Study Reveals Performance Reviews are Harmful to Employees Mental Health

Oct 26, 2015 11:07 AM EDT | By Pao Uychiat

Performance reviews are common in most, if not all, work place. This is to ensure that the employees are competent and at the top of their game. However, according to Wall Street Journal, a neuroscience finding shows that these reviews can be mentally stressful for all employees. Because of this, some companies are trying a new approach.

Recently, they are beginning to rethink a strategy to do performance reviews that might actually help the mental health of their employees.

Big companies like Microsoft Corp. have changes the standard performance process of each employee meeting with their manager and getting grades once a year. They are now moving to a more personal kind of review where employees have more time with their managers and having what seems like a casual conversation about performance, goals and expectations. This way they believe that it can make employees feel more comfortable and be mentally stressed about their overall performance.

It has been a while since some companies have been trying a different method and approach, however now, there is a science to back it up. Last 2014, a paper was written by researchers from the Neuroleadership Institute. The paper said that by giving this kind of performance rating to employees makes them think of the "fight or flight" scene which is common when there is a physical threat in front of them like being attached by a wild animal.

They said that although employees may not seem affected or may not say anything up front, but he or she feels undermined and of course take for granted. These feelings can push them to ignore any feedback or may not work towards the goal being set. They added that this can send a signal that their performance is based on abilities that they can't improve at all.

After this study, many companies realized that the old process has affected the employees' morale. However, there are still a lot of companies who are sticking to the old process. Some say there are also problems with the new process. Companies who have tried the new process said that they aren't able to rate the performance properly. Whichever process will be used, the best thing to remember is for the managers to have a deep and useful conversation with their employees highlighting how they can do their jobs better and work with coworkers as well.

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