Five Reasons Performance Reviews Suck

Every performance review I ever had was a colossal waste of time.
The dust laying on yours indicates it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.
Performance reviews are like Santa Clause, they don’t really deliver. Yet, organizations are filled with true believers who persist in wasting time, demotivating employees, and creating more paperwork.
You’re in the minority if your evaluation produced lasting benefit.
5 Reasons Performance Reviews Suck:
  • You’re never really sure how they’ll turn out.
  • The time between reviews is too long. If you have an annual review, throw it in the garbage. Performance issues that can wait months to be addressed don’t need to be addressed.
  • The “telling myth” is a myth. Telling people what they need to do without providing examples, resources, training, and regular feedback won’t change behaviors.
  • They don’t tie behaviors to organizational values and mission.
  • Reviewers usually focus on behaviors that occurred during recent weeks rather than providing balanced assessments.
5 Suggestions:
  • Make performance reviews public.  At a minimum, transparency should extend to everyone on your team. Everyone knows the stats of athletes, why are we different?
  • Everyone in the organization should see the CEO’s evaluation. Leaders model behaviors.
  • Tie every desired behavior to values and mission. If you can’t recite your values from memory, they aren’t meaningful.
  • Ask employees to provide specific examples of behaviors that support, execute, and enhance the mission.
  • Everyone should see their evaluation before review meetings. No surprises, ever.
A stunning tool:
What comes next is not a paid endorsement.
Yesterday, I spent an hour reviewing “Evaluate to Win.” It solves performance review woes. Jack Welch says, “It’s the best business management tool I’ve ever seen.”
Visit the contact page and drop Ed a note. Tell him Dan sent you.
The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.


Dan---great write up on a topic that continues to get attention. I agree with everything above. However, I am searching for an effective coaching model that gets at continuous feedback and can replace or improve the annual performance review. Ideally the coaching model needs to be suited for people in a professional sales and marketing environment.

Any ideas?

Dan I agree with the premise with one caveat. "Santa Cluse" starring Tim Allen really didn't deliver. Santa Claus the mythical being, really does. Nicely done.

Hi Been,

I'm not ready to jettison the whole review process. However, continuous feedback would take people further than current practices.

You may find the tool "evaluate to win" that I mention in the post useful. I suggest you reach out to them.

Also, feel free to email me for further discussion.

Best to you,


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