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The “Dirty Thirty” Problems With Employee Performance Reviews! Part 1


Warning, your boss does not want you to read about this!! I’m really excited about this new performance review series. In researching this aspect of performance appraisals I’ve gained greater insight and knowledge in how to prepare for them. As you know I love sharing…;0)

A legal study of businesses using job evaluations found most employers could be successfully sued because of how they conducted those performance reviews! The majority of employers hate the employee performance appraisal process. Other research shows the average performance appraisal costs $2000-2500 per employee per year. The vast majority of job evaluations regardless of how well designed fail miserably. There are no state or federal laws requiring job performance evaluations.

So why do our bosses continue to expose themselves and us to the dreaded employee performance evaluation? The only reason that makes sense involves the employer using evaluations to legally justify adverse action and employee termination. However, as I just pointed out most employers are incompetent in the evaluation process for the very reason they keep using them!

That said let’s get to the “Dirty Thirty”….oh, by the way there’s no specific order, they are all equally important.

Artificial Rating

Guess what, sometimes your boss can and will score you just under qualifying for a raise or a promotion. Many times this is a “pretext” to hide discrimination, retaliation, harassment, bullying, etc. Some managers will also “artificially rate” the other way by giving a higher rating to “pet” employees that should be receive lower ratings.

One Way Only Dialogue

Many supervisors manage by fear and intimidation. They conduct evaluations the same way. Thus, the employee becomes “mute” and pressured to sign the evaluation with no opportunity for feedback.

No second Chance

Once the manager puts on paper their assessment of our performance it generally becomes “law”. We can protest and even show the evaluation is in error yet, the employer will usually maintain the evaluation “as is”. Of course to maintain inaccurate evaluation(s) isn’t smart. This can and will lead to successful employee lawsuits.

Person Appraisal

In my view this is one of the biggest problems with job evaluations. Too many incompetent ill trained managers focus on the “person” instead of the performance. Supervisors will tend to zero in on and make subjective character evaluations of the employee’s personality. For example, a manager tells Yancey, “You must be loner. All the other guys come and shoot the breeze with me.

I’m assessing you as needs improvement in the “cooperation with management” section.” Yancey however, rates satisfactory or better in the other evaluation sections. The bottom-line of any performance appraisal should be about accomplishments, quantity of work, positive reaction and profitability to the employer.

Alienation From Job Description

Another important factor exposing the weakness of the process is employees being evaluated using criteria that differs significantly from the essential functions on the written job description. Employees being evaluated on things other than the job description can lead to claims of discrimination, low morale, hostility and low productivity.

Reviews Kept In The Shadows

Performance reviews are kept “confidential” or secret. This can embolden some managers to hide discriminatory rating tactics. Therefore, being held accountable for equitable treatment of all employees in the evaluation process is easier to avoid.

No Red Flags

The typical job evaluation has no built in “fix” for the dynamic way job performances can change between evaluation periods. Throw in the possibility of bias from the supervisor it can become a perfect storm for the employee to be “surprised” by an unexpectedly negative review.

Sporadic Appraisals

The process should involve an actual assessment of the performance “as it happens”. The primary outcome should be to correct identifiable areas of performance. This is not possible if the evaluation is conducted once a year. There’s a whole “universe” of things that may occur in a twelve month period affecting an employee’s job performance.

Cowardly Managers

Managers with little or no “backbone” are commonplace. This again speaks to training or lack thereof. Spineless supervisors may give a blanket satisfactory rating to all employees to keep the peace. Even though poor performing employees are obvious to everyone. When there is no differentiation of performance ratings the credibility of the process suffers.

Like Me Evaluations

Human nature says gravitate to those like me. Since managers are human they can and will respond the same way. They will usually evaluate those in common higher than those who are not. We see managers play favorites all the time. This again is a recipe for bias and discrimination.

Well I don’t want to bore or put you to sleep if I haven’t already ;0)

Stay tuned for;

The “Dirty Thirty” Problems With Employee Performance Reviews! Part 2


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