I seldom dreaded report card day while in school, but found the annual review process in the workplace to be uncomfortable but necessary. In school the report cards started early, were unavoidable, and pretty predictable. In the workplace they were never on schedule, were sometimes filed with Human Resources without any chance for discussion or appeal, and had highly variable measuring scales. It really is no wonder why both employers and supervisors hate the whole process.
Over the years I experienced as many review systems as management training programs. People recognized that both topics needed work but couldn’t seem to get their arms around how to do it.
Perhaps because of my union steward father, I always tried to be “fair” to the people I reviewed. Sometimes that worked out great; other times I got played. Being “fair” put me at risk of being “soft” in management’s eyes, but when properly executed it could be a big win for me, the employee, and the company.
An example that comes to mind: The company president, a fitness buff, rejected my review of a direct report because said employee was a “fat slob who never leaves his desk.” Unlike his co-worker who was always running around the shop. I agreed to investigate further and provide some productivity numbers. It turned out the “fat slob” was out-producing everyone in the department, and the reason he was always at his desk was that his routings worked great the first time. Once made aware of the “facts,” the boss approved the guy’s salary increase — but still thought he needed more exercise.
Eventually I got tired of the six-page psychobabble forms corporate mandated for our use and developed my own, 20-question format that gave me a numerical score. The numerical score was tied to a chart with recommended actions to be taken. In the interest of fairness I even told employees ahead of time what they would be evaluated on. Over the next few blogs I’ll explain how the PEAC (Productivity, Effort, Attitude, & Creativity) system works. As always I look forward to your feedback.