Get Rid of the Performance Review!

Emma De Vita reviews Samuel Culbert's latest book

Show me a manager who enjoys giving an appraisal. Scratching your head? Well, you're not the only one. In his new book Get Rid of the Performance Review!, Samuel Culbert asks: "What does every organisation do that is guaranteed to lower morale, destroy teamwork, eliminate honesty in the workplace and reduce productivity?"

The answer, dummy, is the annual performance review. Bosses hate it and employees dread it, but the review remains a bastion of management and HR practice. But why should that be, asks Culbert - isn't there a better alternative?

Yes, and it's called the "performance preview". Unlike a review, a preview doesn't happen on a particular day once a year; instead, it's dictated by need. The one-sided, boss-dominated review is replaced by a straight-talking relationship during which both parties ask each other: "What can I do to make us work together better?"

Instead of finding faults, managers should concentrate on achieving the right results positively and collaboratively. And they shouldn't measure performance against an ideal - they should celebrate their differences. This all sounds incredibly sensible - isn't it time for a change?

- Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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