Performance reviews are a crock of shit
Now that the holidays are over, I need to begin doing the most dreaded of work tasks: performance reviews. Reviews themselves aren't so bad, it's just the whole process that sours me. Most of you know where I work, but I won't divulge the company name here for fear someone will stumble across it in a search. Anyway, let me see if I can sum up what I have to go through...
An elaborate rating system has been put into place to specifically grade each person's characteristics and how they met their objectives for the year. It's based on a grading system from 1-5, with 5 being the best. Although 3 is in the middle, it actually means fully successful. Categories are things like job knowledge, quality of work, teamwork, initiative, etc, then you also also receive grades on whether or not you met your objectives. In the end, it's supposed to give you a good idea of how that person grades out overall. Pretty straightforward, right?
But then upper management tells you that you can only have x amount of 4's in your group and are also required to have at least x amount of 2's (5's and 1's are nearly unheard of). Next thing you know, you're grading your group on a curve and not on their personal objectives and abilities. Now you're going back and lowballing people's performances just so you can keep them from being a 4, or to drop them down to a 2. Management-wise, I understand *why* it's being done...every work group is going to have it's top performers and bottom performers and you can't have people inflating their staff's abilities.
But the whole thing makes me feel dirty. It doesn't allow for groups that have an exceptional amount of good people. In those cases, you're almost pitting the good ones against the bad ones for that one "4" grade. Ever try looking at one of your best people in the eyes during a review and telling them they had a "fully successful" year ("average" to them)? It's not pretty and it's demoralizing.