Most managers heartily dislike giving performance reviews. Having to sum up an employee’s performance for the whole year, rating according to scales that have little to do with the actual quality (or lack thereof) of the work done, that certainly do not measure the true value (or lack thereof) of the employee’s contribution, is a thankless task at best.
Employees don’t like it any better. As Samuel A. Culbert, Professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management, succinctly puts it:
“Performance reviews instill feelings of being dominated. They send employees the message that the boss’s opinion of their performance is the key determinant of pay, assignment, and career progress. And while that opinion pretends to be objective, it is no such thing. Think about it: If performance reviews are so objective, why is it that so many people get totally different ratings simply by switching bosses?”
Try a different approach. Give employees a sense of ownership of their review, a feeling of participation with you in their review. How? By starting the review with a set of questions that can turn the review into a conversation, rather than an indictment:
For example: “What have you noticed about your performance this year?” “What do you think went well?” “What would you have liked to have done differently?” “What pleased you about your work?” “Was there anything that disappointed you?” “What would you like to see happen differently this year?” “Anything you’d like to change?”
You may find that a review, conducted in this manner, actually does fulfill a worthwhile purpose.