Single(1990) by Depeche Mode
For many managers, now is the time to cram in all those performance evaluations they’ve been putting off. Instead of having conversations on a regular basis about professional development, goals and action plans, the performance appraisal ends up being the major formal discussion of the year.
Words like violence
Break the silence
The goal is to increase the employee’s effectiveness, not to punish him. But apart from the minority of employees who receive the highest ratings, performance reviews are often deflating and do more harm than good.
Painful to me
Pierce right through me
The performance appraisal becomes a one way conversation rather than a true dialogue. The boss seemingly has all the power and sees himself as evaluator while the subordinate becomes the spin doctor saying what he thinks the boss wants to hear.
Feelings are intense
Words are trivial
Since managers tend to avoid talking about problem areas throughout the year, this often carries over to the formal evaluation as well. Direct discussion about weaknesses is replaced with vague generalities and praise is watered down and ambiguous.
Words are meaningless
The company line is that pay is tied to performance. But most jobs have a pay range already in place before someone is hired. Raises are often determined by the boss based on market conditions and departmental budgets more than on the results of the performance evaluation.
Vows are spoken
To be broken
Instead of the year end ‘top down’ performance appraisal, managers should involve employees in decisions that affect them throughout the year. Seek input and feedback from subordinates. Engaging your employees is more meaningful than talking at them during a performance appraisal.
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm
Bosses also need to put some skin in the game with dialogue that holds both parties accountable. Boost bottom-up communication, tap into employee knowledge and increase worker productivity. Listen more and talk less. You might be surprised when employees aren’t complaining as much to each other about your performance evaluation process.
Enjoy the silence
If you have a song suggestion for Sounds of Marketing, please let us know by emailing