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Employees Are More Likely to Consider Quitting After an 'Unfair' Performance Review

Andrew Martins
Andrew Martins

Newly released data shows that an "unfair" performance review could lead to lost talent.

  • 92% of 1,000 U.S. workers polled want feedback about their job performance more frequently than once a year.
  • 85% would consider quitting their jobs if they felt their performance review was unfair.
  • 64% said they received helpful feedback from their performance evaluation.

Fair, frequent and accurate feedback from a higher-up is important to employees, according to a newly released study. In fact, it's so important that a vast majority of American workers polled earlier this year by people-management platform Reflektive said they would leave a job if they received an "unfair" job review.

Of the more than 1,000 U.S. employees polled in Reflektive's survey, 85% said an unfair job review would push them to consider quitting altogether. Of that group, more than half said they were either "very likely" or "extremely likely" to think about leaving the company.

When it comes to performance reviews, researchers found that accuracy is also important, as more than one-third of respondents said an inaccurate review was the "least likely [thing] to tolerate in the workplace." If an inaccurate review didn't force them to quit, 25% said they felt an inaccurate review caused them to miss a promotion.

These issues not only cause friction in the workplace but could also hit a business's bottom line, according to Rachel Ernst, vice president of employee success at Reflektive.

"Employees crave accurate, growth-oriented feedback – and they don't want to wait until an annual job review to get it," she said. "When employees receive regular attention, recognition, and guidance on how to improve from their managers, they tend to be more engaged and productive. They often stay with their employers longer and work harder, decreasing recruitment and retention costs."

For employees, career growth matters almost as much as pay

Unsurprisingly, 58% of respondents said the most important factor they consider when choosing a new employer is how much they'll be paid. The same percentage of respondents also said a company's benefits and vacation packages were additional important factors to consider.

More than half of the respondents also said they needed career growth and meaningful work when looking for a new job. Those numbers reflect other studies that show money is nice, but other things contribute to an employee's happiness as well.

While compensation is a major factor for choosing one employer over another, low pay and a lack of promotions were among the top reasons why respondents said they'd quit their jobs in the past. In that same vein, of the 24% of respondents who said they wanted to quit their current jobs, 34% either said they wanted to leave because they "didn't feel valued" or were "not being paid enough." Another 31% said they wanted to leave because there were no chances to advance their career.

Frequent feedback leads to happier workers

Knowing where they stand within a company, as well as how your manager views the quality of their work and where they can improve, is incredibly important to workers. According to Reflektive's survey, 92% of respondents said they "prefer to receive feedback more often than once a year." Rather than hear about their performance on a yearly or quarterly basis, 49% said they would prefer to hear from their managers at least weekly, while 72% said they'd like monthly feedback.

When it came to how they viewed reviews, 64% said they received "helpful feedback" as a result of the review process. Another 45% said they felt reviews gave them some "good face time" with managers, and 41% said reviews have helped them understand "what they need to do to get promoted."

That's not to say that reviews were always held in high regards. Researchers were told by approximately 54% that employees had been overlooked for a promotion for unknown reasons. Nearly one-quarter said they didn't receive a promotion because of inaccurate information on their performance review. Others cited other causes for not receiving promotions, with 36% placing the blame on managerial changes and 28% blaming bias and favoritism.

Inaccurate performance reviews cause frustration for workers

When employees believe that their performance reviews were unfair or inaccurate, they feel disengaged and disenfranchised. When that happens, they become more likely to quit and seek retaliation against managers for a perceived slight.

According to researchers, poorly managed and inaccurate reviews can sometimes lead to bombastic exits that impact worker morale. Researchers' data suggests that 51% of the respondents who said they intended to quit wanted to leave "in a blaze of glory."

What that means, according to the study, was that 78% intended to create an "I Quit" video for social media, 18% said they would "bad-mouth their coworkers, boss or company," while another 12% planned on exposing company secrets.

"Without frequent and well-rounded feedback, bias creeps in, and people become disengaged and consider leaving their companies," Ernst said. "Creating a culture of feedback that implements a modernized performance review structure based on data helps to eliminate these costly problems."

Image Credit: ArtFamily/Shutterstock
Andrew Martins
Andrew Martins
Business News Daily Staff
Andrew Martins has written more than 300 articles for and Business News Daily focused on the tools and services that small businesses and entrepreneurs need to succeed. Andrew writes about office hardware such as digital copiers, multifunctional printers and wide format printers, as well as critical technology services like live chat and online fax. Andrew has a long history in publishing, having been named a four-time New Jersey Press Award winner.