Common myths and misconceptions about performance reviews

Post by
Karthick Sundar
Common myths and misconceptions about performance reviews

Have you faced performance reviews? Ever wondered why do we need them?

Often, we can't see ourselves objectively and judge our performance. But unless we know what needs to be improved or is done well, we can't do better. That is why managers come to the rescue and provide direction as well as feedback throughout the year.

Performance management is a collaborative approach to letting all employees take charge of their careers. The most successful performance management systems involve and consider all perspectives: those from managers, customers, peers, performers, and partners.

However, there are some misconceptions about performance management formed over the years. These myths need to be busted. So here we go -

Myth 1: Goals should be set at the beginning of the year and should not be revisited.

Fact: Adapting is now an enormous part of performance management. With new developments come new projects, new priorities, and new goals. That's why they need to be reassessed constantly to reflect company and client changes.

Myth 2: Performance management works best when it focuses solely on the individual.

Fact: Performance management is not limited to the manager and employee. It is collaborative. It creates transparency and openness. Everything from ideas, goals, and feedback is shared and recognized by a team and not just management.

Myth 3: Performance reviews are focused only on the negatives.

Fact: Much opposed to the popular belief, performance management is about employees feeling supported in removing performance barriers, acknowledging their strengths, and defining future goals and is not about emphasizing a person's weaknesses.

The key is the relationship between the staff members and manager and the style of the performance management discussion.

Myth 4: Only managers talk, and employees listen.

Fact: managers have many sources of information to get a complete picture of an employee's performance to ensure that it's not just their own subjective opinion.

In fact, most times, the employees gather feedback and drive the process themselves. This way, everyone feels that performance reviews are fair and transparent.

Myth 5: Performance reviews are once a year thing.

Fact: Traditionally, performance reviews used to be conducted once or twice a year. But today, many organizations are recognizing the need for the traditional appraisal to be replaced by ongoing performance management conversations.

Myth 6: Everyone's assessment scores are almost similar.

Fact: This is not true. Performance appraisal scores vary across individuals. Comparing employees can have its disadvantages, but there is no guarantee that assessment scores will be similar across a company or even a team or a department.

Myth 7: Performance reviews are to identify good and bad performers.

Fact: There's more to a performance review than just identifying the top performers and the underperformers. It is a process where the organization can let its employees know that they are invested in their careers and their role in the company's growth. A well-structured performance review process helps employees get closer to their goals.

Myth 8: Good performers will stick to be rockstars; bad performers will always be bad.

Fact: There is no guarantee that individuals who are good performers one year would be good performers the following year as well. The same goes for poor performers.

The workforce today is constantly evolving, which requires upskilling and learning every day. Hence, it only makes sense what works today may not work tomorrow. Therefore, there is no way to tell how a good or bad performer will perform the following year.

On a wrapping note

Performance management is complex. It is something that takes time to build and refine. Nowadays, many resources help develop performance management skills - training courses, books, and company advisors, such as senior managers and HRs.

The myths mentioned above are a result of outdated management thinking. Effective performance management systems today have challenged them. All we need to do now is participate actively and spread awareness about the new performance management system.

What misconceptions have you come across?