Is It Finally Time to Rethink Performance Management?

Usually I read about performance management systems (failed and otherwise) once or twice a year – in the Fall and Spring when most companies seem to schedule the annual performance review cycle.

This past 12-18 months, however, the topic has never really dropped out of the news or HR/Management blog discussion.

Why? Because the vast majority are now realizing the annual review process as currently deployed is failed – pure and simple. Bnet recently pointed out “10 Ways to Ruin an Employee Evaluation,” including these two:

  • “Focus primarily on the near-term. Almost all the evaluations I received focused on my performance over the previous couple of months, even if I had accomplished great things over the course of the entire year.”
  • “Ignore the previous review. Do you remember everything you said the last time you evaluated a particular employee? Of course you don’t — but the employee does. Use the same examples and the employee feels you’re just going through the motions.”

Annual reviews have their place as formal, process oriented systems that provide a forum for a deep-dive into an employee’s performance over a 12-month period. But this is only half the performance story and must be balanced by and complemented with strategic recognition.

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Recognition provides the key to social performance management by encouraging less formal, ad-hoc praise and acknowledgement of behaviors, contributions and achievements throughout the year.

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at


1 Comment on “Is It Finally Time to Rethink Performance Management?

  1. Great points here Derek.  I don’t think there is enough emphasis on employee ownership of the process either.  Organizations do not do a good job emphasizing to employee’s what they can do to manage their own performance. Too often the annual review is a static, yearly process with no perceived link to their every day performance. I wrote a blog post about this point as well:

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