Tuesday, October 11, 2016

On Training, Teaching (Part VII) and Performance Reviews (October)

One performance review down and how many more to follow?  Not that it was a bad review; actually the review was pretty darn decent and I should be proud of it (yes I realize … some shameless self-promotion here), but you wonder what the use is of these annual rituals.  I always come out of these things with a bad taste in my mouth.  In private industry they were tied to promotions, raises and bonuses, and I did not believe in them back then; and let’s not talk about raises for State employees.

In a 2012 article in Forbes Magazine 2% of 645 human resources managers thought that performance reviews accomplished anything useful.  It got better, 57 % of the CEOs thought that their employees were regularly recognized for their hard work and contributions versus 9% of the employees who agreed with the CEOs.  In 2014 Josh Patrick wrote a blog in the New York Times entitles “10 Reasons Performance Reviews Don’t Work.”  Yes, I see myself in that.  I managed people and I had to review them, and it was very difficult to be honest without upsetting people or making them angry (No. 9); buy-in was always an issue (from them and from me in reviews of me) (No. 8); what follow up? (No. 6); I was never trained or given any guidance by HR in doing performance reviews (No. 3); and let’s not talk about results after a performance review (No.1).  The others did also apply, but you get the idea. 

This is a copy of a picture from an interesting article for people stepping into a performance review.  Guess what?  This is not what you do, although like me you might have felt like flipping it.

So what should be done?  I am in no way an expert or a human resources manager.  I only know what motivates me, that is: I would prefer regular feedback.  Moreover, that is regular positive or maybe constructive feedback and compliments on achievements.  But isn’t this the case for everyone?  But the forced ranking that is being done everywhere just does not work, even if it is hidden in a nice essay; you still have that ranking somewhere on the side. 

I have always been a strong believer in doing everything to the best of my ability and giving it the full 110%, in particular in my current job, where I get to teach and help to protect the environment.  I teach with the attitude that I succeed in my job today if I really educate one of two persons in my class today and they take what I taught  home and spread the word (or be a changed person).  Yes, I probably have 36 other students looking at Facebook on their phones while I teach and the remaining two probably cruising porn sites, but so be it; if I can really motivate two in a class of forty, I am happy.  That keeps me going and that is why I do the best job I can do.  I don’t need any performance reviews for that, my students write reviews of my classes at the end of the day and those are important to me.

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