Annual Performance Reviews And New Year's Resolutions: #TChat Preview

Happy 2012. It’s a new year and gyms are crowded with earnest people committed to losing 20 pounds; bakery and donut sales are off; employees are promising themselves they’ll work smarter, not harder; forced cheeriness and politeness are on the rise. These behavior changes – most (Research tells us this btw. I hope yours last all year-WINK) of which will last about ten days – are part of the annual expiation we lump under the heading ‘New Year’s resolutions’.

In the spirit of resolve, commitment and change typical of the New Year we chose performance reviews for this week’s TalentCulture #TChat. Annual performance reviews are like New Year’s resolutions: they are well-meant, often poorly thought-out, seldomwell-executed and almost never result in positive behavioral change. Most of us think about them once a year – around a service anniversary – and put them aside as quickly as possible.

Workplace Leaders and HR Managers procrastinate and obsess over wording while employees wait in dread for the annual litany of shortcomings. Arguably no one learns from this annual penance. So why do we do them? Is it for legal protection for the employer? Is it a government regulation? Is it a legitimate and well-intentioned effort to encourage good performance? Or is it just a bad habit companies have, one they can’t seem to break? I pondered and I still ponder today.

Here are a couple of hints: it’s not a government regulation. And studies show performance appraisals often do not provide adequate legal protection for companies dealing with performance management issues. In fact, appraisals can harm a company’s prospects in court – and they often lead to negative behaviors in the workplace.

My #1 rule for performance appraisals is No Surprises, but from what I hear from candidates and leaders alike that’s seldom what happens. I’m an advocate of a continual appraisal process because we live in a highly-social, interconnected media world where everything happens in the moment. I’ll be sharing my views as we launch the first TChat of 2012 to explore ways in which companies can end the ritual damage inflicted on employees and the organization by poorly conceived and executed performance reviews.

Here are the questions we’ll be discussing this week. Please take some time to read these great articles from our talented friends if you find the time. Tweet, Tweet. Catch you soon.

Q1: How do you define “performance review”?
Read: Performance Reviews That Don’t Suck by Kris Dunn

Q2: Why are performance reviews important (beyond lip service)? Why not?
Read: Talent Management Insanity, or Why the Performance Appraisal Must Die by Jason Lauritsen
Read: In Defense of Performance Reviews by Mike Carden

Q3: What other performance feedback tools do organizations administer and why?
Read: Social Performance Management Goes Mainstream in 2012 by Karen Caruso

Q4: What types of HR software make for the best kind of performance management?
Read: Social Media: A Good Inside Job Keeps Employees in Their Jobs from HROToday 

Q5: How have “social” HR performance management systems like Rypple (now Salesforce) and Achievers changed the landscape?
Read: Social Media: A Good Inside Job Keeps Inside Employees in Their Jobs by Brent Skinner

Join the conversation on Twitter (remember we have a new time) this Wednesday night from 7-8pm ET (6-7 CT, 5-6 MT, 4-5 PT or whatever GLOBAL time zone you’re in). I (@MeghanMBiro) will be tweeting along with our very own @KevinWGrossman @MarenHogan @SocialMediaSean and @KyleLagunas – See you there!