Performance Reviews


I like this.


Vladimir Vepryev is a consultant in business and international relations with a diverse background. A native of Ukraine, a naturalized U.S. citizen, and a firm believer in life-long enhancement of skills, he finished a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, another Bachelor of Science in Structural Engineering, and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, all from the Ukrainian State University of Water Management. Later, Vlad earned a Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University, a Master of Science in International Development Studies from the University of Amsterdam, and a Master of Liberal Arts, concentration in Government, from Harvard University. He also completed graduate studies in international management at the University of Oxford, Trinity College.

The annual reviews of employees’ performance have worked as an integral part of standard business procedures. In our age of renovations, some companies switch to more flexible approach toward reviews. Such leaders of the business world as Microsoft, Accenture, Deloitte, Adobe, Gap, and Medtronic replaced the traditional annual performance evaluation system with alternative solutions (McGregor, 2013; Baer, 2013; Baer, 2014; Cunningham, 2015; Woodruff, 2015). Of course, such changes require a lot of attention from both the senior executives and the human resources specialists. The vast majority of companies still conduct performance reviews in annual manner (Cunningham, 2015).

The ideal variant would be to maximally customize the review process based on the specific criteria of each company or organization. It seems appropriate to connect reviews with relevant milestones in activities and accomplishments. Historically, performance reviews started as a major productive innovation and then went through the process of transformation and accommodation to the relevant conditions. Performance reviews originated in the U.S. Army in the times of World War I and later the review-based motivation programs became utilized for the manufacturing laborers in the 1920s–1930s (Khanna and Sharma, 2014). Certainly, the performance review measures were reviewed, adjusted, and developed many times over the following decades. Now the performance evaluation became recognized as the crucial part for the accomplishment of strategic goals of a company (Kuvaas, 2006; Dusterhoff et al, 2014). There is no reason to keep the appraisal process static.

Reforms of the appraisal process pertain to two major dimensions: content and timing. The content needs to be customized in order to encompass major strategic issues for each particular company or organization. Details can help. Senior managers need to avoid making the content cumbersome, but it will be necessary to keep in mind that an effective employees’ appraisal can be a crucial input in their company’s future. Therefore, the efforts of enhancement of the appraisal process constitute major internal optimization and, if applied correctly, lead to substantial continuous cost savings. It seems critical to adapt the content in accordance with relevance and up-to-date goals. Based on corporate priorities, financial criteria, technical improvements, legal modifications, etc. the content should be open for a potential overhaul. The meetings of employees’ evaluation can serve as an important time window in order to solicit and gather recommendations for improvements in various areas, such as new products and services, technical innovation, corporate training, customer service, marketing, financial parameters, health/safety issues, corporate policies, standards of corporate documentation, etc. If employees feel that the evaluation process lacks fairness, efficiency, and/or interest in their expectations, such employees may become disinterested in the company’s plans and consider another employment (Brown et al, 2010; Dusterhoff et al, 2014).

The timing of employees’ evaluation shall be determined based on the nature of company’s mode of operations. The primary mode of operation for a company may be oriented either on projects or on processes. This difference can serve as a key criterion for a decision in terms of timing.

For example, Microsoft and Accenture, operate in the project-based mode. The Project Management Institute (PMI) identifies a project as “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result […] with the defined beginning and end in time” (2015). Microsoft completes major projects in the informational technology industry. Accenture performs management consulting projects for diverse clientele. The project-based firms may provide the reviews upon the completion of projects and/or major stages in their projects. Such an approach would be consistent with solidification of lessons learned from the project, solicitation of the customers’ feedback, and other actions conducted upon the end of a project.

Other business ventures operate with in a mode of a process instead of a project. Experienced business consultant and product manager Thomas Karasmanis from the International Institute of Business Analysis identifies a business process as “A collection of related, structured activities or tasks that produce a specific service or product (serve a particular goal) for a particular customer or customers” (2013). Therefore, process-based firms deal with the continuous flows of their operations. Based on this, for such entities it would be much more reasonable to establish time-related regular guidelines for the reviews. Continuation of annual review process may be a perfectly applicable option, but not necessarily so. For example, based on the focus on sales and quarterly sales figures, Adobe shifted towards less formal quarterly reviews (Baer, 2014). Some other companies may find even monthly reviews helpful and appropriate.

