues, clear them up before they become hindrances, and the best to contribute to team development which leads to productivity, and productivity equals profit.
  • Straight-talk on time: rather than waiting a whole year to bring up the list of all the failures, to come up with a plan to fix it, and as a result to be more productive by effectively performing according to plan.      
  • Trust: waiting a year to address all the failures eventually leads to lose trust, so this is the last instance we want to happen in the organization. Yet, everyone is different, so how can everyone be truly evaluated by the same performance review system?

Ultimately, intrinsic motivation is key in meeting the performance review standards, however motivation rests on people and we can’t really motivate someone as we don’t know what motivates them. People’s strengths are much more ambiguous and difficult to imitate and measure as we don’t know what makes people special, so that is why we need to get rid of performance review.


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