One more reason to hate performance appraisals

Thank you Yahoo.

It’s not as if enough people didn’t already hate performance appraisals and blame them for everything from global warming to ankle warts. Now the management at Yahoo has given us one more reason to blame performance management for the erosion of trust, productivity and collaboration in the world of work.

As outlined in this article from the NY Times, light has been shed on how performance appraisals were done and used at what was once a premier internet company. Reviews were used primarily as a means to fire people and had no connection to employee development or performance improvement using a performance management method commonly known as “Rank-and-Yank” that faded from favor over 15 years ago. Using a forced ranking bell curve to rate employees has been abandoned by more forward thinking companies that formerly used this method. It was found them to have a “corrosive effect on productivity and employee morale.”

Pardon me for repeating myself but performance management must focus on the growth and development of the employee and the workforce to be effective and not seen as punitive. If it’s not a tool for improving performance then please don’t abuse it and your employees by simply using it as a rationale and cover-up for indiscriminate terminations. You’re not really helping yourself or your company and in reality, you’re poisoning the minds of others who might hope and plan to use their performance management systems for good not evil.

If all you want to do is cut heads, get yourself a guillotine, not an appraisal.


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