In any case, the review process needs to go in a manner of a two-way traffic and the respectful brainstorming for the ways to improve. The stress portion needs to be eliminated. Certainly, certain cases of non- performance and/or unethical behavior may require an immediate action of termination before the scheduled review process. On a brighter side, the model employees may deserve financial improvements and/or other types of appreciation shortly after their start of employment because they quickly generated an outstanding quantifiable positive net impact. Moreover, many individuals may join a company based on a mutual agreement of a review, raise, change from temporary to a permanent status, or a promotion after several months.

Many companies and organizations unite both project-based and process-based divisions. The review process may transpire differently in various divisions within the same umbrella company. Based on the exact specifics of business, some review forms, recommendation templates, and other materials still may be utilized across the firm. But other aspects will need customization. For example, in a large company that operates in different countries and industries, a lot of attention needs to be placed on the principles, procedures, and standards applicable for a geographic or functional area. Certainly, it may be optimal for one part of a large corporation to keep employees’ reviews based on time periods when other units of the same entity may analyze the completed work and achieved performance on a flexible project-based schedule. If some employees hold process-based roles in a project-based company, for the sake of adequate uniformity, sense of inclusiveness, and appropriate allocation of valuable time, an appraisal for such individuals may be also performed in accordance to a project-based schedule.

Serious efforts for alignment of the review process are needed in a case when a merger or an acquisition takes place. The purchasing firm needs to strive for maximal clarity of expectations for employees who join via a merger or an acquisition. A veteran of management consulting and academic research in international management and strategy, a faculty member at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and now a President at EuroMed Research Business Institute, Yaakov Weber, emphasizes the connection between an importance of cultural fit from one side and financial outcomes from another side in conditions of purchased companies (1996: 1183-1188).

Therefore, the process of employees’ evaluation needs to adhere to flexibility and applicability to the situation of each company or organization. The results will bring enhancement for strategic managerial goals and financial performance.



Baer, Drake (2013). Performance anxiety: Why reviews hurt everybody. Fast Company. ( Published on February 21, 2013. Accessed on July 22, 2015.

Baer, Drake (2014). Why Adobe abolished the annual performance review and you should, too. Business Insider. (  Published on April 10, 2014. Accessed on July 22, 2015.

Brown, Michelle, Douglas Hyatt, and John Benson (2010). Consequences of the performance appraisal experience. Personnel Review, Volume 39, Issue 3, 375-396.

Cunningham, Lilian (2015). In big move, Accenture will get rid of annual performance reviews and rankings. Washington Post. ( Published on July 21, 2015. Accessed on July 22, 2015.

Dusterhoff, Carrie, J. Barton Cunningham, and James N. MacGregor (2014). The effects of performance rating, leader–member exchange, perceived utility, and organizational justice on performance appraisal satisfaction: Applying a moral judgment perspective. Journal of Business Ethics Volume 119, Issue 2, 265-273.

Karasmanis, Thomas (2013). Changing change. International Institute of Business Analysis. ( Published on September 19, 2013. Accessed on July 23, 2015.

Khanna, Manish, and Rajneesh Kumar Sharma (2014). Employees performance appraisal and its techniques: A review. Asian Journal of Advanced Basic Science, Volume 2, Issue 2, 51-58.

Kuvaas, Bård (2006). Performance appraisal satisfaction and employee outcomes: mediating and moderating roles of work motivation. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Volume 17, Issue 3, 504-522.

McGregor, Jena (2013). The corporate kabuki of performance reviews. Washington Post. (  Published on February 14, 2013. Accessed on July 22, 2015.

Project Management Institute (2015). About us. What is project management? ( Accessed on July 23, 2015.

Weber, Yaakov (1996). Corporate culture fit and performance in mergers and acquisitions. Human Relations, Volume 49, Issue 9, 1181-1202.

Woodruff, Mandi (2015). Accenture is the latest major company to ditch dreaded annual reviews. Finance Yahoo. ( Published on July 22, 2015. Accessed on July 22, 2015.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe without commenting