review.jpgThere is no other workplace ritual that inspires dread and disdain like the performance review. For years, I’ve been hearing from employees and managers who just hate the process.

According to a Workforce Management article, most of you don’t even agree with them.

More than half (51 percent) of 631 respondents believe reviews don’t provide accurate appraisals of their work, and nearly one-fourth dread them, according to the 2011 Globoforce Workforce Mood Tracker, a new semiannual online survey conducted by Globoforce, a business software developer with headquarters in Southborough, Massachusetts, and Dublin, Ireland.

I’ve written before about how some management gurus are waging war on the practice, but this morning I got an email from an expert who says employees should welcome reviews.

Brian Poggi, author of “I Am Not Average: How to Succeed in Your Performance Review,” thinks people hate the process because they don’t come prepared to the review table. “Therefore what better way to prove yourself as being ‘not average’ than by coming into the performance review prepared and ready to respond,” he said. “Any employee who does, I guarantee will be a standout.”

But for some anti-review zealots, even preparation will do little to help a flawed process.

Samuel Culbert, a UCLA professor and management guru, is an anti performance review advocate, and he’s even more extreme than me. He thinks no one other than God should give such reviews.

“If it were God giving me a review that would be fair. But anyone short of God, I don’t think so,” he told me.

Culbert is on a mission to eradicate reviews and his book, “Get Rid of the Performance Review! How Companies Can Stop Intimidating, Start Managing — and Focus on What Really Matter,” is part of the grand plan.

“They are not accurate, not objective, and the metrics applied to people have no meaning,” he maintained. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of his disdain for these things. “They are the worst vestige of modern management.”

According to his research most companies follow this rating formula no matter how their workers rate:

* 70 percent of people are rated average in a review.
* 20 percent are rated excellent.
* and 10 percent need improvement or need to be replaced.

Reviews, he said, force managers to find something wrong with the bulk of the workforce in order to fit pre-designated budgets. So even if you’re doing your work well your boss may have to rate you average because she or he doesn’t have the money to give you a 3 percent raise.

Culbert also questions whether anyone has the expertise to rate another individual; and often times a manager’s personal feelings about a worker can come into play.

Oh yeah, I wrote about workplace favoritism in a column last year, so I know he’s onto something.

Managers and workers have to talk face-to-face on a regular basis and resolve issues as they come up. “Being able to have real dialogue can create good relationships in the workplace,” he explained. “Let’s talk about the issues in light of getting the job done, modifying the behavior so the company gets what it needs from us.”

He makes some great points, but alas the performance review ain’t going anywhere, as Poggi points out.

“It’s a well known fact that over 90 percent of larger corporations and 75 percent of state employment systems require annual performance appraisals,” he noted.

So, it might be a good idea to prepare my friends.

Poggi offered 7 tips:

· Prepare for the performance review as you would a business meeting

· Schedule the time- don’t wait to be asked

· Prepare fact-based data to support your performance

· Role play in your mind the key points that will arise from the conversation

· Lead the discussion

· Seek consensus

· Ask for what you want and present clear next steps

“We spend way to much time at work to not feel valued and productive,” he explained. “The performance review is the key opportunity for you to communicate your value, and what else you can do for the company.”

Unfortunately, that doesn’t guarantee anyone will come to an agreement regarding your value.

(Career question? If you have a question about your career or your rights in the workplace just email me at Also, don’t forget to check out my post on whether a power suit gives you power at work. I’m looking for input from readers on how what they were to work impacts their job performance.)

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