Posted by: Matthew Molinari | March 7, 2011

Arrow Performance Review (Blog #7)

I’m not quite sure what Arrow was looking for from their performance reviews. It seemed like they were more interested in getting the results they expected rather than the results they were actually getting. It does sound like the Manager’s giving the reviews were afraid to be completely honest but the VP was also unwilling to accept results that didn’t match his expectations of what results should be.

Should everyone in the organization get 4’s and 5’s? Probably not. Should there be a formula to determine that everyone should get a certain amount of each number? Probably not. I certainly don’t agree with the rule that every employee was required to get at least one 2 on the review.

Arrow basically created a system that forced the Manager’s to create results on the reviews to support decisions that were being made. If an employee needed a raise, the manager gave them high marks to justify it. If a Manager saw a good employee might leave, they were instructed to give them a good review to persuade them to stay.

The review was set up to justify the end results rather than behaviors earning a negative or positive review. An employee could have the same performance two years in a row and get much different scores based on the Manager’s discretion.

The other big issue facing Arrow was consistency and training Manager’s to be honest with employees. The typical Manager had a very hard time telling employees what they were bad at and giving them a low score meant the Manager would have to do this. By giving everyone a good score, the Manager was avoiding having to tell employees what they weren’t good at which also meant the Manager wasn’t really managing everyone.

If all the employees were doing a perfect job, that meant the managers could be rewarded for running their departments well. Having employees scoring a 1 or 2 meant the Managers had some work to do and needed to start creating a system that would allow the employees to improve. That sounds like a lot of work, it’s much easier just to give everyone 5’s and collect your yearly raise.

Arrow really needed to realize it wasn’t the managers to blame for poor results on the surveys but really the surveying system that was set up. There was no structure or order to the program. The truth on the survey came second to showing HR what they expected to see and I’m not sure what they could really learn from that.

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