USA Workers Rank Low for Passion at Work, but Show Very Passionate Responses to NPR News

This morning I heard a very interesting news story on NPR on my drive to work. The story talked about the dreaded Annual Review and the different points of view about this much-practiced tradition in the work place. When I looked up the story online, 89 comments showed up below it, some in defense of the Annual Review, most pointing out the complete ineffectiveness and personal detriment because of this “test”.

I think the original idea of the Annual Review was fair. Like the story mentions, the Performance Review was designed to help manage a larger workforce. What anyone can see in the stream of comments is that a lot of employees feel unfairly “graded” during time wasted with management who won’t listen or can’t actually act on positive company changes based on this review.  For the most part, as quoted in the story by author and UCLA management professor, Steve Culbert, “…employees, they don’t like getting them, and for managers, they don’t like giving them.”

So what?

How are companies expected to retain top talent and encourage loyalty when the performance reviews return negative results? Words associated with how employees feel about these annual reviews include the following:

  • demoralizing
  • disconnect
  • threat
  • ridiculous
  • “encourages grandstanding for star ranking, not teamwork”
  • scheme

…and so many more. The striking guesstimate brought up in the story is that only about 12% of US Workers are passionate, engaged employees in the workplace. Granted, 89 comments out of the 62.7 thousand employed population is a low sample, but I tell you there is a loud resounding voice here shouting that these annual reviews are not only a joke, but an excuse to withhold pay increases, impose negative pressure to improve, and prove a power play employees find unhealthy.

One comment I found fascinating was, “So many people that are tasked with evaluating an employee does not have the faintest idea how to be an effective manager themselves yet are expected to judge others based on their own flawed criteria of what a good employee is. It often becomes a personality judgement rather than a performance issue.”

Let’s not judge the grammar of that comment, but instead reflect on my earlier post about work/life balance, and abusive relationships in the workplace. What does it mean to be a happy employee? How can American companies retain and create good jobs if the internal system is broken? Is this why more people are starting businesses from home?

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Please share your comments and share your favorite books or reference material for us all.




5 thoughts on “USA Workers Rank Low for Passion at Work, but Show Very Passionate Responses to NPR News

  1. I work for a non-profit agency and our salaries are funded by membership dues which means there’s a limited pool of money. In order to get a raise beyond “cost of living” you have to be a supernova performer. For those of us on the lower rungs of the ladder it is nigh on impossible to achieve the metrics necessary to get the increase. For me it acts as a disincentive to work hard.

  2. I agree that the sentence in question is a bit of a grammatical car crash 🙂 People working together and evaluating each other is tricky business – personal opinion gets in the way too much, just like internal jealousy about promotions and even friendships between staff members. I work for myself – meaning that it’s up to me to evaluate myself and get the best out of my day’s work. I am often more critical about my performance than a boss would be 🙂

    1. I get that! Whenever I was an independent, self-employed, I was definitely harder on myself. But i also took advantage of the freedom of self-scheduling. I could work around a yoga class and schedule around networking events. And of course, I could make mysrlf more available to family and friends. I agree. Judging each other and dealing with inner office relationships can be tricky. Its a necessary evil for so many.

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