Employees are strongly dissatisfied with the rigid system that is used to evaluate their performance. This is unfortunate as the company’s main focus is to help each employee grow and develop as an individual but in fact it underlies frustration for employees. Why are employees so resentful about the way they are evaluated despite the fact that performance evaluation is meant to boost employees’ motivation and to keep them focused on their goals?

More often than not, performance management is perceived by the employees as a pitfall where managers are looking to gauge their abilities on a specific task or to compare them to their peers. Evaluations such as these which are done on an annual basis have become so unpleasant and stressful for employees that it defeats its purpose. Companies and responsibilities are advancing at a breakneck pace today, requiring employees to constantly upgrade their skills. Therefore, a once-a-year review is neither beneficial for an employee nor for a company in this rapidly changing environment.  

How to get your company to shift away from such a failed system to one that uplifts employee motivation?

Refocus on personal development instead of being directive and telling people what to do swaps out the typical performance management evaluation methods. Employees don’t want to be simply told what to do or to be compared with others in performance reviews. They assess conversations as more accurate when they are more on depth, quality and based on their abilities and skills they need to develop. Frequent conversations with short, simple and powerful action words enhances these conversations.

Being transparent by giving as much clarity as you can on how employees are rated will make employees feel comfortable and make them understand the reason behind such evaluations. This galvanizes employees to engage themselves better and helps develop personal growth drastically. 

The onus is on managers to understand that there are two mindsets. One being the fixed mindset and the other being the growth mindset. The first one outlines an attitude that is unchangeable or incapable of improvement so it implies that any talent or intelligence an employee possess are set traits. The second mindset defines skills and abilities that can be developed through hard work and dedication. This attitude denotes that any talent an employee has is a starting point and not a limit to their success. Managers should inculcate this growth mindset in every employee and also have it in mind to help them grow.

Typical evaluations are usually done by comparing an employee’s performance to another. Unfortunately, comparisons done with another solely frustrates employees. Performance comparisons are perceived as more accurate when evaluations of current performance are compared to previous performances. Employees have the impression that managers are focusing on them as an individual instead of treating them like another face in the crowd. Hence, evaluations are perceived as more genuine as it is individualized and incorporates specific information about each employee.

Bear in mind that performance reviews are to be done in congruence on topics that are important to the employees and the company’s success. This focuses energy on meaningful performance conversation with employees as evaluations are based on their specific talent for the company. Consequently, fairness is perceived and this is at the heart of enhancing employees’ work experience. Employees feel specifically included and respected when they perceive fairness in evaluation processes. Therefore, they accept their evaluation and digest the information contained in the evaluation to motivate themselves accordingly.