The recent article by Tara Parker-Pope looks at a variety of studies about the causes of workplace stress. Ms. Pope recognizes the obvious suspects – “long hours, bad bosses, office bullies” — and then cites clinical psychologist Samuel A. Culbert, author of “Get Rid of the Performance Review!” Mr. Culbert argues that performance evaluations create high levels of stress for workers and are so dependent on the supervisor-worker relationship as to be meaningless.
Evil Skippy applauds. “Yay! No more evaluations! Let supervisors rejoice across the land!”
Not so fast.
I agree with Mr. Culbert that some evaluations can be meaningless, but in my humble opinion the more common culprit for the problem is the supervisor’s lack of effort. Honest, accurate and specific communications about performance are not meaningless. My post, “Daily Performance Management – ‘I.T.S.’ Fundamental,” shows how to make such communications an easy and effective habit.
Evil Skippy wants the keyboard. Against my better instincts, here’s Skippy:
Top Ten Performance Evaluation Tips
1. Give Everyone a “Satisfactory” Ranking
Why bother with a “needs to improve” score? That just means you would have to come up with an improvement plan and you have enough work to do as it is. Besides, everyone knows that “satisfactory” is an insult so they know it really means “needs to improve”. It might be embarrassing to read the dictionary definition of “satisfactory” out loud during your deposition when the employee sues for wrongful termination, but I’m sure a smart supervisor like you can explain why you fired a “satisfactory” employee.
2. Write the evaluations the evening before they are due.
It’s not like “real work”, so why spend too much time? You know how everyone is doing so you can dash these off while you watch The Office. Just because you know all year when the evaluations will be due does not mean there is any need to plan ahead.
3. Wait until the evaluation meeting to bring up problems.
Everyone likes a surprise, right? The look on an employee’s face when you bring up some incident from seven months earlier – especially when you never mentioned the event before – is priceless.
4. Be entertaining.
If evaluations are so stressful, why not make it easier with a few jokes? Pregnant employees especially like comments such as “wide load” and “beach ball.”
5. Don’t bother with notes.
You work with these people, so you know what you want to say. Just wing it. If you can’t think of specific examples without referring to notes, the examples must not be very good. If you include a wrong fact or two, the employee will probably let you know. Tell them you inserted the mistake on purpose to make sure they are paying attention.
6. If the employee had a great year except for last month, tear them apart in the review.
If they whine about the eleven months of stellar work, just remind them, “That was then and this is now.”
7. If the employee had a terrible year except for last month, give a glowing review.
After all, they are doing well now and the review is dated today. This will be so much easier for you – you don’t have to describe a bunch of problems.
8. Don’t encourage feedback.
You’re the boss. If the employee starts talking, just glare at them until they stop.
9. In the “goals” section, just cut and paste whatever you wrote last year.
Also, be sure to blame the employee for not meeting those goals. If they try to place any fault with you, just glare at them until they stop.
10. Distribute the evaluations and tell your employees that you will be glad to discuss anything that they don’t understand.
This cuts down on meeting time. Anyone who asks to meet with you should be marked down in competency levels since they did not “understand.”
Yep, just follow that advice and every work day can be an Evil Skippy kind of day. Did he leave anything out?