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Managerial Problems with the Performance Review Process

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Managerial Problems with

the Performance Review Process

Most employees do not look forward to performance reviews neither do managers like to give them. But in today’s companies, performance reviews are a necessary tool. They are used to promote employees, to compensate for jobs well done, and most of all, to allow for the employee to know how well they perform. Due to poor performance reviews, many employees are terminated each year. Many of these terminations are contributed to poor decision making on the part of the manager performing the review.

The first problem associated with managers is that the standards for which the employee must meet are not clear and concise. The employee should understand exactly what is expected when hired. Many times this is not the case. Inadequate training and unclear expectations leave employees with a lot of uncertainty regarding what is expected. Expectations should be clearly stated and there must be adequate job training. Employees should be able to repeat these standards and be expected to follow them. The standards should be written down to allow for the employee to sign and receive a copy stating exactly what was expected and that the employee understood what was expected. This signed document can always be used later if disciplining the employee is necessary for failure to comply.

The second issue is primacy error. (Ostrow, 2006). Primacy error occurs when the manager’s opinion of someone from the beginning never changes regardless if the employee shows improvement. This is allowing first impressions by the manager to make decisions regarding an employee’s performance review. Managers need to allow for the performance of the employee to direct their decision making on the evaluations. If someone shows improvement, the performance review should reflect this. Too many times this is not the case. Some managers seem to display the attitude of once a bad employee, always a bad employee.

The third problem is that employees do not realize there is a problem until the yearly performance review. Good managers should observe the performance of the employee throughout the year and provide corrective feedback as soon as problems occur; not just once a year. If the employee is doing something that the manager finds unacceptable, and is not corrected, the employee will feel it is an acceptable action. A follow-up meeting should occur in the near future to allow the manager and employee to see how things are going after corrective feedback is given.

The fourth problem is that managers are too vague about problems dealing with employees and that the employees were not really sure what to do to correct the problem. The manager must provide detailed feedback in order for the employee to correct the issue. The manager should focus on a single problem and work out a specific solution that is attainable by the employee. Some problems may be a trait or a habit of the individual that may not be correctable. Managers should not allow for their biases regarding an employee to get in the way of the real problem at hand.

The fifth problem associated with managers is that documentation of the problems connected with the employees was poor and sometimes non-existing. What would you rather have when the time comes to prepare for a wrongful discharge allegation: your memory of three years of events against those of your employee, or three years of detailed employee evaluations that showed continued performance problems? (Margrave, 2000, p. 13). Management must be able to provide clearly, written documentation that states the time, date, and the actions of the employee. Without accurate documentation, there’s no history of the action occurring. Upon discipline of an employee, or even termination, all documentation of the employee will need to be reviewed. Without a paper trail, the manager’s complaints will not be justifiable. If an employee is terminated and the case goes to court, attorneys will ALWAYS request the documentation to prove that termination was justified; otherwise the case will be dismissed and the employee’s job reinstated.

The sixth problem is

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