The Real Reasons Why Employees Hate the Performance Review

It’s no secret that people often dread the performance review process at work. But what’s driving that fear and loathing?

We regularly hear news about the ineffectiveness of performance appraisals or that companies are doing away with these assessments. But is nixing performance reviews a good solution? According to a new OfficeTeam survey, these meetings aren’t going anywhere just yet, and they may actually be increasing in frequency. Seventy-nine percent of HR managers said they schedule these discussions at least annually. More than a quarter (27 percent) hold appraisals at least twice a year, which is a nine-point increase from 2010.

However, bosses and workers don’t necessarily see eye to eye on how effective the performance review process is. One in four (25 percent) employees feel the assessments do not help improve their performance. This contrasts with 89 percent of HR managers who believe their organization’s performance appraisals are at least somewhat effective.

So where’s the disconnect? Making any of these six mistakes could be part of the reason why your employees are giving performance reviews the thumbs down.

1. You’re winging it.

If you as a manager aren’t prepared for an employee’s performance review, it’ll show. It also gives off the impression that you don’t really care about your workers. In advance of the discussion, check with your HR representative to see if there’s a certain process you should follow for the meeting, or if there are forms you’re required to complete. Take time to think about your employee’s recent achievements and whether he or she met expectations.

2. It's not a two-way street.

You shouldn’t be the only one talking during a performance appraisal. Make sure workers know what to expect from the meeting so they can prepare in advance. Asking employees to bring a list of accomplishments, obstacles and goals helps encourage a two-way conversation.

3. You’re not getting the full picture.

What you personally see and hear from a worker may not tell the full story. Request feedback from colleagues who regularly collaborate with the employee for a more well-rounded, balanced assessment.

4. You focus only on the negative.

One big reason why employees are apprehensive about reviews is because they’re scared they’ll receive negative feedback. Comments made during evaluations aren’t always all positive, but you should aim to provide specific, constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement rather than criticizing. Don’t forget to also recognize staff for what they’re doing well!

5. There’s no mention of the future.

Assessing past performance is only half the battle. The review is also a time to discuss goals and what an employee needs to be successful (and happy) in the coming period.

6. It’s the only time you’re checking in.  

The last thing you want is for any information shared during a review to be a surprise to your worker. That’s why regularly following up with employees to provide feedback and track progress outside of formal performance appraisal meetings is so important.  

Now that you’ve gotten tips on conducting these discussion with employees, do you need help preparing for your own review? Read Performance Review Tips: Prepping for a Positive Talk with Your Boss