Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What if Employees Reviewed Their Managers?

Over the years I have written a lot of performance reviews, received a number of reviews, and read a lot of reviews written about my clients. Performance reviews can provide valuable feedback to an employee, identifying areas for development, supporting the employee’s strengths, and positioning the employee for future growth. Of course, some performance reviews are better than others. For every well written, informative employee review there is one with a poorly written, unclear message that is full of grammatical errors, misspelled words, and improper syntax all targeting the employee’s poor communication skills.

Or, the review might point out the lack of customer focus in the employee’s daily work, which might be meaningful if the author of the review was not well known for routinely mocking customer requests.

I could go on but I think the message is clear. In some cases the manager writing the review may not be the best person to comment on the employee’s skills. It might be because they are unqualified to comment, or it might be that the skills required are not actually being modeled by the manager. In either case, the result might be a review that is somewhat less than helpful to the employee.

But this scenario made me wonder what would happen if we allowed employees to routinely provide performance reviews to their manager. Obviously the employees would not be qualified to rate their managers in all categories, but they could certainly provide valuable insights into key indicators like “matching employee talents and skills to job requirements”, “creates a motivating environment”, and “managing the workload”.

By providing feedback to their managers on these key categories, employees could help their managers uncover the blind spots that are holding them back in their career. It would also provide a mechanism for feedback to management that is clearly lacking in today’s business world.

Imagine how those managers who today routinely abuse employees might behave differently if they knew that these same employees would be providing input that would be reviewed by their boss. Managers who routinely make rash, arbitrary decisions might be inclined to rethink their behavior knowing that these decisions would be readily reviewed.

A few companies today use 360° reviews to get input from their managers. This does provide a mechanism for employees to provide valuable feedback to the company. But most companies who perform these reviews do them only once every couple of years and they lack a clear mechanism for follow through.

So let’s ask the question: For all levels of the organization should the employees be allowed to provide input into their manager’s reviews? What do you see as the pros and cons of allowing such input?

I’ll be interested in reading your thoughts.

I hope that you enjoyed this article. At ECI Learning Systems LLC we are dedicated to improving productivity and profitability by creating engaged organizations. Our unique combination of training and personalized coaching, combined with our expertise in assessments allow us to create a development plan tailored for your success.

Until next time.....

Dave Meyer
ECI Learning Systems, LLC

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