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How to make performance reviews less terrible – especially given challenges of supervising remote workers

By Yalcin Acikgoz

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If you cry after a performance review, you are not going to cope with climate change.

quote: scheduling short but frequent check-ins with remote workers throughout the day.

That makes their job 10x worse. Competent employees begin thinking about a new job.

quote: Another strategy is creating always-on chatrooms.

That makes their job 100x worse. Competent employees send out CVs.

quote: by applying tracking technology

1000x worse. Competent employees quit.

quote: however vital they are to an organization’s success.

I very much doubt that they are. Most offices/classes have a couple of stand out employees and a few slackers, easily spotted and well known to all. Endless performance reviews are a waste of time and money, stressing out staff unnecessarily. Sack the people who do them, use the cash saved to pay staff more, and get managers to write a few lines, quarterly, on their employees: Great, OK, or poor.

There are far too many pointless roles in modern business soaking up cash that could go in the pay packets of those on lower wages.

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I teach my students that the most accurate performance ratings are obtained when reviews are based on observable behaviors rather than subjective evaluations of traits.

Unfortunately this is something that frequently gets ignored and many companies still rely in ratings that are completely subjective and arbitrary on the part of supervisors, this is of course unfair to the employees, that sometimes can do very little to change the contents of the review, but also difficult for responsible supervisors that feel the need to be objective and fair but can't reasonably do it with fuzzy parameters to evaluate that are not based on data that can be confirmed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If judging on results doesn’t work

say what?

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The main objective of performance reviews shouldn't be about who to promote or give a pay rise or sack. It should be about improving competence, quality of work, certain behavioural traits and productivity. It should not be subjective but based on objective criteria. If these are the objectives and the mode of assessment it takes a lot of the stress off employees. This can be done at the mid year point and the end of the year. Since the objective is to improve performance but not necessarily looking for slackers to sack, mid year reviews enable you to identify those who are struggling so early interventions can be planned to help them improve rather than wait till the end of the year.

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