Human Resources News & Insights

This may surprise you: How much employees hate traditional performance reviews

It probably comes as no surprise that employees and managers are not big fans of traditional performance reviews. But what may surprise you is just how much employees despise these reviews — and how they could be driving top talent out the door. 

In a recent survey by Adobe, 22% of employees admitted to crying as a result of a performance review. So at any given time, more than a fifth of your workforce could be brought to tears as a result of traditional annual performance reviews.

Who’s crying? This may surprise you as well:

  • 25% of men said they’ve cried (compared to just 18% of women), and
  • 34% of Millennials said they’ve cried (compared to just 18% of Gen Xers and 9% of Baby Boomers).

Adobe collected responses from 1,500 office workers.

Driving talent away

What may be even more distributing is how adamant some workers are to get away from companies that still conduct traditional reviews:

  • 37% said they’ve immediately looked at job openings in other companies after a review
  • 52% of men said they’d consider switching jobs because of performance reviews
  • 28% of women said they’d switch jobs
  • 61% of Millennials said they’d switch jobs
  • 36% of Gen Xers said they’d switch jobs, and
  • 15% of Baby Boomers said they’d switch jobs.

In total, 55% of employees said they wished their company would get rid of their formal review processes.

The majority of employees said their company’s reviews are dated, stressful and have no impact on how they do their jobs.

Managers not on board either

The bad news doesn’t just extend to employees. Managers aren’t fans of the review process either — with 66% saying they wish their company would change its current performance review process.

And if your managers aren’t happy about conducting the reviews, it has got to make you question how much effort they’re really putting into making them worthwhile, right?

Some disturbing views from today’s managers:

  • 62% say the performance review process is outdated
  • 61% said the time they spend on performance reviews negatively impacts their ability to do their jobs, and
  • 57% said performance reviews just aren’t effective.

What’s better?

The good news: Employees and managers acknowledge the fact that there needs to be some process in place to gauge how well employees are performing their jobs.

But rather than a traditional review, employees want:

  • feedback in the moment — said 80% of employees (compared to feedback that’s aggregated over a period of months — 20%), and
  • feedback that’s qualitative — said 60% (compared to feedback that has some sort of numeric rating — 40%).

For a visual representation of some of Adobe’s findings, check out the its infographic below:

Source: Adobe.

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