CHAPTER 7Creating Engagement and Employee Experiences That Inspire Successful Performance

Engineering Employee Engagement

From about 2014 to 2016 there was a trend for companies to eliminate employee performance ratings.1 This was based on a belief that evaluating performance created anxiety in employees that damaged engagement and development. These claims were not exactly true,i but the message resonated with many leaders who found the process of rating performance to be stressful, time-consuming, and ineffective. Several companies I worked with at the time embraced this idea, only to discover it did not work as intended.

When one particular engineering company stopped formal evaluations its employees and managers initially welcomed the change because it meant they did not have to write performance reviews or have difficult conversations about performance ratings. But over time employees started to wonder how the company made decisions about pay and promotions. Some expressed concern over the fairness of these decisions. Things reached a critical point when several high-performing engineers left the company. These engineers felt their contributions were not properly recognized and expressed frustration at working with colleagues who did not share their commitment to doing the best job possible. This led the company to adopt a new performance rating process that incorporated techniques that previous consultants had told them hurt employee engagement, most noticeably comparing ...

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