The 10 Most Common Employee Review Fails

September 2, 2014



Employees find reviews to be a waste of time and frustrating; sometimes even enough to cause anxiety. Employers see performance reviews as just another checklist item on their compliance list. We want to change the way that employers and employees alike, view the employee review process. Employee reviews are a compliance issue for us all; they have to get done. So how can managers turn this ship around when employees and your management team already have a bad taste in their mouths from employee reviews?

You can start by drawing awareness to the traditional downfalls that are ultra common in your average employee review process. Employee reviews were created to increase productivity, engagement and motivation as part of a performance management system, but traditional reviews aren’t exactly hitting any of those marks, and here’s why:

1. Your reviews are one-sided.

Have you ever entered what you thought would be a conversation, only to find that you are being spoken at? It’s not engaging, it’s not productive and it’s quite certainly frustrating. 40% of employees cite reviews being one-sided as the reason they dislike the employee review process (Tweet this Stat). You have to make this a dialogue, a two-way conversation from which both parties can benefit, share and learn.

2. And what did we learn today?

Anything? We’ve seen our fair share of bad performance reviews, and they almost all have a commonality; they highlight issues, but don’t give any solutions, help or guidance. “You’re not doing a great a job, and we will revisit this in 6 months”, doesn’t really do anything for anyone. 

3. You’re too late with the follow-up.

During the review process, you will be gathering a lot of information that will require feedback, dialogue and action. If these things don’t happen right away, employees are left feeling like they weren’t heard and the entire process was a royal waste of time. In fact, 71% of employees surveyed expect the feedback from their review as soon as possible (Tweet this Stat).

4. One more check on the ol’ to-do list.

Currently, 22% of employees believe that performance reviews are simply conducted as a matter of staying compliant (Tweet this Stat). Yes, reviews are a compliance issue, but that doesn’t mean they should be treated as just another checklist item. Reviews can be the waste of time that everyone thinks they are, or they can be a powerful motivation tool; you decide.

5. You gotta accentuate the positive.

Performance reviews aren’t intended to be the annual “these are the areas you could improve in” meeting. Yes, issues need to be addressed and goals aligned, but throw in plenty of positive feedback, establish their value to the company and always thank the employee for their time dedicated to the review process.

6. What about my peers?

You know those other dozen people that your review prospect works with? It turns out their opinions matter too! Peer reviews are vital in collecting a well-rounded and accurate picture of each employee’s true day-to-day performance. No manager is working hands on, 24/7. In fact, most managers spend less than 6 hours per week working directly with individual employees.

7. Show me the motivation!

Don’t forget the point of this process -to motivate, educate and appreciate employees. The current state of reviews isn’t looking so hot, 53% of employees don’t find performance reviews to be motivational (Tweet this Stat). There’s hope though! 90% of employees see positive feedback as motivating. Again, accentuate the positive and work on the issues; one without the other does not an effective review make. 

8. How accurate are you?

Let’s talk about your process now. How accurate is your current review system? Have you ever even considered that question? Probably not. 63% of employees don’t like reviews because they believe that they don’t truly represent their performance (Tweet this Stat). That’s a pretty big deal considering that these reviews are part of the performance management system.

9. What about the other 11 months?

22% of employees aren’t too keen on the review process because they don’t believe that it accounts for past work. Be sure to take the blinders off and concentrate on the big picture of performance. A great, or poor month isn’t what you should be focusing on.

10. What do I get out of this?

Employees need to be left with feedback, goals, constructive criticism, options, accountability, training and development options. Any or all of these are ways to show your employees that they are valued. 70% of employees believe that the point of performance reviews is to help them grow and develop (Tweet this Stat). Are you hitting that mark?

If your process isn’t as refined or effective as you know it could be, share this list with your management team. Don’t be just another company with just another compliance review.

Start making your employee performance reviews matter today! Click here to learn more.

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Photo Credit: xagivm via bigstock

Employee Review, Performance Management, Performance Management System

Afton Funk
Afton Funk
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