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September 13, 2010 / W. Stanton Smith

Giving immediate feedback

Those who “contribute” the most should get paid the most, right?

by kmakice via Flickr

This is a statement most of us can agree upon.

The problem comes in determining what it means to contribute. Does it mean: who is the most valuable to the enterprise? Who had the best year? Who was on the most profitable team? Who went above and beyond? Who was the most engaged in his/her work? Who bailed out the boss?

The answers to these questions are often sought in lengthy meetings where performance and potential are discussed. In my experience however there is an inverse relationship between the time spent in these evaluation meetings and the quality of the decisions. However sincere the participants may be, most of these meetings boil down to “bitch” sessions where managers make decisions about employees most in the room do not know.

These decisions on evaluation ratings are the main factor in determining compensation-raises to base salary and bonuses. Yet most managers cannot convincingly explain the connection between the annual salary increase and the performance rating.

This failure to explain satisfactorily plays right into the belief by gen y that performance appraisals are of limited value. Their mantra is “if the criticism is valid, the feedback needs to be given immediately and not stored up as a gotcha.” We’ll explore some commonsense solutions to this dilemma of who to pay, how much and why while turning the spot light on this dysfunctional processes and suggest some solutions.

What do you think? Are you pleased with the system as it stands today in most organizations? How would you improve it? Let’s talk.

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