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.