Mixed reviews for performance reviews

CFOs consider them effective, one-third of workers disagree: Survey

Most (91 per cent) chief financial officers consider formal evaluations either somewhat or very effective in helping employees improve their performance, yet 32 per cent of workers disagree, calling the appraisals either somewhat or very ineffective.

However, 44 per cent of workers said the reviews are somewhat effective, found a Canadian survey of more than 270 CFOs and 309 employees by Accountemps.

When asked, "How effective are annual or semi-annual performance reviews in helping employees improve their performance?" CFOs responded:

Very effective


Somewhat effective


Somewhat ineffective


Very ineffective


Don’t know/no answer


When asked, "How effective are annual or semiannual performance reviews in helping you improve your performance?" employees responded:

Very effective


Somewhat effective


Somewhat ineffective


Very ineffective


Don’t receive reviews


"The success or failure of an appraisal depends on how clearly both performance expectations and feedback are communicated to employees," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. "Managers and their staff should be in agreement at the outset on what criteria will be used to evaluate effectiveness in a given role."

And performance reviews shouldn't be delivered just once a year.

"Nothing discussed in a formal evaluation should come as a surprise to the employee," he said. "The best managers regularly give their teams performance feedback throughout the year."

Accountemps offered the following tips to help managers conduct effective performance reviews:



Criticize the person in general.

Provide constructive feedback on specific performance issues so staff know exactly what they need to improve.

Sugarcoat the issues and avoid discussing real problems.

Be upfront about areas for improvement.

Wing it


Dominate the conversation.

Engage employees. Remember that it is a two-way conversation.

Ask employees to come empty-handed.

Ask your team members to conduct a self-assessment of their progress toward goals set during the prior review cycle.

Focus only on the negative.

Tell staff what they are doing well to recognize accomplishments and reinforce positive performance.

Go it alone.

Ask for feedback from other colleagues for a more well-rounded review.

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