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Thread: Employee Reviews: Helpful or Harmful

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    Default Employee Reviews: Helpful or Harmful

    Almost every company for which I've worked has had some form of employee review. I've been on both ends as the one being reviewed and the one doing the review. Most of the time the review process has been so rigid and stylized that I didn't find it all that helpful.

    What do the rest of you think? Do you think employee reviews are helpful? Have you ever gotten good advice that helped you from an employee review? If you were the one being reviewed, what would you like to learn from the process?

    I have to review someone who works for me soon, and I'm thinking about pushing for a different format. Some feedback on what might work would be extremely helpful.

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    A review by a supervisor or upper management whom you have no respect for, is a joke. I once had a supervisor who was so full of himself that it made the process nauseating. The guy was a kiss ass and a moron.

    it's all about respect.

    I would like to know that management recognizes my strengths as well as my flaws as well as what it's going to take to get me to the next level.

    Hope that helps and good luck,

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    I never found them helpful, but I think it was more the rigid structure imposed and perhaps the person doing the review more than the idea itself. Feedback is very important, but I don't know that it needs to be formalized. I'd rather not have to wait 6 months or a year to get feedback. When I finish a project just let me know what I did well and what I didn't do well and I'll do better the next time.
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    I've always thought that a less formal structure works best. I like to give immediate feedback and talk about projects as soon as they're completed. That way everything is still fresh in everyone's mind.

    Besides, if we're honest about it, even though most reviews say that you're being evaluated on a whole year, you're really being evaluated on what you've done in the last few weeks. I dont' k now any managers who maintain a review file over the course of a year.

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    In a bigger organization, a formalized review process can serve a number of different functions. For one, there are legal reasons why having well-documented reviews can protect an employer (or sometimes cause a problem for the employer if the employer takes an action inconsistent with the written record).

    From an employee's standpoint, I have found that many managers are not good at providing ANY feedback and will suffer subpar performance quietly until they can't take it any more. Then, they decide the only solution is to fire the employee. A formalized review structure forces these managers to at least conduct a review. Still, I have found that even with a formal structure, they often sugarcoat the review and downplay the areas that need improvement. That is one reason why many organizations have detailed checklists that a review needs to cover.

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    Well my last formal review as an employee really sparked the process of coming home for good.

    When things I saw as totally positive attributes were marked as negatives, it made me realize I was no longer fit to be an employee anymore. So I started increasing my freelance work. It took 10 months before I'd built up enough business to feel safe about walking away...

    The way I saw it, I was on 100% commission so they weren't really my employers, my clients were. They didn't like that attitude much...

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    a formalized review process can serve a number of different functions
    That's true. They are about more than just giving an employee feedback. Ultimately the quality of the feedback depends on who's giving that feedback. For it was never that I minded the formal feedback so much as I didn't find it helpful as feedback. Often a lot of what would be discussed really wouldn't apply to the job and I think they can lead to people performing their jobs to the review as opposed to the job.

    A good mix is the annual or semi-annual review filled with a lot of informal feedback in between.
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    David, you are right, reviews do serve a legal and administrative purpose, and as such have value. I don't think that reviews themselves should be abolished, I just take issue with how reviews are currently conducted at a lot of companies. I don't see how the formalized process contributes a lot to helping an employee understand how to improve or what areas they need to work on. I think a lot of times the review process becomes so fossilzed that it is no long helpful for either the employer or the employee.

    I'd like to see the structure of employee reviews change. I'm not sure into what, yet, but I'm thinking about it.

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    I found reviews extremely useful. Like Patrysha, they let me know - without any doubt - that I really don't fit in, and am much better taking things into my own hands.

    Long live the review
    Dan Furman - Copywriter, Business Author, Entrepreneurial/Business Consultant
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    Funny. I think they helped me realize the same.
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