Nov 15, 2005

Revisiting Performance Reviews

Yesterday I wrote about Performance Reviews and raised some questions.

Ram left a comment and raised the point about alignment. I couldn't agree more. He raises the point that to a lot of people performance review=salary change, hence the inherent discomfort (from both sides)

One of the grouses that many managers and employees have about the normal curve distribution of employees is that it seems to be unfair. One first glance they seem to be right. Why should we force-fit employees into a normal curve. Surely sometimes it's possible that a manager can have a majority of employees in the high performance part of the curve, right?

Wrong, dear manager. The normal curve is a 'natural statistic' and therefore impossible to repudiate. Nature arranges itself in the normal curve.

So what does it mean when your employees have all overachieved their goals?
Simple, you've been an ineffective manager and set too easy goals.

The successfactors blog raises the point that if the process is difficult it breeds distaste from us towards the process. I agree, so what can you do as a manager to make it easy to review performance?

Take a look at the goals that you set your team and see if they are too tough, too easy or just right. Setting 'just right' goals is a key competency for managers, and the sooner new managers learn it the better!

Start keeping a weekly log of key performance incidents for each of your direct reports. That way you don't have to rack your brains about what happened the whole year and you won't fall prey to the recency effect.