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Grow Your Business Your Team

Employees and Managers Give Performance Reviews a Failing Grade

Credit: RawPixel/Shutterstock

In their current format, performance reviews are considered a waste of time by most managers and employees, new research finds.

A study from Adobe found that more than 60 percent of both employees and bosses believe that performance reviews are outdated ways of managing performance.

In addition, nearly 60 percent of employees think traditional reviews have no impact on how they do their job and are a needless HR requirement.

Currently, nearly 90 percent of the U.S. office workers go through structured performance reviews, which include written reviews, often with rankings and ratings, on a required timeline. [See Related Story: Forget Performance Reviews! This Works Better]

For managers, the traditional evaluation process can be quite time-consuming. The research found that, on average, managers spend 17 hours per employee preparing for a performance review.

"The findings from this survey show how time-consuming, cumbersome and demotivating performance reviews are for many employees," Donna Morris, executive vice president of customer and employee experience at Adobe, said in a statement.

The study discovered that the current performance review structure used by many organizations causes a tremendous amount of stress among employees. Nearly 60 percent of employees said performance reviews put them in competition with their co-workers, and 61 percent believe that their ratings and rankings cause their boss to play favorites.

Reviews were found to be especially tough on younger employees. More than one-third of millennials surveyed reported crying after a performance evaluation, while 47 percent said they have looked for another job after a review. Another 30 percent said they have quit a job because of a performance review.

If employers don't change how they conduct evaluations, they could have a hard time holding on to their youngest workers. More than 60 percent of the millennials surveyed said they would move to a new employer that didn't have formal performance reviews, even if their pay and job level remained the same.

Instead of the current formal process, most workers would prefer a collaborative process with more consistent and qualitative feedback. Eighty percent of those surveyed said they would rather get immediate input from their manager than having to wait months for aggregated feedback.

The study found that many workers have a better opinion of employers without traditional reviews. Specifically, 46 percent of those surveyed think that companies that have eliminated reviews are more flexible, while 44 percent believe they have happier employees and 38 percent think they have a more collaborative culture.

The study was based on surveys of 1,500 U.S. office workers.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.