This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

3 Ways to Make Employee Reviews Less Terrible

It turns out no employee, even those most motivated to learn, like those critical performance reviews. employment, job reviews, job performance, job performance reviews, negative performance review, bad performance reviews

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Do job performance reviews help? A 2012 study from AccountTemps says 94% of company chief financial officers call formal job reviews either "somewhat or very effective" in aiding employee performance. But only 31% of employees believe the same thing.

It's the employees that may be on to something, according to a study on employee performance reviews in the Journal of Personnel Psychology.

The study, by Kansas State University business management professor Satoris Culbertson with help from researchers at Eastern Kentucky University and Texas A&M, shows that no employee -- "even people who are motivated to learn" -- sees negative performance reviews in a positive light.

Culbertson and his staff established some basic sketches of employees based on their workplace performance habits:

  • "Learning goal-oriented people" like to learn for the sake of learning and often pursue challenges despite setbacks.
  • "Performance-prove goal-oriented people" want to prove they are competent to perform a job.
  • "Performance-avoid goal-oriented people" want to avoid looking foolish.

While all three groups say they disapproved of employee reviews, what surprised Culbertson was that even learning goal-oriented staffers, who would seemingly welcome feedback designed to help them perform better, and add more value to their careers, hated job reviews, too.

"Surprisingly, we found that learning-oriented people were just as dissatisfied with an appraisal that had negative feedback as the performance-oriented people were," Culbertson says. "Nobody likes to get negative feedback -- even those individuals who aren't trying to prove anything to others, but instead are just trying to learn as much as possible."

A big problem is that too many managers come off heavy-handed in job reviews and lose sight of what matters most: the elevation and motivation of employees in the workplace.

It's a problem so big that the entire job review system should be changed.

"It is not so much that the performance review needs to be abolished, but we need to fix what is broken," Culbertson says. "Instead of limiting ourselves to formal performance appraisals conducted once or twice a year, we need to think about performance management as a system that is linked with the strategy of the entire organization."

That strategy relies on regular, ongoing reviews. "We can actually make the most out of the system," Culbertson said. "But if we are only going to have once-a-year evaluations, we shouldn't expect it to work."

What else can management do to improve job performance reviews? Culbertson has some ideas:

Offer constructive feedback. This seems like a real no-brainer, but way too many managers go negative with job reviews. "Negative feedback is not the same as constructive feedback," Culbertson says. "We should be careful that negative feedback is provided in a way that is more constructive because it can help people try to improve."

Check the numbers. Many forms offer numbers-based reviews, with staffers earning a figure based on a 1-to-5 scale. Even if management gives an employee gives an employee "four stars," that employee may view it as a negative if she was expecting a five-star review. "This is where our words are really powerful," Culbertson says. "We want to make sure we are conveying to employees whether we are giving a good evaluation or describing something that needs to improve."

Hold off on the "sandwich." Another common mistake: Managers who offer positive feedback, then negative, then positive again. "Sometimes the sandwich approach comes across as dishonest or not something that people will buy," Culbertson adds.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,942.84 -140.96 -0.83%
S&P 500 1,978.42 -9.56 -0.48%
NASDAQ 4,447.5430 -24.5650 -0.55%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs