Articles & Media

Should Performance Reviews Be Abolished?


By Hugh McPhail, Q.C.

As counsel for employers, we tend to have bad experiences with performance reviews. They rarely help and often hurt our case when we are defending or advising on proposed discipline or discharges.

The following is a link to an article (that was recently published in HR Magazine) written by a partner in one of the leading U.S. employment law firms that is a thought-provoking and thorough review of this topic.

The author makes the following points, among others:

  • Performance reviews are frequently less than candid, particularly in communicating negative messages.
  • Performance reviews are frequently not objective, timely, or consistent.
  • Some performance topics cannot be included in reviews for fear of discrimination claims.
  • Performance reviews are wasteful of resources and fail to produce their intended results.
  • Importantly, performance reviews are usually used against employers in employment litigation and rarely in their favour.
  • Instead of formal performance reviews, employers would be better served by having supervisors provide ongoing feedback to employees, having HR provide supervisors with regular quality assurance on performance management, documenting performance informally in ways that do not get kept on personnel files at all or for very long, having HR and management work together on annual salary adjustments, making promotion and layoff decisions based on "real-time" evaluations, and documenting discipline and termination decisions in different ways.

We thought this article would be of interest to employers we represent. To read the full article please click here.

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