Performance Review Death Spiral

I’ve been in Human Resources a long time. I’ve been in healthcare a long time too. Through it all the Performance Review has been a mainstay not only in the corporate culture of the various health systems I’ve worked; but also in the regulatory psyche of those that oversee hospital performance.

And the reality is performance reviews just don’t work anymore.

Expectations Then Communication

I’m a firm believer in the notion of communicating with employees through a variety of platforms on a regular basis to ensure good results. Think of communication like a compass…if you provide good feedback to your team about their performance they are more likely to stay on course, right? How many sailors do you know that only check their position once a year?

Common Sense Is Always An Option

There’s an old phrase that says when all else fails try common sense. Maybe it’s not old, but it works for me. For some reason, we’ve tied merit increases, paperwork,  uncomfortable conversations and stress to an annual rite of passage that no one seems to get much value from doing. So why in an era of quality improvement, working smarter, and so much information like this and this that tells us employees and managers do not like this annual event do we insist on carrying on? Mind boggling. In fact, may I dare say a failure of leadership to not recognize and change what is not working.

We’re too focused on the performance review itself which is ultimately just an excuse to avoid addressing the real issues = > good communication and feedback to your team members.  Why?

“I submit that leaders are inherently scared to death of confrontation, so instead of having a series of meaningful, honest, professional conversations throughout the year, leaders choose instead to focus on check boxes and task lists as a vehicle to avoid doing their job.”

How About You

Do you look forward to completing annual performance reviews with your team members? Are you confident when you receive your own evaluation that there won’t be any surprises waiting for you? Really? What are you going to do to change that in your organization?


I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Photo Credit:

terencebowmanblog and denniscummins


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