The book is interesting and certainly author Culbert is very passionate about the subject. At times, that passion can translate into a bit of belligerence when, really, if you have bought the book he's likely already convinced you by the first page. As with most of these types of HR books, the author seems to stretch the topic as far as possible (it might have sufficed as a white paper!) and there is a lot of rhetoric and then a few examples. I'm always interested in practice rather than theory but I had no doubt that Culbert knew the subject well and had some great ideas in there for better HR evaluation and incentive practices.
In almost 15 years in HR I've seen many different performance evaluation situations: - ranging from 1 page to 5 pages - some that require extensive written feedback, some that require almost none - evaluations that have all the text auto-entered for the manager when they click on a rating level in each category - I've had managers who deliver reviews in person/on phone to all of their employees and managers who only put it in writing and send it to the employee (despite guidelines to verbally deliver) - I've had managers who answer phone calls during the performance evaluation discussion with their employee. - evaluations that say illegal or inappropriate things, like "because she was on medical leave for four months, I didn't promote her." - employees who visit my office to say their manager just gave them a bad review and it's the first they've ever heard that there was a problem - evaluations that speak glowingly of employees, then two months later the manager comes to you and says they've had it and the employee must be fired immediately - My own manager in HR invited me out to lunch to deliver my review. Does ANYONE want to eat while getting their evaluation, even if it's all good?
So yes, there are a lot of problems out there with performance reviews. However, if you do it RIGHT, you don't have the problems above. Have the right tool (online peer evaluation for example) and train your managers well, and performance evaluations will serve all the purposes they should.
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