Recognise This! — “The enemy you know” isn’t a good enough reason to keep relying on a broken process that demoralises employees.

Eve Tahmincioglu ran a story on MSNBC.com today on just this topic. Jumping off of results from the SHRM/Globoforce Winter 2012 research, Eve pointed out this stat and comment from my CEO, Eric Mosley:

“The poll found that 45 per cent of HR leaders thought reviews weren’t good gauges of a worker’s performance, compared to 39 per cent last year. The increase points to “a more heightened concern from HR leaders about the shortfalls of traditional performance management,” said Globoforce CEO Eric Mosley. “Annual performance reviews continue to be the lightening rod for what’s wrong with traditional performance management,” he added.

Eve went on to cite the much stronger position of Samuel Culbert, author of Get Rid of the Performance Review!: How Companies Can Stop Intimidating, Start Managing – and Focus on What Really Matters. Culbert’s response to why HR sticks with performance reviews they loathe themselves:

“Even though they hate getting and giving reviews and know they are bogus, they are comfortable with it. It’s the enemy they know. … [The HR department gets] much of its power from championing, running and having access to all the reviews. They have a lot of self-interest in preserving this ridiculous, morale-busting and results-damaging practice.”

I wouldn’t go that far. The formal review process can have a place, but only when part of a much more useful and meaningful process of frequent, timely feedback and praise from far more people than just the manager – essentially, crowdsourcing performance management.

My only quibble with Eve’s article is her very last point about needing to play office politics in an environment of crowdsourced performance management. This simply isn’t the case when you’ve developed a true culture of recognition that naturally feeds social performance management.

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