Performance Evaluations

Back in the olden days (which is how I refer to my now defunct corporate career), I was required to complete annual performance evaluations for all of the employees who reported to me. At one point, there were over 150 of them. I would collect the pertinent data for each person on my team – measurement statistics for accuracy, speed, productivity, rate of improvement, etc – and then I would work at home for a week to compile it all. Oh, how I dreaded every single October.

The end result of my efforts would be a number between 1 and 5 for each employee, 1 being the lowest rating and 5 being the highest.  No one ever got a 1 because the powers at the helm of the company believed that anyone who deserved a rating that low should have been escorted out the door long before performance evaluation time. On the flip side, hardly anyone got a 5 because after all, who can walk on water? So as a manager, I was now down to three numbers to use in rating my staff. If someone got a 2, it pretty much meant they were pegged for exit management (that’s getting fired, in case you didn’t catch it). If someone got a 3, they fell into the acceptable performance bucket and we managers were then expected to coach these people to achieve a 4 the following year. If someone got a 4, well, it meant they were exceptionally awesome at their job.

But it wasn’t quite that easy.

As managers, we were given rating percentages based on a bell curve. All of our employees had to fit into that curve. For example, 5% had to receive 2 ratings, 80% would receive 3 ratings, and 10% would receive 4 ratings. On rare, rare occasions, a 5 rating would be approved. The ratios changed slightly from year to year, but this dictated how we were to rate our employees’ performance and it didn’t really matter too much what we had just spent an entire week doing in order to come up with those ratings. I distinctly recall one particular “discussion” I had with the vice president of our region with respect to that stupid bell curve. Let’s just say that our working relationship went downhill from there.

I had way too many meetings with stellar employees who absolutely deserved that 4, or even 5 rating, but there it was on their report – a measly 3. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the annual bonus was based on that rating. For the top executives, it was all about the money and it meant good employees got cheated out of what should have been theirs.

The point I am trying to make here is that our society gives so much credence to a performance rating, and in reality it’s not even a true reflection of our performance. Everywhere we turn, we are judged on our productivity, on our achievements, or lack thereof.

It’s sad.

Because now, four years out of my former career, no one remembers my achievements. No one cares. Not even me.

What I do care about is who I am for my husband and my family and my friends. I care about how I serve my pastor and my church. And most of all, I care about how God sees me, about doing what He has asked me to do.

I am so glad our Father isn’t into performance evaluations and ratings.

He just loves me.

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Filed under Acceptance, Expectations, God, Jesus Christ, Life, Writing

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