Performance Reviews

It is approaching that most wonderful time of the year; the end of year performance review.

Millions of people over the world are desperately trying to remember their achievements, elicit their strengths and confess their opportunities for improvement.

I have had thirty-five end of year performance reviews, and I did not find even one of them useful. My experience of performance reviews is that employees and front-line managers detest them. They demotivate employees, but for a chosen few, and they tie managers up in weeks of angst, debate, and administration.

Performance management denotes an extensive diversity of undertakings, rules, measures, and interventions proposed to assist employees in improving their performance. These programs begin with performance appraisals. (DeNisi and Murphy 2017). Performance appraisals can be traced back to the U.S. military’s “merit rating” system, fashioned during World War I to identify poor performers for discharge or transfer.(Cappelli and Tavis 2016)

Although performance appraisals are supposedly data-based, the data being the employee’s achievements, strengths, weakness and feedbacks, often the determination of an employee’s performance rating is left to a vague analysis by the employees’ manager who is desperately trying to meet an expected and budgeted for distribution in performance ratings.

Performance managers have to be careful. When managers are sceptical about the performance appraisal process, they are more likely to be regarded as less effective leaders by their seniors. (Brown, Kraimer and Bratton 2019) 

But there is a performance management upheaval going on: many high-profile organisations have dropped their appraisal processes. A key aspect driving transformation in the appraisal process is the opinion that they are not helpful and are, in fact, counterproductive. (Brown, Kraimer and Bratton 2019)

So maybe this is the last year you will have to complete the turgid template:

  • Achievements ( 3 max)
  • Strengths (3 max)
  • Weaknesses/ Areas for growth (list at least 5)


Brown, M., Kraimer, M.L. and Bratton, V.K. 2019. Performance appraisal cynicism among managers: A job demands resources perspective. Journal of Business and Psychology, pp.1-14.

Cappelli, P. and Tavis, A. 2016. The performance management revolution. Harvard Business Review, 94(10), pp.58-67.

DeNisi, A.S. and Murphy, K.R. 2017. Performance appraisal and performance management: 100 years of progress? Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(3), pp.421.

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