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Should You Get Rid of IT Staff Performance Reviews?

The five-point grading scale that CIOs use to assess employees may be seeing its final days. This is the conclusion reached by John Brandon of Computerworld after the multinational consulting firm Accenture announced it would be scrapping the annual performance review as of September, 2015. Accenture will join Microsoft and Deloitte in replacing performance reviews with regular after-project evaluations.

Five-Point Backfire

Bosses working in “ivory towers” who may know nothing of a manager or team’s actual activities are still using annual 1 – 5 point rating scales for their staff. If this doesn’t sound particularly effective, consider (in your experience) the way in which employees tend to react to the reviews. Blowing the roof off of someone’s work performance tends to create feelings of resentment. Resentful people aren’t as cooperative, or as willing to change and improve their work behavior:

You have to ask yourself: What is the real goal of a performance review system for IT workers? I remember thinking at the time that the people who did really well within the performance review system just knew how to brag and speak up for themselves. They were showy about their accomplishments. The managers around me didn’t seem to be trained in recognizing whether the IT employees were actually completing their objectives. For some reason, we worked really hard tracking their time but didn’t really track their performance.

The healthy alternative to a diet of yearly performance reviews is a daily and weekly helping of continual feedback directly from a management team, a team who understands the nitty-gritty of day-to-day project activities. Heaps of consistent, constructive feedback is the true driving engine of employee improvement. Don’t let anyone rate you otherwise.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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